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Women in Science

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Kylie VincentInterview excerpt: Kylie enjoyed both chemistry and literature throughout her school and into her degree years.

Where did your interest in chemistry come from and how, how did your interest change over the years?

Yes, it's been an interesting path. I guess at school I had always had an interest in science but I also loved English literature and so when I was considering what to do at University it was a really tough decision and I probably would have leaned towards just doing a degree in English literature, but luckily I was growing up in Australia and it was quite common at that time, at least, to do a double degree where you could do two degrees in parallel and I did an Arts and a Science degree where I could major in English Literature and in Chemistry and that was really perfect because it let me carry on the interest in English Literature but at the same time continue with the science as well.

So I carried on through that sort of loving both halves of the degree and actually surprised myself with how much I really loved the chemistry and I had always had an interest in the interface between chemistry and biology and I guess I could have carried on in biology but I wanted to sort of probe the details of what went on in biological systems at a deeper level than biologists tend to probe. So I wanted to sort of go into where the electrons are going and where the atoms are moving in chemical reactions in biology and that's exactly where I've ended up. But I guess I didn't know that that would be sort of what I'd end up doing when I started at University.

So, I did a bit of chemistry and a bit of biology and biochemistry at University and then sort of came to the end of the double degree and wondered what to do next. It was clear that I would probably go on in science, I guess, at that point and I decided that I probably needed a PhD because I wanted to be in control of the science that I was doing rather than just doing someone else's research project.