Biochemistry and Genetics alumni from University of Leeds

Ahrani Logan

Why did you choose to come to Leeds to study and what did you enjoy? 

It had one of the best courses for Biological Sciences in the UK and I enjoyed meeting lots of people with similar interests in science. And lectures!

What were the highlights and greatest challenges of the course?

One highlight was the two week section on Neuroscience was stand-out for me. So much so that I chose to do a Masters degree in Neuroscience as a postgrad at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London.

I was not as big a fan of the inorganic and organic chemistry. The practicals and learning the formula were a bit of a challenge!

What have you been doing since finishing your studies?

Since leaving Leeds, I went on to study an MSc in Neuroscience at The Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. I then decided that science communication was more my thing. I worked at a children’s science museum called Eureka! in Halifax. It was the first hands-on children’s science museum of it’s kind in Europe, at the time.

I did a stint with local radio and then went on to gain experience at Nickelodeon and The Children’s Channel (TCC). My big break came soon after when the deputy editor for BBC 1’s flagship science show, “Tomorrow’s World” rang me up and asked me to come down from Yorkshire, to London. The rest as they say is history! I went on to work for a number of programmes both science and non-science within the BBC and for all major channels. I am a TV Producer and content creator.

I have now co-founded an ed-tech company in 2015 called Peapodicity. We are a creative tech studio creating STEM and STEAM content for 3 to 10 year olds. We won a nationwide appathon contest run by UCL called the Rosalind Franklin Appathon. There were 68 entries, 6 finalists and we won! The challenge was to develop an app to empower women in STEMM (extra M = Medicine). We pitched a game for children aged 7+ that involves problem solving and critical thinking to raise awareness of female STEMM role models. The app is called AMazing STEMM Trailblazers and will be available to purchase from the app store from late 2016, for the price of a cup of coffee! A website version will be made available to schools as an educational resource. We are currently in talks with STEMNET, for which I am a STEM Ambassador, to integrate the app into their after school STEM Clubs.

I feel honoured that I was asked to be a Mentor for the School of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds. And a mentor for King’s College London. I really enjoy mentoring for the University and look forward to continuing in the coming years.

What experiences at Leeds do you think have helped with your career?

Gaining a degree in Biochemistry-Genetics at Leeds has definitely helped shape and steer the course of the work that I embarked upon. I enjoy science and love to communicate it. Having that first hand knowledge and practical experience of being a scientist in a university setting, during the course, has given me the confidence, direct knowledge and passion to communicate science further!

Clearly having a degree in the sciences was hugely beneficial to open a door to the BBC Science department, who seem to value specialised degrees to ensure quality programme output. It is important to be confident in the sciences when speaking with practicing scientists. One, as a point of common interest but two, as a point of understanding. My jobs, and particularly my role now, have been and is very much about translating complex scientific concepts into easily understandable and digestible bite-size chunks. This opens science up to people who have not studied it or are yet to study it (children) and is very important in broadening engagement. After all science is All around us!

What advice would you offer to prospective students considering undertaing a degree at Leeds?

Enjoy it! The time goes surprisingly quickly and it is very much Work Hard, Play Hard!