Kim Spijkers-Shaw

Kim Spijkers-Shaw

Why do you think interdisciplinary research is important?

Most of the important topics of research in modern science branch over more than one of the classic sciences, so researchers require a good knowledge of more than one. I think it is very important that research scientists who are working together have at least a base understanding of other sciences besides their specialism. Interdisciplinary research is key to tackling the big questions in science today.

Tell us about why you think interdisciplinary research facilitates new discoveries being made

The application of one science to another is new and exciting and yields many new answers, and new problems, which are very interesting.

Tell us a bit about your course (including the combination of subjects you’ve chosen)

In first year I took Physics, Chemistry and Maths. I have chosen to focus on Physics and Maths, with a 50-50 split. This means I do all of the core physics modules and have chosen an applied maths focus including Fluid dynamics. It's a time consuming but rewarding course, with a lot of hours but loads of freedom about the structure and the possibility to direct it towards exactly the content I'm interested in.

What do you enjoy most about it?

My subjects complement each other very well, so I feel like I'm just doing a course in all the little things that interest me. It is very interesting to see the different approaches each science has to similar problems and very rewarding to see the overlap and understand all angles of it fully.

Was there anything in particular that made you study Natural Sciences at Leeds rather than another university

The course at Leeds ensures that in our first year we are able to study all of the core modules we need to have almost complete freedom of choice in our second year, so the course feels simultaneously very open and guided enough that we cover everything we need to.

What do you think about the flexibility of your course?

It starts off relatively structured, but becomes more and more flexible as you move through the years and have a proper grounding in the subject, which I think is a good way of doing it as it is important not to specialise too soon.

What do you most enjoy about student life at Leeds, in general?

The campus has a very friendly feel to it as it is always a hub of activity with the union at its centre, yet it is so close to the city centre that its easy to escape the bubble into the real world sometimes. The leisure scene is great, there's a huge variety and there's pretty much always a quiz or a music event going on somewhere.

What do you do outside of your studies (e.g. clubs, societies, interests)?

I am on the women's water polo team, I find that regular training and fixtures are a really good way to destress after a long day at uni, and winning matches is always nice. I also play Quidditch, a very different sport that is growing more and more widely played. The Quidditch community is incredible, they demonstrate just how easy it can be to find a group of like minded people amongst the huge student population in a society