Rachel Gardner

Teacher of Physics and Science at Lasswade High School Centre

BSc(hons) Physics with Environmental Science (2006 - 2010)

As a secondary school science teacher, my experiences at Heriot-Watt have served as an excellent foundation, both in terms of the critical and scientific literacy it instilled in me but also in terms of the variety of social environments I encountered. The Student Union along with the wealth of clubs, sports and other activities offered at the University brings together students from across different academic disciplines, nations and interests and you can even find yourself doing an activity you may never have known existed before!

 This grounded my personality and exposed me to so many different lifestyles, cultures and modes of thinking that have been so useful to carry with me into the classroom as a teacher. Keeping an open mind and broad perspective is essential when working with our young people in schools today and thankfully, HWU really opened me up to that.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences courses offered at HWU are world renowned in terms of their high quality and up-to-date thinking and are delivered by true industry greats- a fact which has certainly put me in good stead first of all when applying to teacher training courses, and secondly applying for teaching jobs.

I remember the courses being challenging, relevant, applications-led and most of all stimulating, nurturing a real love for the subject which I now try to cultivate in others.

Graduating in Physics is something that sets you apart from other graduate candidates for sure, but graduating from HWU really is the icing on the cake. HWU is such a well-known and well respected institution, it can open doors in terms of what you want to do after you have graduated be that further study, research or industry. I know that if I had not had the opportunity to study in such an amazing place, with support from such a fantastic faculty, I would not have been able to move my career forward in the way I wanted to at all.

Finally, the support you receive from HWU does not end the minute you receive that magic piece of paper at the end of 4 years hard work-I still have contact with members of the faculty. From asking a Professor to deliver a lecture to my physics students, to developing question banks and projects with a Research Graduate, these connections are a valuable way to develop your skills and career potential and I look forward to working with the department well into my career!