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As an undergraduate at Durham University I laughed at the thought of further degrees, and I was laughing right until I took one particular module in my then-final year: Martian Landscapes. Aged six I'd been obsessed with the Solar System, but here I learned that other planets were in fact places: they had sunrises, horizons, geologic histories. Three lectures in I switched to the Masters course, and when I finally graduated I really, really wanted to keep going.

I’m now a second year PhD student at the University of Oxford (or DPhil candidate as they call us there, to be contrary) in the Department of Earth Sciences, where I research how ancient Martian lakes once affected the planet's climate. I love what I do: I get to wear a lab coat, and use Curiosity rover data, and where I live I see fifty wood pigeons most mornings.

I'm a florist's daughter from up north in the Victorian seaside resort of Southport, where I grew up in a geographer's paradise of sand dunes and pine forests. Outside of research I hike, bird-watch, vlog for my Youtube channel The PhDiaries, and write fiction; I find it's the best way to really experience the alien worlds I study. I’m writing a novel set on Pluto right now that explores the ethics of terraforming worlds with humans as well as native life, and is so much fun.