An ECR reflects! (Claire Hastie)

Published: 13 April 2023

In our fourth interview we chat to Dr Claire Hastie, Lecturer in Clinical Psychology and lead of the SHW Athena Swan early career researcher teaching working group, shares her ECR experiences and learning...

In May 2023 we caught up with Dr Claire Hastie about her experiences in academia. Claire is a lecturer in Public Health, whose work currently focuses on the longer-term effects of COVID-19 and long COVID. Claire is also lead of the SHW Athena Swan early career researcher teaching working group. If you want to catch up on last month’s interview with Kirsty Dunn it's available from the "Athena Swan in HAWKEYE" webpage.

Photo of a wooden table with coffee notepad and pen

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your former self, as an ECR starting out, if you could back in time?

Know that you are not always the daftest person in the room. Really. Have confidence.

What is your favourite and least favourite part about working in academia?

Favourite – autonomy
Least favourite – short term contracts

What are you most proud of from your career so far?

That I have one! When I had five years out to be a stay at home mum I (and many others) thought I would never get back into academia. I took that risk and being with my daughters was the best time of my life. I returned because I wanted to set an example for them, and not be financially dependent on my husband (Scott) forever. Nowadays I am usually happy with my work-life balance and feel lucky to be where I am.

Do you have any go-to routines or habits that you find helpful for writing/reading/other research activities?

Write lists on post-its, although some tasks remain unticked for longer than they should...

How has the ECR experience changed since you first started working in academia?

The range of work expected of us is greater. For example, when I started out impact, public engagement, Athena Swan activity etc were not or barely mentioned.

Have you had any mentors in your time as an ECR, and how have you benefited from these relationships?

Absolutely. My experience of senior colleagues is positive. They believed in me and gave me opportunities.

What would you be doing if you weren’t working in academia?

I would have loved to join the police. It looks exciting. Not long after undergrad, Scott and I attended an open day for the accelerated promotion scheme at Tulliallan, where I realised that unfortunately I am scared of too many things. In Blue Lights I'd be Jen. Our daughter Carys is interested in the police as a career. She is only 12 so it is too early to think about properly, but if she does join I'll be very proud (and nervous). 

Read our previous interviews with ECRs

Find out more about the aims and activities of the SHW Athena Swan ECR group

First published: 13 April 2023