Julie's love of chemistry started from her inspirational parents, she carried out simple experiments with Dad (in the shed) and Mum (in the kitchen). Julie was attracted to colour, especially when cooking her home grown purple runner beans; the water became purple and the beans turned green! Poor local schooling meant her career route progressed by studying part-time for qualifications whilst working in the chemical industry which led her onto a full-time degree at Queen Mary College, London.
After graduation in her technical role, Julie found she had the ability to teach others. She trained part-time as a teacher and moved to Sheffield to teach in Further Education. Julie enjoyed vocational and academic teaching, guiding students onto their future careers in industry or university. Her own education progressed by studying part-time for a PhD at Sheffield University. In 2007 she moved into higher education, teaching laboratory chemistry to undergraduates. An unexpected opportunity arose in 2011 where she was offered the chance to design a laboratory programme for their (3+1) BSc and deliver it at Nanjing University of Technology in China.
Following a successful development, Julie spends 12 weeks a year teaching in Nanjing. She was awarded the prestigious Senate Award by the University for Sustained Excellence in Learning and Teaching on this successful programme in 2017. Since 1987 Julie has carried out voluntary outreach work for the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) to inspire students and the public with her love of chemistry. She was honoured to receive an RSC award for her outreach work locally, nationally and internationally; they described Julie as an “inspirational chemist”.
The best part of Julie’s teaching is being able to develop students into competent practical chemists and guide their career progression. She enjoys supporting and training NJTech, Sheffield staff, Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) and values the importance of sharing and gaining experiences at conferences through networking and publications. Julie manages the University’s successful MChem Industry Year programme, their GTAs and Department’s outreach programme. She publicises chemistry with her own “Perkins Purple” lecture around the globe, through outreach activities and her RSC work.