Unique Scientist: Rosie Graham

Time to meet Rosie Graham (She/her)! Rosie is a Ph.D. student at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom who uses structural biology to study enzymes that breakdown plastic!

What kind of scientist are you?
I am a graduate student in the field of structural biology, I study enzymes that breakdown plastic, specifically poly(ethylene) terephthalate (PET), most commonly used in single use plastics. I am all about microscopy and visualising process from tomography to crystallography it’s all pretty fascinating. I am proud to be a little different and challenge the norm of what it is to look like a scientist.

What made you want to become a scientist?
It’s so cliché, but I have always wanted to be a scientist and it was consolidated by enthusiastic teachers and lecturers through my academic ‘glow-up’. I remember having a kooky red headed science teacher in school, Mrs. Gough, and her passion and drive made me think I want to be a scientist too, and here I am everyday and this fuels my drive to be a good science communicator and ambassador to inspire the next generation of scientists.

“[…] and here I am everyday and this fuels my drive to be a good science communicator and ambassador to inspire the next generation of scientists.”

Rosie Graham

What makes you a #UniqueScientist?
This question resonates with me so much, I strive to be a confident woman in science even though I don’t look the way a scientist ‘should’ look – I am overly tattooed, pierced and eccentric dungaree wearing (somebody once referenced my fashion style as looking toddler-esque). My first day at any conference I am more often than not riddled with anxiety but usually this subsidies as I meet wonderful accepting like minded scientists.

What’s something cool you do outside of work?
I like to crochet to relax mostly – I am not good at it but I do really enjoy it and I have a collection of 1960’s vegetables face vases (please google as they’re fantastically extraordinary and at times creepy). The weekend I spend working in some trendy bars around South sea where I talk people’s ears off about craft beer.

If you had one wish and could change anything in science, what would it be?
Honestly, I think I would change the competitive culture make all papers open access and support more collaboration across institutions and countries!

“My first day at any conference I am more often than not riddled with anxiety but usually this subsidies as I meet wonderful accepting like minded scientists.”

Rosie Graham

Who has inspired you the most in your journey to where you are now?
I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for the ongoing support of my supervisor. I think I am really lucky to have a mentor that even before I was his student went above and beyond so that I could have opportunities and experiences to reach my potential from encouragement to apply to internship programmes to training days and vocal encouragement of how I am a capable scientist. I feel comfortable in bringing up problems I encounter and this support network built helps me prosper daily when anxiety gets the better of me.

Let’s end on a high note! What’s something you’ve done this week that you’re proud of?
I am pretty excited that I got accepted on to an electron microscopy (SEM/TEM) training course run by JEOL and that I got some pretty exciting results back from something I’ve been working on for the past 9 months which made my time seem really worthwhile (I wish I could say more!)


#WomenInSTEM

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