Esther Haines

Esther spent some time in a research role in the UK after a doctorate in physics, and then she returned to New Zealand for work. She came back to the UK and is now Regional Officer at the Insitute of Physics, while also working for the Women in Science, Engineering and Technology Initiative (WiSETI) within the University of Cambridge.

"After a doctorate in physics, I spent some time in a research role in the UK before returning to my native New Zealand. I worked in research roles, working part-time after my son was born, then returned to the UK when my husband took up an academic post in Cambridge. Eventually I won a Daphne Jackson fellowship for returners to science, engineering and technology – an opportunity to change subject area.

"I currently have two half-time jobs. My role for WiSETI has included data analysis, report writing, presenting workshops, running a network and providing one-to-one advice. As a regional officer I spend time on outreach and promoting the Institute’s resources for teachers. I appreciate the variety provided by my current roles.

"The narrow topic of my PhD is no longer of interest. However, the broader skills in mathematical analysis of problems and computer programming are still useful, even in my current roles. Developing the habit of working independently and finding help when needed has proved useful.

"I wish now that as a doctoral researcher I had given more thought to how what I was doing would help to build my career. I would encourage anyone undertaking a doctorate now to be proactive – think about what is really important to you and how you can achieve it."