Originally starting a Maths degree at the University of Bath, I quickly realised that the reason I was jealous of others studying Sport and Exercise Science was because that is in fact what I wanted to do! I was pushed down the traditional academic route due to high grades and had, like many, the opinion that Sport and Exercise Science wasn’t in this category. I was wrong. What better way to integrate my passion for science with my hobbies.
I gained a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Bath, followed by an MSc Sports Science from Loughborough University. I then completed my doctorate in children’s physical activity and health at Liverpool John Moores University before taking on a lectureship at Swansea University.
I am primarily interested in school-based interventions, but much of my work focuses on physical activity measurement and the role of behaviour change in developing physically active young people. I designed a curriculum-based intervention, entitled CHANGE! (Children’s Health, Activity, and Nutrition: Get Educated!) to improve primary school children’s well-being through enhanced physical activity and eating behaviours, for which I won the Young Investigator award at the Pre-Olympic International Conference in 2012.
Other recent work includes a military fitness style physical activity intervention across 150 UK schools, which has gained much interest including an invited governmental presentation. Being situated in Engineering is ideal and has enabled the development and integration of novel physical activity measurement devices. I have been lucky to have been successful with grant applications and have many (perhaps too many) projects running alongside PhD students and international collaborators, which enabled progression to Senior Lecturer.
However, despite a time-demanding high pressure career I find time to be involved in team building sports, such as ice hockey and football. Cooking is always a pleasure for me; I even work as a mystery diner (I prefer to call it food critic work), and have reviewed several restaurants and hotels, which is a change from writing in a scientific manner. Although I can't proclaim to be an expert on molecular gastronomy, I'll always lend my hand to some gastronomical indulgences; that is of course, if they turn out as planned! So even in my spare time, I find some way to immerse myself in science! If you have the passion, determination and perhaps a little bit of luck, you can achieve anything.