Sandy Kilpatrick (Bayer-Humboldt Research Fellow, Berlin)
My current position is research fellowship in chemistry funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and Bayer.
After leaving St Brendan’s I went to the University of Oxford to read for an MChem degree in chemistry, and I am eternally grateful to (then chemistry teacher) Madeleine Woolfenden and (then vice-principal) Ann Barrow for encouraging me to apply.
The four years of studying at Oxford were excellent fun but also quite exhausting, so I then moved to London for a break from science, to pursue my passion for playing music. This was a fantastic experience and I played bass in various bands with gigs up and down the country including Glastonbury, Bestival, and Shakespeare’s Globe. Missing the problem solving and practical side of chemistry I signed up for a PhD degree at the University of Sussex under the supervision of Prof. Geoff Cloke FRS, and moved by the sea to Brighton. My research project involved the synthesis of highly air-sensitive uranium and titanium compounds, and their application in the activation of greenhouse gases like CO2 to make more useful chemicals like fuels.
My PhD involved a lot of long hours in the lab and practical demonstrating to undergraduates, but I really enjoyed the mixture of exact science and creative freedom granted in “blue skies” academic research. I have now returned to Oxford as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the O’Hare laboratory and a Junior Research Associate at Wadham College. I am working on an industrial project funded by a Thai company, SCG Chemicals, designing catalysts for ethene polymerisation. A postdoc position grants me a few more years to hone my scientific interests, travel abroad and supervise students in the lab, before I look towards a more permanent job, either in education, industry or academia.