Did you have any role models when you were younger? What inspired you to do the job you’re doing now?
My own curiosity. As long as I can remember, I have always had questions to ask, such as: Why is the sky blue? Why can airplanes fly? And how do ships not sink? During my high school days, I found myself very fascinated with physics and chemistry subjects, especially when we had to do experiments. So after high school, the only path that was logical for me to follow was to study Physics. During my undergraduate degree my ‘curiosity’ questions were answered and many more were generated. From my undergraduate degree to my PhD, and still to this day as a researcher, I feel the same enthusiasm, the same excitement to work in a laboratory and contribute to expanding the limits of our scientific knowledge.
Any influential toys during childhood?
Kid’s microscope, a telescope and a piano.
Your favourite subjects at school?
Physics, Chemistry, Music.
GCE A level in Physics, Maths, Biology, Chemistry during high-school. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree in Physics, PhD in mechanical engineering.
Your reason for choosing this career?
I chose this specific career choice because of my passion for the unknown. The combination of continuously learning and experimental work led me to the engineering research field.
Tell me about your career path to date?
Bachelor in Physics from the University of Crete, Greece, Master degree in applied physics specialised in measuring earth’s magnetic field anomalies from Ludwig Maximillian’s university Munich, Germany. PhD degree in mechanical engineering obtained from University of Sheffield, United Kingdom. My PhD project focused on the mechanical and chemical characterisation of plant based materials for high power applications. During my PhD I worked as a teaching assistant in the engineering department. Since last year I am working as a research associate at the University of Southampton in the optoelectronics department. Daily I am working with laser sources and optical components for potential use on satellites in order to collect and transfer data from and back to the satellite stations.
If you could have any job what would it be? How does it differ from what you’re doing?
What I would love to do is to combine my laboratory experimental work with lecturing. I would like to communicate more with students and develop/design modules and courses to help them see the practical applications of physics and engineering.
Your advice to a young person considering a career in STEM?
In the words of Winston Churchill: ‘’Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.’’ No one has ever said that a career in STEM world is easy or full of continued success. However, the fear of failure must never diminish the belief in our abilities. Feet to the ground and eyes to the goal!