Scientist Spotlight – Professor Kathy Andrews

Scientist Spotlight

Professor Kathy Andrews was the first person I had the pleasure of photographing during the Griffith Uni photo shoot. I was a little nervous since there wasn’t a lot of direction about what was required, except for the new Griffith tagline #beremarkable

Kathy lives up to that tagline – she is a remarkable woman *spoiler alert* : she looks up to women who juggle work, home and life in general and she is someone who does just that and makes it look easy. She has launched an exciting new program called “That’s RAD! Science” which is aimed at engaging children with the sciences.

Kathy was always smiling during the photoshoot and happy to try some weird ideas for shots, including traipsing in amongst the trees, and in another instance, looking intently at a blood sample at what was probably quite an uncomfortable angle

Here is my interview with Kathy, along with some of the photos from the shoot.

So I know you’re a scientist, but when did you decide to become a scientist? What were you thinking? (Not WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!?! but what made you decide that science was going to be your future?)

Kathy-1I remember when I was in primary school that my parents loved to visit auctions and of course auctions were pretty exciting for kids too. At one auction I saw a mixed box that contained several glass test tubes and convinced my mum that I had to have them! I think I was always interested in science, but to have my own test tubes was definitely pretty inspiring.

What was the best thing about studying science?

The best thing about studying science is that every day is different and you never know what amazing new thing you will discover. Being the first in the world to know about a new aspect of your research area is pretty great.

Kathy-10And what was the most irritating part?

Paperwork!

What type of scientist are you (and what does that mean)?

I am a malaria drug discovery scientist. This means that I am searching for new medicines that may help people sick with a disease called malaria, or even prevent them from getting sick to start with.

What’s your claim to fame?

My lovely daughter Emma would have to be my claim to fame!

What part of your job gives you the most satisfaction and why?Kathy-8

Working with fantastic staff and students gives me the most satisfaction. I really enjoy helping my students develop into confident and talented young scientists. Very rewarding!

Do you find that people react a certain way when you tell them you’re a scientist? Do they make any assumptions? Are they correct?

Telling people that I am a scientist can sometimes stop a conversation at a party, but generally I think people are extremely interested in science.

Are you a good public speaker?

Sometimes – especially when I am talking about an area I’m passionate about. A big part of my job as a scientist is to talk to different kinds of people. I especially love talking to kids about science as they are always so enthusiastic and ask the most interesting (and sometimes very unexpected) questions.

What would you ideal day look like?

My ideal day at work would include discussing exciting new data with my students and helping them to plan new experiments. Or celebrating the success of one of our team with cake!

Kathy-5So when you aren’t in the lab, or the office, what do you love doing?

I love to spend time with my family, especially watching my daughter play netball. I am also working on a series of children’s picture books about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at the moment so I love working on that new project.

Tell me about one thing that makes you smile or laugh out loud!

Seeing the very odd positions my cat sleeps in! Hilarious!!

Who do you look up to and why?

I look up to all working parents who juggle work, children and life!

Kathy-11You can connect with Kathy on her social media channels here:

  • Twitter @kandrew07141156
  • Twitter @ThatsRADScience
  • That’s RAD on Facebook

Thank you again Kathy for this candid little interview, I certainly enjoyed learning more about you and I look forward to seeing where the That’s RAD! Science program goes.

x desleyjane

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. I love these interviews, and your very creative photography. You begin with a good collection of questions, and inspire me to start profiling friends. The idea’s been lurking for a while.

    It would be great for girls still at school to read these to see what a life in science can be like.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. desleyjane says:

      Thanks so much Meg. Su said something similar about sharing it with school girls. I’m going to approach some STEMM education people I know and see what they think. Thank you so much for your comments. This one and one other in particular (soon to come hopefully) were my most creative shots – the feature image in this case. It’s now of my favourite shots I’ve ever taken.

      Like

      1. And so it ought to be – although it’s got heaps of competition!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Su Leslie says:

    This really is a great idea, and so well executed. Your photos are gorgeous as always and the questions well thought-out. If I had a daughter, I’d be sending these her way to help inspire her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. desleyjane says:

      Thank you so much Su. I tried to keep the questions light and conversational, but still get some insight. I’ve just said to Meg above that I’m going to approach some of my local contacts about getting these out to school girls. Thanks again for your kind comments.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Su Leslie says:

        That would be great; young women/girls need all the positive role-modelling they can get.

        Like

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