Education and career
Karel has an MSci in Astrophysics from the Queen Mary University of London (2018) and is currently an astrophysics PhD student at the University of Nottingham.
What are your career goals?
I want a researcher job that combines research (without lecturing or presentations) and my EDI work but also offers stability. I also want it to be long term/tenure. This is obviously an absolute dream though.
Tell us about a pivotal moment in your career
The first time I applied for a PhD really stands out for me as it was around this time I first realised the problem with race in STEM [I was unsuccessful lol]. It was the point where everything came together and I realised that there is institutionalised racism in STEM.
Is/Are there individual(s)/organisations that have particularly impacted where you are today?
I've had a lot of help from friends in the field but there have not been any specific organisations that have helped me - this being the main point that fueled me to essentially make my own help [www.poc2.co.uk]. I literally had to make the help I needed.
Outside of your scientific career, what are your interests, hobbies and aims?
I do a few things to get my mind off science and relax. Mostly gaming and going to the gym (after years of stress-induced neglect thanks to my degree my body is collapsing). I really enjoy farming games like Stardew Valley and I've got my eyes on Ooblets, but I've put several hundred hours into Pokemon and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Reading is also great, I read almost exclusively fiction and its great. I've also joined my universities archery club. Other than to generally lose weight/become healthier I don't have any goals - I think it's important not to quantify every single part of your life.
Why did you join the Black Women in Science Network?
I am a black woman in science and there aren't enough of us around. I need the network as much as I want to change things for the better.
What advice would you give to other black women in science?
Science is not objective or apolitical. Everything made by humans has biases and the only science we're taught was decided by cishet white men in places of privilege. Science existed and continues to exist outside of ancient Greece and Europe. Go look for it [www.poc2.co.uk] and it'll help make things better. If you're not having a good time you're not crazy. You're occupying a place that wasn't built for you.