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News > Alumnae Interviews > Professor Nicola King (Class of 1999) - Chemistry & STEM

Professor Nicola King (Class of 1999) - Chemistry & STEM

Associate Dean - Engineering, Maths & Physical Sciences, University of Exeter

"I left SWPS in 1999 to do a Chemistry Degree at the University of Exeter, and have never really left! I spent a year studying at the Universität Bayreuth in Germany before returning to Exeter to do a PhD, after which I joined the academic staff. I’ve been there ever since and was recently promoted to Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Education in the College of Engineering, Maths & Physical Sciences. This means that I have responsibility for the education of approximately 4000 students and work with over 250 academics to deliver degrees in Engineering, Maths, Physics, Computer Science, Natural Sciences, Renewable Energy, Geology and Mining Engineering. Quite a portfolio! I also have two children, aged 9 and 3, and am wonderfully supported by my husband, who is currently a stay-at-home dad.

The pandemic has brought incredible changes to the way universities run and the way we deliver our education. This has brought huge challenges to all of us on a daily basis, but it also opens doors to opportunities to do more innovative and exciting things, and broaden access to degree programmes, which until now have been fairly traditional.

STEM is a wonderful career for women and I’m keen to support any girls interested in going into careers in this area. The face of STEM really is changing and whilst the physical sciences are still male dominated in many places, I’m really proud to be part of a strong female leadership team in the physical sciences at Exeter.

My degree choice, and subsequent career was really shaped by my Sixth form teachers at SWPS – Dr Mason and Mr Staples’ Chemistry lessons, Physics with Mrs Payne and Mr Jaundrill who was my form teacher in the Sixth form and taught me Maths. They gave me real enthusiasm for becoming a scientist and I hope over the years I have managed, and will continue to inspire others, particularly girls, into STEM."

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