OLY60785.jpg

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 third 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, which is full of warmth and family and is endlessly fun.