STEM

Pathways

Lucy Cunningham
Green Space Officer

What was your dream career when you were younger?

It changed weekly! Marine Biologist, Vet, Human Rights Lawyer, Singer, Teacher, Psychologist...

What subjects did you study at school?

Highers: English, Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Modern Studies, Art

Who or what has been your biggest inspiration?

The incredible wonders of nature.

How have the subjects you studied at school helped you in your career?

Modern Studies for teaching me about world injustice and what I can do about it; I wanted to make the world better for the disadvantaged this showed it could and had been done.

English for the love of reading and learning I still have – I really enjoy writing reports, funding apps, and going on (interesting!) training.

Biology and Art for the love of nature I draw on every day in my teaching and session creation.

What has your STEM journey been since leaving school?

After initially studying Journalism, I switched to Psychology and got my honours in that at Strathclyde Uni. During uni I went to volunteer with a charity called Trees for Life, who after a few weeks asked me to be a group leader, which I was over the moon to do. After uni, I combined working with them, (leading groups into the highlands to plant trees and teaching the ecology of the area) every spring and autumn with other jobs and travels. The seed was sown to work combining people and nature. This experience led to work on Branching Out, a mental health programme outdoors with Forestry Commission, being a community gardener with Urban Roots, and now Education Officer at RSPB. Nature is science, and I see people as part of that.

What skills do you utilise most in your career?

People engagement, empathy, listening, drive, determination, computer skills, report writing (I was also an English teacher for a while), presenting to large audiences, enthusiasm, creativity (activities, games) and time management.

What advice would you give to any young people considering a STEM career?

It’s not only through the sciences that a STEM career can happen. Being good with people and passionate about nature has brought me here, bringing science to life for children and adults. Follow your passion and you’ll never be miserable at work. And don’t be afraid to move on if you’re not fulfilled!