What A levels did you study?
I did Biology, Chemistry, English Literature and Geography at Bethany School.
Why did you choose the A level subjects that you did?
I chose based on the subjects that I enjoyed and was good at. I knew I needed two sciences to do a science degree and, as Mathematics was not enjoyable for me, I stayed away from Physics and Maths! I chose Geography because it was a subject that interested me and I was good at, and my choice of English was because I loved the subject!
What was the best thing about your Sixth Form experience?
I loved being a prefect and a house official (go Kiplings!) The sense of being part of a team was essential, as was the help that the teachers gave me when I needed it. Throughout my years at Bethany I enjoyed a wide range of sports, including netball a and playing goalkeeper in hockey – a personal highlight for me – and I was also involved in music, playing the flute in the School Orchestra.
How did you choose your degree course?
I chose to study Chemistry at University because I loved Science at school. I was further encouraged by the support of my Chemistry teacher, Mr Vickerman, and by the fact that my granddad was a chemist. I chose my placement year based on the industry I am interested in; I am fascinated by oil and energy and how it can be processed to produce recovered oil that can be burnt to produce energy.
What do you enjoy most about your degree course?
I love the laboratory experiments that we are expected to carry out. The way that different chemicals react is very interesting and learning more about how everyday objects can be used to produce other things is also amazing.
What do you want to do after your graduate?
Ideally, I would like to carry out a PhD in battery technology or alternative fuel sources. I am also interested in working for BP or Shell in their graduate schemes.
What advice would you give to a pupil currently choosing A levels and thinking about their next step?
Make sure you don’t pick subjects just because your friends are doing them. Try and have an idea of the degree, or a job, that you want to achieve and research which A levels would be the best options in order to progress in that field. Try to make sure you have enough time to enjoy being part of the School, I worked throughout my A levels and was so busy that I just didn’t have enough time to be part of all the things I could have been involved in at Bethany.
What advice would you give to a pupil thinking about higher education?
If you are passionate about a subject, you should definitely go for it. However, if you are unsure, take the time to think through your options. If you are unsure if university is for you, look at a range of options – including colleges – or consider taking a year out to make a decision.
James Vickerman, Head of Chemistry at Bethany School, said:
“I taught Hannah throughout the whole of Years 10 to 13 and she was always a highly-motivated, determined and diligent pupil. Even when she found certain Chemistry topics challenging she was always willing to go the extra mile in order to overcome any difficulties and it is precisely this attitude, together with her obvious love of science, which saw her achieve her well-deserved successes. I was absolutely delighted that she chose to study Chemistry for her degree, especially as we desperately need more women in this field, and I have no doubt at all that she will continue to be very successful indeed.”