Caerleon Comprehensite School, Swansea University
11 GCSE’s (Art & Design, Core Science, Double Science, English Language, English Literature, Geography, Graphics Design, Mathematics, Religious Education, Resistant Materials, Short Course Welsh Language) (2009). A-Levels in Mathematics, Art & Design and Physics, with an AS-Level in English and Welsh Baccalaureate (2011). Master of Engineering (MEng) in Product Design Engineering (2011-2015). Doctor of Engineering (EngD) in “Advanced Manufacture by Screen-Printing” (2015-2020).
Postdoctoral Research Engineer (Scale Up Technology Transfer Fellow)
Specific IKC, Swansea University
Favourite thing to do in my job: Getting to make the things I design
I'm a Postdoctoral Research Engineer and lover of arts, crafts and dancing.
I have lived in Swansea since 2011, moving here to study as a student at Swansea University, then decided I loved it so much that I stayed for a Doctorate, then a job. I live with my partner, who also works for the University, along with our little puppy Maisie.
Apart from getting covered in ink, I also enjoy making artworks, particularly pyrography art which is pretty much like burning patterns into wood with a soldering iron with a really nice tip. Its great fun upcycling old wooden things and teaching children how to safely use it in my local bushcraft group that I volunteer with. I’m also a great lover of dance, I do a range of styles including hip hop, tango and flow arts including hoop, chair, and pole.
I design, make, and test solar cells that can be made using a screen-printer, just like the one used to make t-shirts! I also work on printing special inks which can make things heat up, light up and even change colour.
I work for Specific IKC in Swansea University, which is a research group that makes buildings into power stations. My work is on Screen-Printing Electronics, with most of my time spent on designing and making Printed Perovskite Solar Cells. These Solar Cells are cheaper and easier to make than the ones you see on most rooves. These solar cells can be made on many different materials, so they can be printed onto the roof material rather than be attached to the roof afterwards. There are even some that can be made seen through to make windows into solar cells! As well as solar cells, I also get to work with a range of special inks which can conduct heat or electricity, glow in the dark, light up, or even change colour with different temperatures or light levels. One of my favourite things is printed heaters as they can be made on metals to go under floors, fabrics to go on t shirts and even cork to be used as a coaster to heat up your coffee!
My Typical Day: None of my days are the same but I normally start work at 9am and finish at 5pm with a one-hour lunch break at midday with my colleagues. During those hours, I sometimes spend my day in the laboratories, where I get to make, test, and assess printed electronics such as solar cells. If I’m printing the solar cells, this also involves a lot of cleaning to get the ink off of everything. Other days I will be in the office (which is now at home because to COVID 19) where I will go through my results, making graphs and tables which are then written up as reports and papers to explain what I have found out. I usually spend some time planning new experiments, as well as buying new equipment and supplies to help me make better solar cells. I also get to teach students studying Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Swansea University, although this is only a few hours a week.
What I'd do with the money
I would use it to develop new workshops and demonstrators for schools, youth groups and science festival sessions based on Sustainable Energy and Technologies for off grid homes.
I have taken part in workshops and talks for schools, science festivals and youth groups as a STEM Ambassador for around eight years now. Since the pandemic started, I moved everything to online and have used whatever equipment I could find to make a series of online talks for schools and youth groups to keep students enjoying science and engineering during these hard times. I designed fun workshops that could be done from home using things that were cheap or available around the house. Some of which included penny batteries from coins and washers, water filters from old plastic bottles, sand and cotton wool, as well as inks made of water, flour, and coal. However, with this money I could make a larger range of fun and interactive workshops and demonstrators to reach even more schools and youth groups
I would use the money to buy the equipment needed so that students can make their own heat up coasters, dye sensitised solar cells, colour changing keyrings and miniature wind turbines that they would get to keep after the session. These workshops could also be used for virtual sessions where I would send these kits to schools or youth groups to send on to the students, then teach them how to make the things over video call classes. I would also use the money to build interactive, large demonstrators that can be brought to schools, youth groups and festivals so students can see how things like solar cells and wind turbines work up close with moving parts.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Presented a new method for looking into the science behind screen-printing at an international conference
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My love of the technologies in science fictions, such as Doctor Who and Star Trek, which I would like to help bring into the real world.
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
In year 12 I decided that I wanted to be a Design Engineer. Before then I was interested in becoming an Architect, Illustrator or Fine Artist.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I don't think so
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Either an Architect or an Illustrator. I love creating designs which is why I chose Engineering as this way they effect more peoples lives
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
Salmon Sushi or Sashimi, although I also really love Cadbury's Cream Eggs
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Hula hoop danced at Everest Base Camp after trecking all the way there with the hoop on my back
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To end all war, to have a complete solution to climate change and to have the powers of Captain Marvel