Dr Jenny Crawley
Jenny graduated from LoLo CDT in 2015 and now splits her time 50/50 as the Academic Manager for ERBE and LoLo CDTs, and as an Energy Researcher in the UCL Energy Institute, where she joined a number of LoLo alumni and staff who won awards at the CIBSE President’s Dinner (see more information here). We spoke to Jenny about her time at LoLo, and experiences of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) both as a PhD student and now as an academic.
What did you take with you from your time at LoLo into your career/post-PhD life?
In LoLo we were taught about many different disciplinary perspectives on energy and were able to rub shoulders with people using these perspectives in their own work. This is especially useful in my work now supporting PhD students using all kinds of methodologies.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced moving from a PhD into a job/career?
Within my job at UCL there are many different demands on my time, all competing. I only work four days a week due to childcare, and I have two different job roles, so I have to be quite careful what I promise to whom about what I can realistically do. This means saying no to things sometimes, which can feel mean especially if it means someone else has to pick it up.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently (or what could the CDT do differently/more of) to help you become better-equipped and ready for life after your PhD?
I spent a bit of time in my PhD building relationships with government, but did not do enough to build relationships with industry.
What was your experience of EDI within the CDT and how does it compare to your experience after moving on from the CDT?
In LoLo we had many female PhD students, whereas the energy and buildings sector was male dominated. I went on to work for a small company after my PhD, they were great, they didn’t care what you looked like, just whether you were good at your job. I had to do a presentation about micro-CHP technology as the only woman in a room of 12 or so men, and my boss said, “you should present the really technical bits, otherwise they might think you’re the tea lady”.
I think things have improved a lot in the past decades in terms of gender, but racial and ethnic equality and inclusivity still remains a major challenge – and there are both moral and business imperatives that mean this must change.