Be inspired

A 2013 research study showed that “Women are less likely than men to be associated with leadership, and the awareness of this stereotype may undermine women's performance in leadership tasks. One way to circumvent this stereotype threat is to expose women to highly successful female role models.”

We have lots of talented individuals at Exeter, both male and female. Seeing someone achieve what you aspire to can help you achieve your own goals and ambitions. Here is a selection of inspiring individuals at different stages and levels of their careers. We are always looking to add to this list so please get in touch if there is an inspirational woman you would like to see featured.

Eduarda Santos

I am a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Biology investigating reproductive development and function and the susceptibility of these processes to disruption by environmental stressors. My scientific career started in Portugal, where I studied Aquatic Sciences at the University of Porto. During the final year of my degree, I took the opportunity to study abroad and to conduct a 6-month research placement at Brunel University, under the ERASMUS programme. Following this period of research, I gained a studentship from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology to conduct my PhD studies abroad, at Brunel University. I came to Exeter in 2000, while finalizing my PhD studies, and following two postdoctoral positions at Exeter (funded by the BBSRC and NERC), which included two periods of maternity leave, I was appointed as a Lecturer in 2008. I am now settled in Devon with my partner, who is also a scientist, and children, and together we face the challenges of raising a family while leading active research careers.

Follow Eduarda on Twitter @Fish_Genomics

Jenna Richards

I am a Web and Digital Communications Officer providing strategic and operational website, social media other digital communications support to the Research Services, and Innovation, Impact and Business teams and research academics across the University.

Prior to joining Exeter in 2011 I was a print journalist, but had always had a passion for digital media. To develop my skills and experience I worked voluntarily as the Website Editor for Exeter’s Phonic FM before making the career change to my current role.

Follow Jenna on Twitter @Jenna_Richards

Ruth Garside

A Senior Lecturer in Evidence Synthesis, I am a social science researcher specialising in systematic review and evidence synthesis at the University of Exeter Medical School. I am based at the Knowledge Spa building in Truro which is shared with the Royal Cornwall NHS Trust and located beside the hospital. Like many researching in medical environments I am not based on a main University campus which can be challenging when wanting to access some support systems and networks.

My role at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health is to coordinate evidence synthesis across multidisciplinary streams of research and to help develop methods for topics exploring the interconnections between environment and human health.

My early research career focused on sexual health services. I then joined the PenTAG, producing systematic reviews for policy customers, particularly the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). This led to an interest in methods of synthesis for complex interventions and, especially, how to synthesise qualitative research. The latter was the topic of my PhD, which I undertook part time alongside my research job, and completed in 2007.

Follow Ruth on Twitter @Ruth_Garside

Maria Kneafsey

I am studying for my PhD in Classics and Ancient History researching Boundaries in Late Antique Rome. Prior to coming to Exeter I completed my undergraduate degree in Ancient History and Archaeology (MA Hons.) at the University of St Andrews.

Our department has been part of the Equality Challenge Unit’s trial for the new Gender Equality Charter Mark and I am a member of the group looking at this. The process has made me conscious of gender issues and reflect on everyday practices – my PhD supervisor is Professor Barbara Borg so I have a strong female role model for my studies but realise this is not the case for everyone.

Follow Maria on Twitter @mariakneafsey

Caitlin Kight

As the Marketing and Communications Manager for the University's Cornwall Campuses, I work to spread the word about all of the amazing research, teaching, outreach, and learning that happen at the Penryn and Truro campuses. This is only the latest of several roles that I have had at the University; I have also been the Education Team Leader for the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, an associate lecturer in both the Biosciences and Geography departments, and a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Ecology and Evolution.

During my free time, I engage in several forms of science outreach. I host a science- and nature-themed radio show ("Wild Side") on Cornwall's Source 96.1 FM; I established a science blog called Anthrophysis; I write freelance articles for a variety of popular press publications; I give lectures at public venues such as the annual Ancestor's Trail celebration; and I share interesting science tidbits on Twitter using the handle @specialagentCK. For those who are curious about what I do with the rest of my time, I have a blog about travelling, eating, and living as an expat.

Follow Caitlin on Twitter @specialagentCK

Britt Koskella

I work within the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at Penryn Campus which is part of the Biosciences Department, within the College of Life and Environmental Science. I study the evolutionary and ecological interactions among bacteriophage viruses that infect and kill bacterial cells living within plants, including horse chestnut trees.

Prior to being at Exeter, I held research fellowship positions at the University of California and Oxford University, so understand the challenges of moving between Universities (and countries) for the love of Science.

Follow Britt on Twitter: @bkoskella or read her blog at