Skills developed through study
Linda Lunan, Astronomers of the Future, STEM Ambassador
Looking for a new direction, Linda started studying with the OU to find out whether there were any subjects she was interested in pursuing as a career. She couldn’t give up her full-time work and needed to study from home. Having decided her interests lay in astronomy and space she started to study for a degree with the OU, but unfortunately the degree subject was discontinued. Linda transferred to an Open Degree and has now incorporated geosciences with her other subjects, and hopes to complete her degree in the next few years.
Key employability skills
As a result of her experience of using online technologies with the OU Linda has set up and runs two websites: one for the company she established with her husband, Astronomers of the Future Ltd, and the other for Friends of Sighthill Stone Circle in Glasgow.
I wasn’t sure I had the skills to develop a website but by that time I was gaining confidence using the forums so I looked at starting up an online club. The OU has also introduced me to different media like Facebook and gave me an awareness of how I could use those media in my work.
Linda used the skills she gained from contributing to OU forums to develop blogs and an online ezine as a means of imparting knowledge relating to astronomy and space. She recognises that running the club via a website has generated a much larger presence than would have been achieved through a local club. Astronomers of the Future Ltd now has an international membership, and has helped promote her husband’s work as a science writer.
I found from using the OU student café different methods of communication and how that communication helps to draw people in. Having a blog has brought many more people to our websites.
I would advise other students to not just use the OU to get a degree; get more involved in using the social forums. It will help you more as a person if you get involved with everything that is offered to you.
Linda is also a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) ambassador for STEMNET, an organisation which works to inspire young people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. She’s applied some of her knowledge from her studies with the OU in her work to speak to students about astronomy and space.
The OU has opened up a totally new world for me.
Linda hopes to expand the work of Astronomers of the Future to make astronomy much more accessible. Drawing from her experience with the OU, she feels she has the confidence to take more control over the way she works and to work independently for herself.