Thesis, data and ADS query for my publications
I am passionate about improving the equality of gender, sexual orientation, race, and background of people within physics and academia. While I can only speak to my own personal experiences in doing this, I continually aim to better understand and support the inclusion of other minorities in any way that I can.
I spent a year volunteering as an Events Coordinator for the Oxford Women in Physics (OxWiP) Society. The society exists to address the gender imbalance in physics through educational and social events, and through mentoring. During my time as Events Coordinator, I organised events open to everyone with the aim of raising awareness of the gender gap in physics, how this may affect everyone, and what could be done to address it. These events included inviting or hosting influential physicists to talk about their experiences in the field, such as Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell DBE FRS (Oxford), Professor Meg Urry (Yale), Professor Jo Dunkley (Oxford/Princeton), and Professor Melissa Franklin (Harvard). The events also provided the opportunity for networking with others in the department (along with the OxWiP mentoring scheme) to support women, or those whose gender identities are or include woman, within physics.
I believe that one of the most important parts of being a scientist is to share my excitement in my work with the public. It is not only essential for keeping interest and the subject itself alive but is vital for inspiring the next generation of astrophysicists. I am therefore passionate about science communication and outreach as a means of achieving this. In addition to my work through OxWiP, I was a regular volunteer at Stargazing Oxford, a large outreach day where the department is open to the public for a day of events, activities and talks. I have also given outreach talks to a general and non-scientific audience in my college and helped with running outreach activities for school groups in the department at Oxford. I was also interviewed for the Independent on Sunday for an article about the increasing popularity of subjects like physics and maths and what role popular films have on this. Read the full article here: ‘Numbers studying physics rise as blockbuster films, the Hadron Collider and the Mars Rover inspire students’.
Increasing the diversity of academia in general and campaigning for the support of students in minority groups at Oxford University has also been something that I have worked towards during my PhD. I spent a year in the elected role of President of the Christ Church Graduate Common Room (GCR), i.e. the graduate body of Christ Church college, University of Oxford. Along with representing the graduates of Christ Church both college and university wide, I ran a committee of 30 people and we together supported the needs of the students, hosted events, and worked towards the inclusion of all members. During my term, I successfully campaigned for the rainbow flag to be flown for the first time in Christ Church and for the duration of LGBT History Month annually. This sort of visibility helps to raise awareness of the issues and prejudices faced by LGBTQ+ members of Christ Church and moves towards creating a supportive environment in which they can thrive as members of the college. I helped to facilitate the running of the first race awareness workshops led by GCR members in Christ Church and the move for the GCR to support Oxford's 'Rhodes Must Fall' campaign. These workshops and campaigns go towards addressing the systemic racism present in Christ Church, the university, and country. With the support of the committee, we also continued the running of sexual consent workshops for GCR members to raise awareness of and address the issues of sexual harassment and assault that exists in the university and our communities. (Image: Rainbow flag flown in Christ Church. Credit: Edited by Katt Walton.)