Join Jessie as she delves into the work of academics

Not content with just developing her academic knowledge, year 3 MPhys Physics student Jessie Hammond wanted to learn about the research undertaken by her lecturers and others in the field of science.

‘Delving Into Academics’ is a podcast where researchers from physics, chemistry and biology talk about what they are researching, and how they came to be in academia.

Where did the idea come from?

The idea to start my own podcast came to me during the Student Space Conference weekend earlier this year, when I was listening to a talk by one of my lecturers. I realised I had no idea what he was  researching. Additionally, one of my friends (who, like me, is also keen to undertake a career in research), brought up the fact that there aren’t many resources for first and second year students on careers in academic research. This kick-started the idea that a podcast would be a good way to make this information more accessible to everyone.

What were the biggest challenges in starting the podcast?

Surprisingly, it wasn’t having the courage to ask the professors to be part of the podcast! One of the biggest challenges I found was developing the level of understanding needed for subjects which I am not an expert on. Interviewing researchers outside of physics, or in areas of physics that I may not be so familiar with, has really taken me out of my comfort zone. However, I have loved this academic challenge.

Another challenge was having to learn so many new skills to start up and run this podcast. Deciding what information to cut and what to leave in meant I had to learn how to use editing software. I have also had to develop my knowledge about each of the researchers in order to decide who to interview, and to prepare relevant questions.

What do you hope students will learn from it?

I hope students find out that a career in research isn’t always a linear progression and I hope they learn about what their own lecturers are researching so that they can ask them about it. By listening to these podcasts, it might mean students have better knowledge about potential areas of academia they might want to go into, as well as have details of who they can speak to about it. The podcasts will also hopefully breakdown some of the barriers that are sometimes present between students and lecturer, especially in years one and two.

Based on the interviews you have conducted so far, do you have a favourite researcher?

There have been so many amazing researchers on my podcast that it would be hard to choose a favourite!  Each one has made me realise how much I love learning and has sparked my interest in their academic research. It has made me realise the ups and downs of having a career in research and has given me an insight into a career that I am keen on embarking on in the future. I have loved creating this podcast because I get to satisfy my curiosity by learning about the work of these researchers.   It has also opened my mind to a possible career in science media and communication as well, which is something I would like to pursue in the future.

Ready to delve in?

Visit the podcast and keep track of when the next interview is out via:

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