• Jess

Where country meets science!

Hi, I’m Jess and I have decided to start a blog! I think it is so important to engage with the public about the industries I’m a part of and I have been wanting to start a blog for some time, but I never really knew what I wanted to say. After 10 days off work (which I’m ashamed to say is the longest holiday I’ve had in 2 years) I decided that with a refreshed mind I should finally bite the bullet.

I’ll be honest, I have no idea where I plan to take this blog, but at present this is a place for anyone with an interest in animal science, farming and field sports. Where country meets science!

I want to talk about my experiences as a young woman in science, field sports and farming, the challenges I have faced, the opportunities that have arisen, and some of my day-to-day life. I’ll also be sharing my STEM journey from NC to PhD. Some subjects may be more serious than others, but this will not be a place for politics or preaching. I will be transparent and honest about my beliefs or opinions where appropriate, and will not share false information, only facts – like a true scientist!

So my plan is to post fortnightly. I'll try to balance the posts out between animal/ag science, farming, field sports and PhD life/STEM journey. There may be some additional posts in between if I have time!

Feel free to get in touch with any suggestions or questions! And subscribe to receive updates on my future posts. Follow me on Instagram (@welliesoverheels) & Twitter (@irelandhughes).

To end my very first post, here are 10 facts about me to get to know the girl behind the page!

1. I’m from the rainy southwest of Scotland and live with my parents and our two dogs – a German shorthaired pointer cross called Gemma and a cocker spaniel called Duke. Until recently we had another GSP called Hans (the big black and white dog) but he sadly passed away due to a tumour in his spine.

2. I’ve always been interested in animal health and previously wanted to become a vet. I didn’t have the grades to get into vet school, so I studied animal nursing for one year with the aim of becoming a vet nurse. Then I decided that I wanted a more scientific career, though I still wanted to work with animals, so this led me to study agricultural bioscience instead.

3. Duke is my first dog I’ve owned by myself, he’s 7 months old and an absolute nutter! I’m training him to work on the pheasant shoot.

4. I’ve grown up with my dad going deer stalking and although I’ve always been interested, it wasn’t until I was in my early teens that I started regularly going out deer stalking with him and also to a pheasant shoot every winter. I joined the Aberystwyth University clay pigeon shooting club during my master’s year and travelled around the country competing in the team.

5. About 2/3 years ago I found out I have a gluten intolerance, and about 1 year later discovered I’m also lactose intolerant. Luckily, I can eat small amounts of gluten & dairy and still be ok, but it is soul destroying as I love bread and cheese.

6. I studied at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and graduated with a 2.1 in Agricultural bioscience, then went to Aberystwyth University in Wales (pictured below) to study a master’s degree in Livestock science and graduated with a 2.1. I’m now in the second year of my PhD at SRUC and University of Glasgow.

7. I can’t swim. I had lessons when I was younger but then never went into a pool again for a few years, so I lost any abilities I had! One day I will go for swimming lessons and learn properly.

8. Until I went to university, I had no experience working on a farm. I gained a lot of experience during the second and third years of my degree working on my boyfriend’s sheep farm and a number of other farms throughout the country.

I've worked on the farm for the last 6 years as much as I could, especially during lambing as it is my favourite time of year on the farm!

9. I have arachnophobia and get cold sweats when I see a spider and will cry and/or scream depending on the size & where I have come across it! I’ll avoid places in the house that I have previously seen spiders – I’m pretty dramatic. I also have an irrational fear of velvet & dry hands. I feel sick and my whole body erupts in goosebumps if I rub my hands together when they are dry or if I touch velvet. One of my friends found this hilarious and googled it, and it turns out it has a name – haptodysphoria!

10. I’m a hoarder of clothes. I once counted almost 60 pairs of shoes/boots/heels in my wardrobe. I had 5 pairs of wellies at one point!! My problem is, I just can’t throw anything out unless it’s falling apart because I always need old clothes for when I’m out with the dogs or on the farm! I avoid buying ‘fast fashion’ items and try to buy things that will last and not date.


I hope that gives you enough of an introduction to me! Don't forget to subscribe to receive updates on future posts!

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