I first heard about gravitational waves in a second year optics class during my undergraduate degree at Lancaster University, UK. A very enthusiastic lecturer told the class about interferometers and how there was an experiment in Germany (GEO 600) trying to detect the collisions of black holes and neutron stars. This immediately captured my imagination, and I was soon searching the internet for anything I could find; LIGO soon came on to my radar. For my final year at Lancaster I approached my future General Relativity professor, and asked him if he would consider creating a new Master’s project and advising on the theory of gravitational waves. I am indebted to Dr Burton for agreeing, and since then I have never looked back!
I went to Cardiff University, UK to complete my PhD in the field of gravitational waves where I became a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC). 7 years since joining the gravitational wave community I have worked in many areas of the LSC, from electromagnetic counterparts of gravitational wave events to characterising the Advanced LIGO detectors. This is a very exciting time to be part of the team which searches for gravitational waves.