When she was a child, Helen knew she wanted to do something “science-y” and “tech-y” when she was older, but she didn’t know what kind of job would allow her to pursue both interests.
At first Helen thought she wanted to be an academic, and successfully completed a BSc in Biomedical Science as well as postgraduate research in oral neuroscience. But after a brief break she found an occupation more suited to her interests – being a Science Technician at a secondary school.
“I really enjoyed being able to use my scientific knowledge and technical ability to helping young people learn.”
It was her school experience which lead her to her current role as a Teaching Technician at the University of Sheffield.
“I never thought that teaching would be part of the equation because I was terrified of public speaking at school, but now I’ve found out that I really love it.”
As a Teaching Technician Helen gets to combine her greatest passions and skills. She uses her practical ability to set up experiments and maintain equipment, her scientific knowledge to help students find solutions and her communication skills to make sure experiments are conducted safely and correctly.
So, what’s the highlight of her role? The variety.
“On a day-to-day basis, I manage and maintain a laboratory in the university’s new engineering facility. I support, develop and deliver bioengineering teaching to students across the facility and promote bioengineering at various events.”
One day she could be found talking to school children, the next, to senior professors at the university. “I get to meet a massive community of different people, all the way up to experts in the field of research and industry.”
She never knows what to expect. “One day I’m genetically engineering bacteria, the next I’m making a screwdriver or being taught basic programming for robots. It’s a blast!”
Helen's career pathway
- 2003 Left school after her GCSEs and went to college
- 2005 Left college after doing her A-levels
- 2008 Graduated from the University of Sheffield with a BSc in Biomedical Science
- 2011 Completed postgraduate research in Oral Neuroscience at the University of Sheffield
- 2013 Became a School Science Technician
- 2015 Joined the University of Sheffield as a Teaching Technician specialised in Bioengineering and Multiskilled Engineering