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Women in Science

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Video clip: Julia reflected on the times her mentors have helped her and how the role of a mentor is more common for younger staff than when she started her research career.

Have you ever had a mentor along the way would you say?

The first time was actually the person who proposed me for the Royal Society. And he was wonderful actually, he was, he did it extremely well. He put in a lot of work to help with the application, and was sufficiently encouraging about it, and so I was very grateful for that. And that was an excellent, I mean at the time it was pretty horrible but I mean I do appreciate how much work he put into that. Before that, no.

And would you have like to have a mentor earlier?

I'm afraid I'm a bit old fashioned. I mean I always felt you know we didn't do things like that. You got on with it or else, you know. It's terrible really and I think that's wrong but I sort of deep down have those slight feeling. I think it would have helped perhaps, it's always a confidence thing, isn't it? Someone telling you can do it and what you can do. I mean it was very much get on with it. I mean I arrived in Oxford there was none of this training, it was, “Here's the physics undergraduates at St. Hilda's, look after them.” You know, and “Here's a lecture theatre, go and give a lecture course.” “Here's a couple of graduate students, look after them.” Alright, so you made your mistakes on the hoof.

Has that changed now in terms of the younger staff coming up?

Oh yes, yes, it's an awful lot more going on.