Celia Knight FRSB talks to Dr Ed Mitchard,
It’s been 10 years since the first summer school and one of the 2005 alumni is leading his own research in an academic position already. I asked Ed Mitchard to write about his memories of attending the summer school and what he’s doing now.
I’m an academic at the University of Edinburgh studying tropical forest ecology and deforestation using satellite data: but ten years ago I attended a Gatsby Plants summer school, at the end of my 1st year studying Biological Sciences at Oxford.
I remember really enjoying the week, loved meeting people actively involved in research and going to inspirational talks from researchers and visits to active labs. I think the biggest impact on me came from talking to researchers about their day-to-day life and their career progression. As a 1st year undergraduate I had been quite cut off from active researchers, especially early career researchers such as PhD students, postdocs and young lecturers. The enthusiasm of these researchers was infectious, and I ended up with a much clearer idea that I wanted to be where they were, and how to get there.
I think the Summer School encouraged me to keep studying plant science. But ultimately the whole Gatsby Plant network had the biggest impact on my career: I was part of the Gatsby network during my undergraduate study, going to more focused science meetings, and then was encouraged by my mentor to seek out a potential PhD supervisor, devise a project, and apply for a Gatsby-funded PhD studentship in the area of research that interested me most.
If you attended a Gatsby Plants summer school and would like to share your career path since then, please get in touch with me.