I am Sara (she/her) a plant (functional) ecologist and PhD student at the University of Oxford. I split my time between the Zoology Department in the SalGo Team and the Plant Ecology Lab in the Plant Sciences Department.
I am interested in questions like: How will climate change-driven droughts affect UK grassland communities? Can we use functional traits as a shortcut to understanding plant community under environmental change? Is there a uniform definition of a (functional) trait?
When I am not at my desk or in the field trying to answer those questions, I am running my Black British Biology Project, a photography project: Human Nature Stories and coordinating a documentary film project called Bananageddon. I am also an advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion in science. I am the co-founder of the BIPOC STEM Network at Oxford University, member of the British Ecology Society BAME Ecologist Network and have written about and facilitated discussions on decolonising science.
Sara talks about:
Not getting any support in school
Not having enough UCAS points to get into university at first. Taking a year out before going to university and loving it
Interdisciplinary thinking and bringing different concepts together in science
Co-morbid neurodiversity & overlap between dyslexia and autism, leading to strength in detail and holistic thinking
Women getting diagnosed late for autism
Needing different minds to face the challenges of tomorrow
“At school I was slow, sometimes labelled as a bit lazy. Kind of like you try hard but are not getting the results. [...] After being diagnosed I realised I wasn’t stupid or lazy, I just learnt in a different way. To be kinder to myself and realise it’s not wrong, just different.”
“I love detail and I will be drawn to details in the bark for example and make structures from things I see but then I will also scroll up and see the bigger picture of how things relate. So my brain is kind of like a map, seeing things in detail and then how they relate to the bigger picture.”
“Autism spectrum disorder. I don’t like the word disorderd. My brain is not disordered, it’s just wired differently.”