Laura Stoica

Laura Stoica

Why did you choose to study for a PhD at the University of Leeds?

My story at Leeds begins with an MSc degree in nanotechnology (within the Nanofolio programme), Leeds being one of the best centres in the UK in the field. During the MSc degree I was required to carry out research as part of a major project. I chose a project in the Institute for Materials Research, which focused on ferroelectric thin films for novel memory applications. I found the area of materials' engineering fascinating which, together with the well-equipped laboratories, the inspiring researchers always working as a team and the good organisation within the institute made me say "Yes" beyond a shadow of a doubt when the opportunity of doing a PhD arose.

Tell us about your research

My research focuses on a new class of piezoelectric materials which has the potential of revolutionising electromechanical transduction in areas like underwater communication and exploration as well as medical ultrasonic imaging, diagnosis and treatment.

What is your favourite part of studying at Leeds?

One of my favourite parts is working with highly qualified professors and researchers who are recognised internationally for their achievements. I also love the very dynamic environment and the opportunity to take part in challenging activities all year round, such as Young Persons' Lecture Competition or SHOWCASE - the University's Postgraduate Research Conference.

What activities do you take part in outside of your studies?

Leeds is a very effervescent city with something to offer for everyone. A few of my favourite events, which I like to attend with my friends and colleagues are: Leeds International Film Festival, Leeds Light Night and Leeds Loves Cocktails Festival. On sunny weekends (which are not as rare as one would think) I like to explore areas around Leeds such as charming towns (York, Ilkley, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Whitby) or the wonderful national parks (The Peak District, The Yorkshire Dales, The Lake District).

What are your ambitions for the future?

Upon completion of my PhD I plan to continue my work as a researcher in the area of piezoelectric materials in an industrial environment, which will allow me to bring business and scientific findings together.

Your advice to prospective students

Before engaging in a PhD there are a number of questions that need to be addressed, such as: why do I want/need a PhD, do I enjoy working in a laboratory, do I want a career in academia or industry (some projects are purely scientific, whilst some other have very strong connections with industry and hence, choosing one or another may facilitate your career path).

A PhD is an amazing, exciting experience that brings plenty of satisfaction as well as challenges. In my opinion, the beauty of a research degree is that although you have a supervisor who provides guidance, it is your responsibility to organise your own time and plan your research. Overall, a PhD is much more than a degree. It is a vivid, life-changing experience.