An interview with Craig Poku

Name: Dr Craig Poku

Current Job: Postdoctoral Researcher

Scientific Discipline/Field: Atmospheric and Climate Sciences

Country: United Kingdom

Pick some letters (L,G,B,T,Q,+, etc.): GBQ (I’m an interesting individual)

Twitter or other social media handle: @c_poku93

 

What does your job involve?

The first part of my research investigates how to improve fog modelling and forecasting over Northern India. In particular, I look at how aerosol representation (small airborne particles) may be important for different stages of the fog life cycle. The second part investigates how a more personalised approached in communication strategy can get people to advocate for climate change more. This second part is very “work in progress”.

 

How did you get to this job (education etc.)?

I have a BSc in Mathematics, a PhD in Atmospheric Sciences and enjoy talking! Which as a combo and the right timing landed me in the position that I’m in now.

 

Do you feel being LGBT has affected your career decisions?

I’ve found that subconsciously, I’m less likely to look at positions that are based in small/rural areas. This is a combination of being both black and queer. Although this has limited my options, I’d rather be in a location that I am comfortable in and not always on the edge that something negative may happen.

 

Have you had any reactions from colleagues about being LGBT, either good or bad?

Fortunately, I’ve had none from my colleagues in my current workplace. However, I did have issues with a colleague in a previous job that I was in (this was when I wasn’t fully out at work).

 

Did you have any role models growing up (LGBT, STEM, totally unrelated.)?

Probably my chemistry teacher Dr Tessa Bennett. She was the first person I personally knew who had a PhD and was black, so it showed me that it was possible to consider research as a pathway. In terms of LGBTQ+ role models in STEM, I can’t recall any but that was probably due to the media representation of LGBTQ+ people being poor when I was growing up.

 

What are your plans for the future?

Although I enjoy research, I want to move down the science communications route. In an ideal world, there would be a research element to it, however, I love the idea of getting people to care about science. Most recently, I have focused on ways that we can improve representation in STEM subjects, and this is something I’d like to do more of in my career.

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