Oxford University: 2006-2013; Rice University in Houston: 2005; Jacobs University Bremen, Germany: 2003-2006; IBO School 0704 in Gdynia, Poland: 1999-2003; Shanghai International School: 1995-1998; New International School of Thailand: 1994-1995
Doctorate in Zoology, Oxford University; MSc in Integrated Biosciences, Oxford University; BSc in Biology; Jacobs University Bremen
Reading University, Nottingham Trent University, Inscentinel Ltd; Oxford University
Teaching Fellow at the School of Biological Sciences
I’m a Polish zoologist who loves doing a lot of things at the same time.
I come from Poland, but I have been in the UK for almost ten years now – I came here do do my Master’s degree, and stayed ever since. I am a pretty international person, having lived in eight countries and visited over 40. I’m a zoologist, and I love seeing what animals do in the wild, when they think no-one is watching.
I also love communicating science to various audiences, and I even dabble in science stand-up comedy. In my spare time I do competitive ballroom dancing; I also work with migrant communities in the UK.
I am a behavioural ecologist, which means that I study how animals interact with their environment. My particular interest is invasive species: animals and plants that have been brought from one part of the world to another, and have adapted very well to their new environments (so much so, that they have become a threat to the native wildlife). Right now I study how the movement of people can influence the spread of these species.
If you want to know more, you can check out my TEDx talk on the topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJW-Zgjz7G0
Apart from that, I do a lot of teaching at the University of Reading – and I really love interacting with my students! I also give talks to people who are not scientists, and I write popular science articles in both Polish and in English.
My Typical Day:
A bit of fieldwork, a lot of teaching, some meetings, plenty of writing – every day is different!
I don’t really have a typical work day – in my job, I do all sorts of things (which is great, because it means I’m never bored). Some days I spend mainly with my students – either giving lectures or doing practicals in the field; other days I spend mainly with my computer – on research and programming. Still, the best days are the ones I spend outdoors, chasing animals. That’s pretty diverse, too – I could be surveying small mammals, or observing bird behaviour, or trapping insects.
In summer, I take my students out for fieldwork – last year we have spent a couple of weeks in South Africa and in Sweden; this year we’re going to Sweden and Iceland. That’s a very intensive time, because we are out and about all day – collecting samples, looking at animal tracks, identifying plants – but it is also great fun.
Sometimes I’m in a tent in the South African mountains, trying to warm myself by the fire, wearing hiking boots and a fleece – and sometimes I’m at a conference in high heels and a smart jacket.
What I'd do with the prize money:
I’d publish a book with the answers to your most interesting questions
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Restless, international, sociable
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Never – I was a disgustingly well-behaved student!
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Postmodern Jukebox. Or Stornoway. Or any music from the American Civil War. Basically anything with a banjo in it.
What's your favourite food?
Cherries and bubble tea, not necessarily together
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
A house, a child, and a guinea pig that lays very small eggs (it would be cute AND useful).
Tell us a joke.
What’s the difference between a stoat and a weasel? Weasels are weasily identified, but stoats are stoatally different! [sorry! I love terrible puns!]