Back to the results
Helen Keenan
Featured Profile: 
At A Glance
Licensed Body: 
First Degree: 
Works For: 
University of Strathclyde
ONC Chem, HNC Chem, MSc, PhD
Pet Hates: 
e-mail/ telesales
Burning Ambition: 
See Angor Wat
Telepathy (my boss thinks I already have this!)
Big Picture
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
A Scientist
Who or what inspired you to become a scientist? 
Chemistry teacher at school
What do you love about your job and being a “scientist”? 
It is never the same 2 days in a row and new developments are constantly emerging
What would you change? 
I would like less administration
What qualifications did you take at school? 
8 O Levels, 4 Highers
Do you have a Masters or PhD? If not, was it difficult to demonstrate Masters-level equivalence in order to achieve CSci? 
MSc, PhD
How do you describe your job when you meet people at a party? 
Lecturer at Strathclyde Uni
What is ‘cutting-edge’ about your work? 
Supervising PhDs
What are the biggest implications your work will/could have in the future? 
I am working with UNEP on the new global mercury treaty to be launched in 2013 and ratified by 2020
Describe some of the highlights of your average day. 
Meeting students and hearing about their work
Describe briefly how your career has progressed to date. 
I started as a trainee technician reaching chief technician before becoming academic related staff. Through day release eventually gained a PhD which allowed me to transfer from ARS to academic staff
How is your job cross-disciplinary? 
I am a Chemist in a Civil Engineering Dept – However we also have Microbiologists/ Biogeologists/ Social Scientists within our department. I work on several programmes and projects with these people in my department (I am the only Chemist)
How well is your job compensated? What is the starting salary for your field, and how much can this be expected to rise? 
£32,458 Lecturer A - £55,259 Senior lecturer. This can rise through a series of increments for each salary band and promotion to a higher grade. There is a criteria that must be met for promotion to senior lecturer.
How do you see your field developing over the next 5-10 years? 
Teaching is becoming much more interdisciplinary and this is also true of research.
What’s the most unexpected thing about your job? 
The amount of hours needed – nobody can do this job in a 9-5 Mon-Fri fashion. Most lecturers work >50 hours including weekends (without extra pay)
What’s the biggest achievement of your career so far? 
Working with UNIDO and UNEP on global environmental issues
Would you say you have a good standard of living/ work-life balance? 
No – too much work
What do your friends and family think about your job? 
They admire what I do but often resent the hours and time away from home
What kind of hobbies or extracurricular activities do you do to relax? 
I like playing squash & hillwalking – plus going to bed early with a book!
Why did you choose to apply for CSci and what do you value most about being a Chartered Scientist? 
I like to feel part of a profession of like minded people- I am easily mistaken for a Civil Engineer because of my department. The CSci – tells people I am a Scientist not an Engineer
What is the value of professional bodies? 
There are many valuables: recognition/ status/ upholding standards and integrity and networking to name a few.
How important is CPD? What do you think of the revalidation process in ensuring that CSci is a mark of current competence? 
CPD is important to people who want to advance (not everyone does) without proof of CPD it is difficult to attain promotion or acceptance onto authoritative bodies. The revalidation process is okay.
Advice & Reflection
What words of wisdom would you give someone interested in getting into your field? 
Just because the students are away all summer don’t think that academics get the same breaks – be prepared for long hours!
How important is the mentoring process in your field and to you personally? 
Very – particularly to research
How would you define “professionalism”? 
A job well done
What would you do differently if you were starting out in your career now? 
I would go to University from School
What would you like people to remember about your life as a scientist? 
My work in developing countries
Back to the results