Sarah Bardsley

is the last girl left!

Favourite Thing: Imagining how things may be different in the future….that and sunny holidays.



Keswick School in the Lake District 1991-1996 & Reigate Sixth Form College in Surrey 1996-1998


Leeds University 1998 – 2001 I graduated with Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology

Work History:

I’ve done quite a few jobs including part-time waitressing, bar work, office temping, cleaning, fruit picking, child care and telesales. This job is still my first proper job!


Environment Agency

Current Job:

Senior Scientist

Me and my work

Crystal ball gazing

I work for the Environment Agency as an office based scientist. So no white coat, test tubes or Bunsen burners for me.  Instead, I need a desk, computer and the internet to do my job.

To give you a bit of background about the Environment Agency,  we look after the environment in England and Wales.  So, for example, we make sure factories comply with environmental laws to prevent pollution, help companies which handle waste do so responsibly and warn people when flooding is likely.

My job involves finding out about new science and technology (performed by the people in the labs) and thinking about how it could impact the environment in the future. For example, I would be interested in finding out about a new sensor because it could help the Environment Agency better monitor chemicals in rivers. Or,  I would want to hear about new climate change research  so the Environment Agency could be better prepared.   

When I gather this information up I put it in reports and send them to my colleagues who need to know about the new science and technology to help them do their jobs better.

My Typical Day

Surfing (not the watery type), reading, thinking and communicating

My job is to gather information about new science and technology. As you are undoubtedly aware there is so much information on the web.  So I use the internet and am online for a lot of the day. I look at content from newspapers, universities, companies, government sites and journals.   I store the information I collect into a database, think about what it means and then produce reports. So I can be working on writing a newsletter, short briefing for a senior member of staff or even scripting videos to show at Environment Agency events.  When they let me out of the office I can be presenting at meetings or running seminars where I invite scientists at the cutting edge to discuss their research and its implications for the environment. 

What I'd do with the money

Give it to the CAT

Well obviously I would use it to buy some banjo strings,  new windows and a small bird figurine.  Or, second choice, would be to give it to the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT).  This is an eco-centre in Wales which demonstrates practical ways we can use new technologies and techniques to reduce our impact on the environment. From the use of solar cells, to green building approaches to low energy light bulbs, CAT shows us how making small and large changes to the way we live can have really positive results.  They also run a fantastic visitors centre which lets people interact with and learn about all their working exhibits.  And they run school programmes, perfect for teaching young people like you guys all about new possibilities.  Then again that bird figurine is calling me….

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

In a rush

Who is your favourite singer or band?

DJ Shadow & Nirvana

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Diving with Grey Nurse sharks in Australia.

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

I wish I had the time (and money) to go back to University to take a degree in Textiles. I wish flying didn’t contribute to climate change. And I wish my friends all lived nearby.

What did you want to be after you left school?

Boring answer I know, but I wanted to be a scientist.

Were you ever in trouble at school?

My addiction to chewing gum got me in trouble more than a few times.

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

I wrote a report on Synthetic Biology that the Royal Society (kingpin of the scientists) thought was good. Hurrah!

Tell us a joke.

What was the biologist wearing on his first date? Designer jeans.