- Course: Chemistry MChem, BSc
- Year of graduation: Current
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/caitlin-gough/
Caitlin is a current student, studying a MChem BSc degree in Chemistry. She was also appointed to the Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholarship programme, working on The Upper Atmosphere of Mars project, supervised by Professor John Plane and Professor Dan Marsh.
Caitlin decided to study at the University of Leeds for several reasons. “Firstly, I looked into the research areas of the School of Chemistry and found that some of my interests aligned with those of the department, as I was particularly interested in the research into Atmospheric and Planetary Chemistry. I also loved the city of Leeds and the campus but the main selling point for me was my experiences when visiting the University.
The focus on the individual was really important and something I found to be quite unique to Leeds.
When I had my interview day, I received a pack of information specifically tailored to the interests I had outlined in my personal statement for example, information on the Women’s Football team, Hockey Team and volunteering opportunities as well as information on the background and research of my interviewer. I felt that this focus on the individual was really important and was something I found to be quite unique to Leeds.”
“I decided to study Chemistry because at A-Level I found that it was the subject that inspired me the most. I have always been a very curious person, always asking a lot of questions and wanting to understand everything at a deeper level so I always knew that my future would be in science. For me, chemistry is the underpinning of everything, and it can be applied to the widest range of research areas, from the studies of space to the study of biological systems. Everything around us depends on chemistry on some level and so to me chemistry is definitely the most exciting subject to study at university.
Chemistry is the underpinning of everything, and it can be applied to the widest range of research areas, from the studies of space to the study of biological systems.
The best thing about my degree is being taught by researchers at the forefront of their fields, getting to learn from people who are truly passionate about what they do is a really unique opportunity that I have thoroughly enjoyed. I have especially enjoyed my modules in Atmospheric Chemistry, Quantum Mechanics and in Data Science. Through my degree I have had the opportunity to study a wide range of disciplines, and this has allowed me to see where my true passions lie.”
“In a module titled ‘Big Data, Big Science’, I had the opportunity to learn how to use Python. We were assessed through a coursework that used data analysis to investigate the potential effects of climate change on Malaria. I really enjoyed learning how to analyse large datasets using Python and especially enjoyed seeing how these skills can be utilised in both academic research and in the tackling of real global issues. This module really helped me to strengthen the skills I developed in my Laidlaw scholarship work where I used Python to analyse both satellite and model measurements of metals in the atmosphere of Mars.”
Laidlaw Leadership and Research Programme
“The Laidlaw Scholarship has been an amazing experience that has given me so many opportunities. The scholarship is split into leadership training and academic research. My research topic is titled ‘The Upper Atmosphere of Mars’. In my first period of research I worked in Professor John Planes’ research group and used Python to compare data from the LMD Mars model and the MAVEN satellite in order to better our understanding of Mars’ upper atmosphere. It has been a truly exciting experience to work within a research group as an undergraduate especially in a field I want to pursue in my future career. This summer I hope to travel to America for 6 weeks to work at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research as part of my second period of research. Through the other focus of the scholarship, I have really gained confidence in my leadership abilities. I have had opportunities to deliver presentations, network with scholars from around the world and to learn about the research of other scholars in other disciplines. I also particularly enjoyed the opportunity to go into a local primary school to teach some year 5 and 6 children about my research area and to encourage them to think about going to university when they grow up.”
Through the other focus of the scholarship, I have really gained confidence in my leadership abilities. I have had opportunities to deliver presentations, network with scholars from around the world and to learn about the research of other scholars in other disciplines.
“Outside of university, I play football for York City Ladies. Growing up, I played at the York City Regional Talent Club and have previously played for Guiseley Vixens and Leeds United. I am also currently playing for the University first team. I find that undertaking a degree and playing football at a high level gives me a really good balance, however I have had to become very good at time management as I train and play 6 times a week.”
City of Leeds
“The City of Leeds is a very exciting city to live in as a student, I love that there are lots of things to do and that it is a relatively small city with a lot of things that are within walking distance from the campus. This I find to be really beneficial as a student! I especially enjoy going to concerts at places like the First Direct Arena and the O2 academy and watching the football at Elland Road.
Caitlin plans to continue her studies and pursue a postgraduate research degree at the University of Leeds in Atmospheric/ Planetary chemistry. “I definitely think that my Laidlaw scholarship will help me in my future career as it has not only given me the opportunity to carry out research into the field I wish to go into but it has given me the leadership skills and the confidence I will need to succeed as both a leader in science and as a teacher.
In the future I would love to become a professor; I could not think of a more exciting job than a job in research studying the unknown but I am also massively driven to help others and so I would love the opportunity to teach.”
Find out more
Discover more about our Undergraduate degree courses in the School of Chemistry.