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Barley Rose Collier Harris

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Forest Scientist

I always thought I was a physicist - with the first name 'Barley Rose' I thought studying plants would be too much of a cliché. I took a gap year before uni and was in need of a job, I wanted to do something ‘sciency’ before I started my undergrad and with no physics institutes nearby in Norfolk I applied for a job at the John Innes centre and fell in love with plants. Fortunately, I was able to specialise in plant sciences because I did Natural Sciences at Cambridge so it all just went from there. In my undergrad I discovered the wonderful world of genetics. I applied for a few PhDs while I was in my third year, but didn’t get any of them, and took a job in the Police Force instead. I was undeterred by my previous rejections and when I saw the advert for my current DPhil, in Forest Science, with John MacKay, looking at pest resistance in forest trees, I knew I had to apply. And the rest as they say is history.

My path to where I am wasn't straight-forward and I wouldn't have got here if it wasn't for some amazing plant scientists I have met, worked with and learnt from, so that's always something I've been keen to do for others. Since I have been doing my DPhil I have done a live Q and A with the rest of my lab for Oxford Sparks, I have done an Instagram takeover for Oxford Biology, and I'm involved in making and curating part of the Botanic Garden's 400th anniversary exhibition at the Bodleian Library. I have also done live sessions with primary school students, and am an undergraduate tutor. 
More importantly perhaps, I am also involved in the Early Career Researcher (ECR) Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Action Group and part of the Athena Swan committee. I am also part of the Department's reverse tutorial scheme where ECRs give tutorials to senior academics on EDI. Last year I also gave seminars to the first year undergrads on the book 'Superior : The Return of Race Science'.
Check out my website here.
Friday 26th Mar 2021, 11.30am

Lockdown Walks - Disappearing Bugs

During Barley Rose's lifetime, about 75% of the world's flying insects have disappeared. Join us for this episode of 'Lockdown Walks' where she explains some of the reasons behind this loss, and shows you some of the native UK insects that are under threat.

Lockdown Walks - Disappearing Bugs