Careers in industry/ outside academia
Dr Heather Williams MBE (she/her)
The Christie NHS Trust, Manchester
Dr Heather Williams is a British medical physicist working as a Consultant Medical Physicist at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester, where she heads up the Nuclear Medicine Group. She is also an honorary lecturer in the School of Health Sciences at University of Manchester and visiting professor at the University of Cumbria. In a career spanning more than 20 years, she has worked on a wide range of Nuclear Medicine imaging techniques but specialising in Positron Emission Tomography (PET).
In addition, Heather is an award-winning communicator who relishes opportunities to stand up and talk about science, and actively encourages others (particularly women) to do so. Heather is Director of the non-profit organisation ScienceGrrl which celebrates and supports women in science, and in 2020 received the MBE for her contributions to diversity and inclusion in science.
When she's not busy with all that, Heather enjoys hiking and introducing her sons to the wonders of the universe, often at the same time.
Dr Franziska Luckert (she/her)
Marks & Clerk International Intellectual Property Experts
Franziska started her training as a patent attorney at intellectual property firm Marks & Clerk in 2012. She became a Chartered (UK) Patent Attorney in 2015 and a European Patent Attorney in 2016. As a patent attorney, Franziska helps businesses and individuals to protect and enforce their intellectual property, such as patents. She works in a broad range of technical fields, including physics, electronics and computer-related inventions, and specialises in semiconductor and optical technologies. Prior to her training as a patent attorney, Franziska completed her PhD research at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, where her research focussed on the optical spectroscopy of chalcopyrite semiconductors. She was awarded the Fred Stern Prize for best PhD thesis in 2012. Before coming to Glasgow, Franziska studied physics at Technical University Berlin, from which she graduated with a Diplom in physics. In her final year at the Technical University Berlin, she researched the MOCVD growth of submonolayer quantum dots. She also holds a BSc (Hons), which she obtained during an Erasmus exchange to the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.
Dr Laura Cowan (she/her)
MBDA, arms manufacturers company
I grew up in the south side of Glasgow from where I went on to achieve an MSci in Physics from Glasgow University in 2015, an MRes jointly from the University of Cambridge and University College London (UCL) in 2016, and a PhD from Glasgow University in Computational Imaging in 2020. I currently work as a senior electro-optics engineer at MBDA Bristol in research and development into computational Imaging, and in systems work supporting major projects. Although early in my career, I have had the opportunity to work across many aspects of optics in both academia and industry, including microscopy, light field imaging, and holography. I also worked for several months in Tampere, Finland in a non-linear optics group and I have presented a range of my work at international conferences in both America and Europe. I have also sought out teaching opportunities, with students from Glasgow and the University of California, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Specifically I am very proud of my role in founding the Glasgow Women in Physics group during the time I spent there studying for my PhD. In addition to optics, I enjoy running, going to the gym, cooking, and the cinema.
Shivani Dave (they/them)
Broadcaster and Journalist
Shivani graduated from the University of Nottingham after studying physics. During their undergraduate degree they were heavily involved in the student radio society, University Radio Nottingham. Their work on the radio station included covering science news and making a documentary about women in physics. During this time, Shivani was empowered by the way audio enabled them to communicate science and found that having an understanding and background in science and understanding data is vital in a journalism role. They went on to do an MSc at Imperial College, London, in Science Media Production. Here, Shivani learned skills in production and storytelling. While studying for the masters, Shivani applied for a journalist role at the BBC.
In their professional life, Shivani has worked as a producer and reporter across Radio 4, and the BBC World Service. They utilised their passion for science, the environment and technology to report on these issues and communicate them effectively to a mainstream audience. In doing so, Shivani was writing for the BBC News website and reporting across TV and Radio. In 2020, they moved to Wiltshire and spent time working on their storytelling skills and reporting on matters affecting local communities, which as timing would have it included a lot of reporting on the COVID 19 pandemic.
As a journalist at BBC local radio, Shivani was asked to present shows about issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community, which led them on to presenting cover shows on Radio 1, the Christmas of 2020. Shivani shortly moved back to London and began working as a freelancer where they have worked with a number of media outlets. From presenting the Science Weekly podcast from The Guardian producing The Log Books podcast and many more shows with brands including the BBC, Virgin Radio, and more. They have been recognised in Radio Academy’s 30 under 30 for their presenting work.
Shivani currently reports on LGBTQ+ issues around the world on the Thompson Reuters TikTok channel, OpenlyNews, and they present on Virgin Radio Chilled on Saturdays and Sundays from 12-4pm and has founded a podcast production company called Aunt Nell.
Dr Christine Sneddon (she/her)
I enjoyed my Physics degree at Glasgow and stayed on to do a PhD in the solid state group studying ultrafast bolometry. During this time I demonstrated in the third year undergraduate labs and realised how much I enjoyed explaining physics to others. I went on ti complete a PGCE in Physics with Science and was the only Physics teacher in the school in my probationer year, which was a great learning experience. I took some time out when my children were young, but when I wanted to return to work, I found a job immediately as I had retained contacts through this time, and Physics teachers are always in demand. I've been in my current school for 7 years, teaching Physics and taking an active role in providing pupils with opportunities for extra science experiences - STEM competitions, science club projects sponsored by the Royal Society, meeting an astronaut and more.
Anwulika Elliott (she/her)
Bank of America
This panel will explore career options in industry/ outside academia. Our panellists work for patent attorney firms, the NHS, defense companies, broadcasting & journalism, in education or the third sector.
I've graduated- what now?
Muzakira Farid (she/her)
Institute of Physics
I work for the Institute of Physics as the Nation Support Coordinator for Scotland. The role involves a mixture of science communication, supporting staff projects, and admin work. One of my favourite projects to work on is Knit the Universe, an initiative that combines crafting and astrophysics with the aim of getting families talking about science: http://knittheuniverse.co.uk/.
I graduated in 2020 with a BSc in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Glasgow, and was a committee member of Glasgow Women in Physics and charity representive for the Muslim Students' Association. While at university, I also volunteered for Glasgow Science Centre, Radio Ramadan Glasgow, and Glasgow North East Foodbank. Having attended CUWiP in 2020, I really appreciate the opportunity it offers to be surrounded by women and non-binary physicists and I'm very excited to be returning to the conference as a panellist!
Jemma Callaghan, MPhys (she/they)
EngD student at Heriot-Watt University
Jemma Callaghan is a post-graduate research student, working towards an EngD qualification through the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Applied Photonics. Jemma specialises in active two-dimensional optical metasurfaces, which encompasses areas such as meta-optics, nanophotonics and condensed matter physics. Jemma is based at STMicroelectronics and Heriot-Watt University, where she completed her MPhys in Physics, and also attends courses the CDT offers at various institutions across Scotland. She is passionate about the need for equality, diversity and inclusion in STEM, and about everyone getting the support they need to enable them to succeed. Jemma completes her studies alongside raising her daughter and has personal experience in navigating her studies through extenuating circumstances, such as financial hardship and poor mental health. She hopes her experiences will help other physicists believe that they can succeed in physics even if their study path is unconventional, and that you can be amazing without seeming perfect.
Harriett Watson (she/her)
PhD student at University of Glasgow
I am a 2nd year experimental particle physics PhD student at the University of Glasgow. My PhD research focuses on precision measurements of rare particle processes involving top quarks. Research in high energy physics looks at the Universe on the smallest of scales. I work on data collected by the ATLAS detector which is part of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Switzerland, where I am currently based. Before my PhD I completed an integrated Master's in physics at the University of Manchester.
Louise Macdonald BSc(Hons) MSc (she/her)
I started out at the University of Strathclyde doing my undergraduate degree in physics and managed to obtain a 2.1. After that I started job searching and also applying to masters and decided to do a MSc in Nuclear Technology at Glasgow University where I obtained distinction. I finished my masters during Covid and decided to start a PhD in ultrasonics between the University of Strathclyde and the University of Glasgow. I was always interested in medical physics and nuclear physics and after a few months at my PhD, a job came up for a trainee technologist in nuclear medicine with the NHS. I decided to go for it and got the job and although I enjoyed the PhD, the trainee technologist job was something I had been interested in for a while. I dropped out my PhD and started my training in February 2021 and will finish my training in May 2023.
Zuhrah Anwar (she/her)
I’m currently a Data & Software Engineer, working for Barclays in Glasgow.
After graduating from the University of Strathclyde with a degree in physics, I joined Barclays Corporate Data Services as an ETL Developer, where I learned skills such as Ab>Initio, Unix, Shell Scripting and SQL. I work with teams globally, from London to New York to Pune and I’m exposed to a huge variety of different people daily.
When I’m not staring at a monitor trying to find a missing semicolon for two hours, I love doing yoga; travelling; reading, and cooking. I enjoy watching movies, especially anything Marvel or Star Wars.
Panel 2 Slide 6 photo and info
This panel will explore next steps after graduation. We think that hearing from these recent graduates will help you in your own decision making process when you figure out what's next for you.
Careers in academia
Dr Clara Barker (she/her)
Department of Materials, University of Oxford
Dr Clara Barker is a thin-film material scientist who manages the Centre for Applied Superconductivity, in the materials department at Oxford University. Clara Barker is the chair of the LGBT+ advisory group to Oxford University and the Dean for Equality and Diversity at Linacre College, as well as a member of both the Royal Society and the Girls School Association’s Equality and Diversity Committees. In 2018 she won the first VC’s diversity role model award from the University. She runs a youth group for LGBTI+ young people, is a Stonewall school role model, and presented a talk at a TEDxWomen London event in 2018. For her volunteer work she won a Points of Light Award from the UK Prime Minister in 2017.
Dr Jess Wade (she/her)
Imperial College London
Dr Jess Wade is a Research Fellow working in the Department of Materials at Imperial College London. Her research uses cutting edge techniques to investigate how we can build new, sustainable materials that can benefit our everyday lives. When she is not in the laboratory or teaching university students, she is involved in a range of activities to improve public trust in science and scientists. She is committed to improving diversity in science through her outreach initiatives both online and offline. Her work in encouraging the participation and recognition of women in STEM subjects has won her several awards. Jess’s ability to convey complex ideas in simple terms is captured in 'Nano' a book for primary school children which conveys the wonders of nanotechnology.
Dr Lucia Caspani (she/her)
University of Strathclyde
Dr Lucia Caspani is a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Photonics, Department of Physics, University of Strathclyde. She has >15 years of experience in theoretical and experimental quantum photonics. Her work focuses on multiphoton and multimode quantum states of light for quantum metrology, communication, and computing applications.
Lucia received her Bachelor (2003), Master (2006) and PhD Degree (2010) in Physics from Insubria University (Como, Italy), focusing on theoretical Quantum Optics. She then moved to Canada at INRS-EMT (Montreal) from 2011 to 2014, where she shifted her research interests towards experimental quantum optics, working on the generation of quantum states of light on-chip. She came back to Europe in 2014 with a Marie Curie Fellowship at Heriot-Watt University (Edinburgh), where she investigated entangled photon triplets and the enhancement of nonlinear effects in epsilon-near-zero materials.
Lucia joined Strathclyde’s Institute of Photonics in February 2017 as Research Fellow first and as an independent researcher since June 2018. She is now developing her research group, QuaSAp (Quantum Sources and Applications) that focuses on the generation and application of complex quantum states of light in collaboration with academics, industries and research organisations (such as the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics).
In her free time, she enjoys cooking, running (not necessarily in this order!), reading, and playing board games with her two kids.
Mx Tom Queen (they/them)
University of Glasgow
I am the senior teaching technician in Physics & Astronomy at the University of Glasgow. I did my undergraduate MSci in the department, then became a technician immediately after graduating, and have remained here ever since!
My masters focused on silicon photomultipliers, and after graduating the first time I did a part-time undergraduate degree in English Language & Philosophy with the Open University, where I discovered a love of linguistics.
I have spent the past seven years as a trade union rep, and for four years Branch Secretary, of Unite at the University, representing technical and operational staff, focusing on policy improvements for disabled staff, equalities, mental health, and organising the branch to become the largest in the sector.
I am on the STUC's LGBT+ Workers Committee, and spent two years as co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party's Trade Union Group.
I am bisexual and I'm non-binary. I have always been out at the workplace, and try to ensure I am visible for LGBTQ+ staff and students to feel comfortable approaching me for a chat.
In my (quite limited!) spare time I study Gaelic, and have worked part-time as a DJ for 12 years!
Prof Lyndsay Fletcher, FRSE
University of Glasgow
Lyndsay Fletcher is Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Glasgow. She did her PhD at the University of Glasgow, followed by postdoctoral research at the University of Utrecht and the European Space Agency in the Netherlands and the Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory in Palo Alto, California. She returned to the University of Glasgow in 2000 and has been there ever since. She researches solar flares, using imaging and spectroscopic data, and numerical simulations, to try and understand how the Sun’s chromosphere is energised during flares. She has been Senior Secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society and President of the International Astronomical Union’s Commission on Solar Activity, and has received awards for her work on improving Equality and Diversity in physics.
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Hear from our careers in academia panellists to explore research, teaching and more at university.
Bringing your whole self to your studies and work
Dr Yolanda Ohene (she/her)
University of Manchester
Dr Yolanda Ohene is a neuroimaging scientist, STEM communicator and co-founder of the Minorities in STEM network. She was awarded the Institute of Physics Bronze medal in 2019 for outstanding contribution to physics by an early career researcher, for her work in the development of a new MRI technique. Yolanda holds an MSci in Physics from Imperial College London (2013), a Masters in Plasma Physics from Ecole Polytechnique, France (2014) and a PhD in Medical Imaging from UCL. Yolanda is a science communicator; she has spoken on BBC Tomorrow’s World Live and is a speaker for Maths Inspiration and regularly gives talks for schools. She has also spoken at some of the biggest UK science events including Cheltenham Science Festival (2016/2017), New Scientist Live! (2017) and Einstein’s Garden at GreenMan Festival (2019). Yolanda is a recipient of the British Science Festival Award Lectures (2021). She is one of the founding members of The Blackett Lab Family, collective of UK Black physicists. Yolanda is currently a postdoctoral researcher within the Neuroimaging group at Geoffrey Jefferson Brain Research Centre at The University of Manchester.
Sophie Martin (she/her)
University College London
Sophie Martin is a first-year PhD student in the Centre for Medical Image Computing (CMIC) at University College London. She is a member of the MANIFOLD Lab group, where her research focuses on using deep learning and neuroimaging to predict dementia. Prior to this, Sophie received an Integrated Master’s degree (MSci) in Physics from Imperial College London in 2020. She was also able to undertake several internships throughout her studies, in areas such as mechanical engineering and data science, before finding her passion for healthcare at a bioinformatics research company.
Sophie currently serves as a trustee for the educational charity, Project Partners, who are developing an innovative maths programme that has been taught in schools in Ghana and the UK. She is also a Director of The Blackett Lab Family, a network of UK based Black physicists, which aims to represent, connect, and inspire others in the community to engage with physics. Through these organisations, Sophie has been able to share her experiences through public-facing talks and campaigns, including the Looking Glass podcast series organised by The Institute of Physics.
Outside of work and other projects, Sophie enjoys reading, keeping active and trying new things. She is an avid music lover and often enjoys listening to her favourite albums and songs whilst she works, even if that sometimes means singing a line or two out loud.
Jennifer Crouch (she/they)
University of Portsmouth
Jennifer Crouch is an artist, teacher, maker and PhD candidate at the University of Portsmouth. Her practice-based research explores physical phenomena and corporeality through creative practice. By making MRI ‘phantoms’ from carefully selected materials these artefacts act as body proxies in an MRI scanner, becoming a means to investigate the interface between body and machine. Her thesis also uses the Boolean principles of weaving (using a Dobby loom) to create deconstructive reconfigurations of the mathematical processes between the physical (analogue) signals in the scanner and the mathematically formed (digital) biomedical image. Her work is concerned with the simultaneous ontological experience of the visceral, cellular and nuclear magnetic properties of corporeal matter via the processes of MRI and uses these interconnections as a means to navigate the abject and her own experiences of pathology. She has a background in physics and medical illustration and is co-founder of art-science collective Jiggling Atoms. She has authored a book on popular science, has exhibited art internationally and likes gardening.
Ahana Banerjee (she/her)
I grew up internationally, living in the UK, India and Singapore. I’ve always had a very wide range of interests (I played in a rock band, was captain of Imperial’s League of Legends team, was a professional gymnast, learned French on top of my Physics degree, and raised over £200k for charity), but from a young age, knew Physics is what I wanted to study at university. I wanted to use my education to find a way to have an impact on the world around me, and at the time, I thought it would be through academic research. I started my Physics degree at Imperial College London in 2017.
As I went through my Physics degree, I applied for as many career opportunities as I could; I gained experience and learned about software engineering, investment banking, consulting, prop trading, and startups. As I learned more about my own skill set, I began to feel as though the best way to have impact was through startups, rather than academia.
Having personally suffered a lot with my skin growing up, I wanted to build a tool to help people track their own skin progress, build more transparency in the process of learning which products to use, and drive cosmetic formulators to create more innovative products and make data-driven decisions. As such, Clear was born!
I was accepted to Silicon Valley based startup accelerator, Y Combinator, in January 2021, which is when I started working on Clear. I started writing code for the app in April, launched publicly in June, bootstrapped to 4,000+ users by September, and raised an $800k pre-seed funding round in November. We’re now growing our team, building out our product, and working on partnerships.
Dr Clara Nellist is a particle physicist working for Radboud University and NIKHEF in the Netherlands on the ATLAS experiment at CERN. Clara got her PhD at the University of Manchester developing upgrades of the ATLAS pixel detector, She then moved to Paris in France and then Göttingen in Germany to study the Higgs boson and top quark, the two heaviest building blocks of the universe - that we know of. Her main focus now is on applying machine learning algorithms to search for hints of dark matter in the huge amounts of data collected by the ATLAS Experiment.
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In this panel, we will be exploring how to bring your whole selves to a physics environment.