Alumna Profile - Jill Cairns

Alumna Profile - Jill Cairns

What did you enjoy about your time at Aberdeen?

I made many good friends from all over the world. I studied in the School of Biological Sciences which had a very friendly atmosphere and the practical classes were fun. Often at the end of the day everyone from lecturers to lab assistants would go for a drink together.

How did your undergraduate degree help you in your chosen career?

My undergraduate career allowed me to continue my higher education with a PhD in Plant Sciences. As part of my undergraduate degree we were assisted in organising an expedition for our honours project. This experience overseas was one of the reasons I was selected for my PhD.

What have you been doing since you left University?

I stayed on at the University of Aberdeen for a PhD in Plant Sciences. My PhD involved field work in Côte d'Ivoire and Philippines. After graduation I joined The International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines initially as a postdoctoral fellow and eventually an International Research Fellow. After six years in the Philippines working on improving drought tolerance in rice I joined the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) in Mexico.

I recently transferred to CIMMYTs Southern African Regional Office in Zimbabwe where I am leading maize physiology research in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Why would you recommend the University of Aberdeen to others?

It's a great place to study – the campus is beautiful, honours classes are small and the atmosphere is friendly.