Modern Muse Naomi Lavelle: Green Eggs and STEM

Join Lea, Lilou and Lee chatting with scientist, academic, owner of Dr How’s Science Wows and full-time Mom, Naomi Lavelle!

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We’re always looking for inspiring role models for girls! Today we’re meeting Dr. Naomi Lavelle, expert in all things STEM, owner of Dr How’s Science Wows and all-round busy bee!

Lee: Hi Dr. Naomi! I got really into biology and chemistry at school. When did you discover your passion for science?

Naomi: I always had a bit of a passion for science! I remember getting my first microscope around 12 years old and loving it. It opened up a new world to me: that of the microscopic!

I loved many of the science subjects as I went through school and my university choices included veterinary medicine and sciences. I studied general science, allowing me to choose subjects I liked throughout the course. I went on to do a PhD in genetics after my degree, and I still find the subject fascinating!

Lea: Describe a day in the life of Naomi...

Naomi: I don’t really have an average day! But that’s something I really love, the constant change and challenges. As a mum to three children, I try to fit work around family life. Once the kids are at school I usually set to work on whatever I have planned out for that day; that may be researching a particular subject for writing purposes, designing an interactive program, testing some experiments at home or writing a science article.

If I want to try out some new experiments or ideas I often wait until my family are home as I love getting their feedback and interaction. If I get a “Wow!” out of them, I know that I’ve nailed it!

Lilou: What do you think you’ll be doing in the future?

I love what I am doing right now, and as my life as a science communicator is so varied I’m in control of all my own projects, which fits well around our family life. Basically I love science, communication and children and I still have so many ideas to combine those three things in new and exciting ways. I’ve always got a new idea on the go!

"If you can find a career that you are passionate about then it won’t even feel like work!"

Lee: What would you say to girls like me, who love science but aren’t sure how to get into a STEM career?

My advice would be to just GO FOR IT! There are plenty of great role models these days in all areas of STEM-

Lea: Like our Modern Muses!

Naomi: Exactly - and STEM careers can open up so many opportunities and bring girls to the forefront of modern thinking!

Lilou: And what about us girls with no idea what to do?!

I would say to believe in yourself and your abilities. Also remember that life is full of change and this can apply to career choices, too!

We can move around within our jobs to find what suits us best and your ideal career may change over time! Even if you make a career choice that later you decide isn’t for you, then there are other option. Knowledge gained is never wasted!

Lea: Play to your strengths, Lilou. Like your amazing cooking!Lee: Biology is definitely my passion, but I sometimes worry that while I like science at school, I’d get bored doing it all the time...

Naomi: Despite the geeky image associated with STEM jobs there’s lots of fun to be had, especially if fun experiments go wrong! Once I was preparing the Coke and Mentos experiment with a group of kids, but as we were walking the Mentos fell into the Coke bottle and the Coke erupted a little earlier than anticipated! I was covered in Coke, the kids were covered in Coke, and worst of all? The hallway got covered in Coke, too!

Or there was the time we made a green egg to demonstrate osmosis. The egg looked so cool I came over all Dr. Seuss and cooked it up for dinner! The kids were highly amused with their Green Eggs and Ham dinner, my husband not so much (it tasted awful!).

Lilou: I’m definitely going to serve green eggs when Lea annoys me...Lea: Er, no thanks! So Naomi, important question! Which of us do you think you’re most like? Myself, Lee or Lilou?

I think I’m most like Lilou! I’m quiet and family-oriented and I love being my own boss and making my own work decisions. I love cooking and baking - that’s a science too, right? - as you can try out new ‘experiments’ (recipes) and modify them!

I’m not a big fan of cats though… My favourite animals are elephants because of their tight social bonds, geckos, as their ability to walk up walls is amazing, and dogs- they’re so loyal!