Coming from a specific domain of research doesn’t dictate what your career journey will look like. Your interests, your strong suits, as well as any extra skills you’ve picked up during your lifetime may reveal themselves to be instrumental and key elements in what you’ll do profesionally later on. In this episode of Papa PhD, Clarissa Wright shares how different life and professional experiences built up and brought her from geology and microarchaeology to launching and editing an online magazine.

Clarissa Wright

Clarissa focused on her art from a young age, but her interest in science grew as she studied geology at university of Aberdeen, before completing a Master’s in micropaleontology at university of Birmingham. After exploring various ideas, she entered the scientific publishing industry in London at Springer Nature, from which she started freelance writing and founded a science communication digital magazine in her spare time.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • The role odd jobs can play in preparing you and in setting you up for the career you want to embark on
  • Why you should never stop nurturing your interests and hobbies
  • Why you should get in touch with graduates from your program about their career journey
  • The gradual process of transitioning into your postac career
  • How self-study can help you prepare for a job interview in a field that is new to you
  • How you can build a profitable side-hustle through freelancing

This episode’s pearls of wisdom:

“It wasn’t until about 9 months later that I was looking around at what other people in my class were doing and I heard that one girl was an editorial assistant in a physics journal. And I thought: ‘That sounds cool – what does that involve?’ So I just looked it up and it sounded interesting, so I pushed myself to apply for these.”

“I ended up getting an interview in Cambridge and an interview in London, and got a job in London in a large publishing house as an assisting editor. I was there for two years, during which I learned more about the sicence publishing industry, but it wasn’t immediately obvious to me during my studies that that was a potential route to go down.”

“Actually, my job at the time, which was in the health clinic, I managed to use that as extra experience, because I’d studied geology. I think maybe during the application process or the interview I kind of mentioned that I’d familiarized a bit with health science during my time there, so that ended up supporting that unexpectedly.”

“I basically did a bit of research about basics about science public publishing like open access, blind peer review, and things like that. Those questions actually came up in the interview, so that was useful.”

“I started thinking ‘how do I work best personally?’ and I found that I work quite well just tackling different problems creatively, so I found that, actually, it would be worth it to work my own way, even if I was leaving a very structured and kind of cushiony kind of job. For me, it was just worth it to just have the change.”

Clarissa’s links:; GNU Image Manipulation Program; InkScape Vector Graphic Editor.

You might also like the following episodes:

Dana Murchison – Science Outreach:

Kelly Bullock – Science illustration:

Rob Hutcheson – Health Economics:

Tamarah Luk – Entertainment Law:


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Happy podcasting!

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