Durham University, Thomas Mills High School and Sixth form
Bachelors Degree in Physics (with a year abroad), 4 A Levels, 11 GCSEs
Before this I was a business analyst and a private tutor and during uni I did lots of things like waitressing and supermarket work
Space Instrument Engineer
More details to come!
I help to build and test instruments for two ESA missions to Jupiter and the Sun.
My team specialise in building instruments called magnetometers, which measure the magnetic field. You will find magnetometers in lots of everyday things such as your smartphone, but we build special space-grade versions. This means that they have to be super reliable (you can’t just send an engineer to space to fix it if it breaks!), sensitive and precise (we want to make sure we can detect the tiniest of changes in the fields) and long-lasting (our previous mission to Saturn spent over 13 years orbiting the planet without stopping, and it will take us more than 7 years just to arrive at Jupiter). Each one we build will be slightly different and designed specifically for where we will send it.
Previous missions we have taken part in have gone to comets ( Rosetta), Saturn (Cassini), Mercury (BepiColombo is on its way there now!), or just to observe Earth (like DoubleStar and Cluster). Most of these were built when I was still a kid or was at school as these projects take many many years to complete.
The two main projects that we are working on now are called JUICE, which is going to Jupiter’s Icy Moons, and Solar Orbiter, which we are sending to the Sun! We want to go to the Sun to investigate solar flares as these affect the magnetic field around earth and a really big one could cause problems with all of our satellites and communications on Earth. We want to go to Jupiter to find out more about what its like on the moons there.
Usually our projects are run by the European Space Agency (ESA) but sometimes we will also work with NASA or even China and Japan, for example.
What I'd do with the money
Run a competition with the winners getting a trip to the science museum in London
I would like to run a competition where students show me, using their most creative, imaginative and artistic skills, what they think could be under the icy surface of the moons of Jupiter. Older students can base this on research and studies of the moons but it’s also okay to stretch the imagination and show me something brand new… Without creativity and pushing the boundaries of what is known, some of the biggest and most impressive engineering achievements could never have happened!
For the winners of the competition, I would like to help their teachers to organise a trip to the science museum for their class, where they are currently holding an exhibition on the sun that features the work of my team and our american competitors at NASA.
What's your favourite food?
Pasta - There's so many things you can do with it!
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Travel to and live in different countries around the world
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Only for not doing my homework and forgetting my PE kit... Oooops!
What was your favourite subject at school?
Chemistry and Physics
What's the best thing you've done as an engineer?
Travel to different places in Europe to meet other members of the team and support testing of our instruments
What or who inspired you to become an engineer?
It's not something I really knew much about until I found this job...
If you weren't an engineer, what would you be?
A Teacher or a Data Scientist