Nottingham, United Kingdom
Postdoctoral Research Assistant
University of Reading
Briefly describe your daily job duties.
The project I am currently working on is focused on developing and testing a mobile app to support people who stutter. I feel very grateful to do research into stuttering and particularly into new ways that we can support the stuttering community around the world. My day is normally spent reading research conducted in various different areas, planning and organizing our next research study, and talking to people who stutter about their day-to-day lives and experiences.
As a person who stutters, share the most challenging part of your job.
I have daily meetings over video calls but they aren’t too much of a problem now, I have become accustomed to them after my time as part of the hosting team at Stutter Social. I think the most challenging part of my job is thinking of ways that we can support people who stutter in the present, whilst working to breakdown barriers so that stuttering won’t hold people back in the future.
What are your long-term career aspirations?
For many years I taught English as a foreign language and I would love to return to teaching again, particularly to support students who stutter. My dream is to work in some kind of super lab that combines stuttering research, activism, support, and teaching!
Did you self-disclose your stuttering during the job hiring process?
In lots of ways, stuttering is an advantage for me at this point in my life; I work with many other people who stutter and we talk about it openly on a daily basis. Whenever I meet anyone new I am also very open about stuttering, it is never a problem. I let people know my name, my position, that I stutter and that it’s no problem. I am aware some people have had no contact before with people who stutter, or don’t know how to respond to stuttering, so I feel a responsibility to let people know that this is how I speak and that it’s ok.
Describe how stuttering makes you a better, more valued contributor at work.
My stuttering is a valuable aspect of my contribution at work, it allows me to offer personal, lived insight and to connect with others who also stutter. It has also taught me that communication is not always straightforward, but that patience and respect go a long way to helping others (whether they stutter or not) to feel comfortable.
What’s your best advice for people who stutter just entering the workplace and for those in a career striving to achieve greater success?
I would encourage people to be open about their stuttering, it can be difficult but by doing so you demonstrate leadership, integrity, and resilience, all of which are valuable characteristics in any working environment. My feeling is that people who stutter enrich workplaces and if we can be open about our stuttering we help to foster an atmosphere in which others can be open and vulnerable too.