Chelsea Snell | Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Making public the power of plants and fungi
Chelsea Snell is a Science Communications Officer at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and took part in Biotechnology YES in 2013 while studying for a PhD in plant science at the University of Reading.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world-leading scientific organisation, showcasing the largest living collection of plants and fungi in its 330 acres of gardens. The gardens were declared in 2003 a World Heritage Site by UNESCO acknowledging its significant contribution to the study of plant diversity and economic botany.
"Maintaining contacts is hugely beneficial – you’re guaranteed to meet people who might be able to help grow your skills or find you that next opportunity!"
Raising global awareness
Chelsea’s job is to help increase people’s awareness of the globally important plant and fungal research that Kew carries out worldwide. The role involves creating accessible and engaging content for Kew’s website and social media, including helping to produce videos. This involves a lot of collaboration and teamwork with individuals across the organisation – from senior scientists to the marketing department.
Chelsea quickly realised that academia wasn’t a career she wanted to pursue so took up as many opportunities as possible to build up her skills outside of research. YES was the first of these and opened her eyes to the breadth of careers available.
Communicating a product clearly
Before the competition I had absolutely no idea that there were jobs in business or IP law open to people with a scientific background. It was an extremely inspiring experience that I’ll never forget. When you get into the depths of your PhD you’re often working alone for long periods of time so it was refreshing to work as a team on something. It also challenges you to think differently and be a bit creative. You learn a lot in such a short space of time too – presenting and communicating a product clearly to an audience of people with different backgrounds is definitely a skill that the competition fostered.
Network, network, network
Another positive of YES is the valuable and long-lasting network it creates. Towards the end of her PhD when looking for a job, an opportunity at Syngenta came up through an email to alumni. Chelsea landed a position in communications and even found herself on the other side of the fence helping to run the YES17 competitions at the Jealott's Hill International Research Centre site.
Recently Chelsea joined other YES alumni at Seedball HQ. Kew are Seedball stockists so the networking continues seven years on.
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