Emma Jayne Rozgowska
Emma Jayne took both her Chemistry masters and PhD at Edinburgh, particularly enjoying the collaborative work of the latter. She tell us how an initial career in teaching and starting a family has led to to a new life as owner of a skincare company.
Emma Jayne Rozgowska
Chemistry (MChem, PhD)
|Year of graduation||2006, 2010|
Your time at the University
When I first arrived in Edinburgh for a university visit, I knew it was the place where I was meant to be. The city and university seemed to have a pulse that I just wanted to be a part of. Chemistry was always my favourite subject at school, and to me it just made sense to study what I loved. The School of Chemistry at Edinburgh felt like a friendly, supportive and encouraging place to be from the get-go – lectures were always interesting, labs well thought out and the demonstrators great at explaining the finer practical points of the experiments. The city is a fantastic place to be a student as there was always so much going on and new places to discover. The festival was always a highlight, and the Pentland hills provided a peaceful break from the hustle.
It was my time as a postgraduate that will always be the time I will remember most fondly though. I feel as if I thrived in the research environment, with wonderful group members and the absolute best supervisor – Professor McNab was truly one of the greatest. I discovered how capable I really could be, learned the power of self-motivation and found a love of teaching by becoming a demonstrator myself in the organic teaching labs. It was also during this time I met the man that was to become my husband – it was love across the corridor! As I didn’t study at a different university for my postgraduate I have no others to compare to, but I found the School of Chemistry to be a wonderfully nurturing, supportive and encouraging place. There was always someone to help you, guide you and keep you going, and I will always look back on my time there as a defining period of my life in the best possible way.
Your experiences since leaving the University
The years since leaving university have weaved a varied path for me! I took a role as a Lab Systems Analyst with MSD as I wrote my thesis and planned my next steps. I decided that my time demonstrating had shown me I had a talent for teaching, so I moved to Sheffield with my now husband to complete my PGCE at the University of Sheffield. I taught secondary school chemistry for nine years and loved it. Sharing a passion for your subject and enthusing and teaching others in that subject is the best feeling in the world. The students make every day different, and it is their respect and energy that keep you going through the tough days.
After a lot of personal twists and the birth of our son, I decided to take a step back from teaching as to do it well I felt I had to commit more of myself that I had to spare. This precipitated a totally new career and direction for me. For many years I had been making my own skincare products, as with a chemistry background and some research, I had taught myself the basics for formulation and had developed products that truly worked for my skin. My friends had then asked to try them, loved them, and resulted in me starting my own skincare company, Minimum. It has been a challenge to start during a global pandemic, but nothing worth getting is easy! The company continues to grow business and it is such a joy to hear that people are finding the products are helping improve their skin. It has also allowed me the chance to spend plenty of quality time with my son before he reaches school age, which was the whole point of stepping away from teaching. As a family we have never been happier.
Work hard. Believe you can. Listen to your inner voice as it is wiser than you think. Ask for help when you need it – it is not weak to need help, it is weak to not admit that you need the help.