Laura Tobin

Laura Tobin - 2015 SPIE Women in Optics Planner

Graduate Student, University College Dublin, Ireland
Country of Birth: Ireland

Educational Background: BSc (Hons), Physics; Higher Diploma, Computer Science; Postgraduate Certificate, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Laura Tobin

I have always been curious about the world around me and how everything interacts. I love to take things apart and figure out how they work and if they could be used in different ways. My fascination with science began at a young age from watching science fiction, where I would try and figure out how I could create my own light saber, hover board or TARDIS. I'm still working on it!

The first and most memorable obstacle I faced ended up being a very valuable lesson: I missed out on a place to study engineering in university, and was pretty upset and considered repeating my exams. However, I ended up studying physics and eventually realized that even though you might not take the direct or most obvious route, there are many paths and opportunities to get where you want in the end. By taking the scenic route to your goals can sometimes be more beneficial with new potential opportunities and perspectives.

Do not get deterred or downhearted when you start your PhD and read about other groups working in the same area. When I started my PhD I felt that I wouldn't be able to contribute to my research area, as other groups seemed far more advanced with their research. You just need to figure out what you can bring to the area that no one else has. There's always something you can contribute; even if it seems insignificant, it could be beneficial for someone else in a different area. Studying a STEM subject gives you the knowledge and opportunity to learn a broad range of skills that can be used in a variety of ways, both in your personal and professional life.