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I recently attended the STEM Festival in Peterbourg, a small town located a bit norther than London. The event aimed at showcasing science and technology to kids ages 7 to 12. The festival was a chance to meet up with some of the amazing girls that use social media to do science communication. Emily is a first year PhD student at the University of Leicester and she does research on cancer. She also has a blog and an Instagram page @biochemily_.

One of the stands of the exhibition showcased the work of my friend Heidi Gardner who got her PhD in biology at the University of Aberdeen. She set up her own business while doing her PhD research in clinical trials methodology. One day, on her way back from London to Aberdeen, she was asked the classic question:

what’s your job? When she answered: “I am a scientist”, the guy said, “But you don’t look like a scientist!”.

She was so frustrated to deal with the stereotypes for the millionth time and she decided to create “ScienceOnAPostcard” to bring science to the general public in a funny way! She set up an Instagram account, a Twitter page and an Etsy shop the same day of the conversation. Her artwork is awesome and I recommend taking a look at her Etsy shop.

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During the exhibition, I came across another indipendent owner who makes Japanese inspired costumes and pins, Rachel Konichiwakitty. She is based in London and did her PhD research in stem cells. She runs workshops around London and teaches people how to create electronic devices such as the headbands in the pic. This is a way for her to encourage people into coding and tech.

Rachel runs her own business in her spare time, she also has a job as a researcher in one of the Hospital in London.

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I am always very impressed by people who make it their own way and try creative solutions to bring science to the public. Or in general, I am impressed by people who get creative to make their own things, because, beyond everything, one of the greatest skill of a scientist is creativity.

I started this blog to showcase how a PhD empowers students to do anything, all the skills we learn are valuable in any field and setting. And what’s the best way to do it than setting up your own business to add up to the poor and limited finances we have in grad school?

If you know someone or you did something creative during your PhD and you think you can fit the criteria of #phdtosuccess, write a comment below and I will feature you on my blog!

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