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Ruchi Gupta, Senior Lecturer and Birmingham Healthcare Technologies Fellow

As a child Ruchi loved to play with her electromagnetic set and always knew that she wanted to be a scientist but wasn't sure which pathway she would choose. Ruchi now makes a living as a scientist developing measurement methods and devices for timely and accurate diagnosis of diseases. Ruchi is excited by STEM as it enables her to test her ideas, which could potentially have significant positive impacts on society and on the economy.

Age: 36 years

Job title: Senior Lecturer and Birmingham Healthcare Technologies Fellow

Company employed by: University of Birmingham

When you were a child, what did you dream you’d be when you grew up?
I always wanted to become a scientist.

What is the biggest impact your work will or could have in the future?
I am working to develop measurement methods and devices for timely and accurate diagnosis of diseases, which is a first step towards offering right treatment at the right time.

What excites you most about STEM?
STEM excites me because I can test my ideas, which could potentially have significant positive impacts on society and on the economy.

What do you love about your job? What would you change?
I love being in my research lab to try out new ideas. As I am making my way up the academic ladder, I get to spend less and less time in the lab, which I would like to change.

What gives you the most job satisfaction?
I feel most satisfied after collecting sufficient data to prove/ disprove my research hypothesis.

What does a typical day at work involve?
There is no such thing as a typical day for me. In terms of my research, I develop a research strategy, do experiments, write journal papers, secure funding, mentor my team, seek collaborations, manage finances and publicise. My role also involves teaching and administrative responsibilities.

What’s the most unexpected thing about your job?
Some people find it difficult to accept that the boundaries between classical disciplines of science and engineering are getting fuzzier.

Did you have any role models when you were younger? What inspired you to do the job you’re doing now?
Yes, my maths and physics teachers in school were my role models when I was younger. They encouraged me to find out the answers to my questions on how things work.

Any influential toys during childhood?
I loved playing with my electromagnetic set, which had batteries, magnets, iron filings, a fan, motor, light bulbs and a breadboard.

Your favourite subjects at school?
Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Art.

Qualifications (school/college/university):
A-levels equivalent to Maths, Physics and Chemistry, BEng in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, MASc in Engineering Physics and a PhD in Electrical and Electronics Engineering.

Your reason for choosing this career?
I chose this career because I like the challenge of solving problems and learning new skills/ concepts.

Tell me about your career path to date?
I completed a BEng from Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), MASc from McMaster University (Canada) and PhD from University of Manchester (UK). I was a lecturer in Analytical Science at the University of Hull (UK) between 2014 and 2016, and am now a Senior Lecturer at University of Birmingham.

If you could have any job what would it be? How does it differ from what you’re doing?
If I would not have been scientist, I would have liked to become a veterinarian because I like animals. I would not have been a very good veterinarian though because I get terribly upset when I see sick animals.

Your advice to a young person considering a career in STEM?
Don’t be afraid to tinker with things and try out your ideas.