Callie Seaman: Agrisciences Committee and Early Careers Committee

12 Jan 2015

Callie Seaman joined SCI in 2010. She was elected as an ordinary member of the Agrisciences (former BioResources) Committee in 2012. In 2014, she was also elected to the Early Careers Committee. Callie is Director of Aqualabs Ltd.

If you want to find out more about Callie or get in touch with her, you can contact her via the Members'; Directory (you will need to sign in to view). If you need help searching the directory please click on the how-to guide below.

When and why did you become a member of SCI?
At the start of my PhD, my director of studies recommend that I attend the SCI Young Researchers in Agrisciences 2010 conference at Reading University to present some of my initial findings. After attending this friendly and successful conference I decided to become a member of the SCI and began attending events regularly.

Why did you decide to get involved in an SCI Committee?
After attending a number of conferences, where I presented winning posters and gave talks I began regularly speaking with Alan Baylis, Len Coping and David Evans I was invited to attend a committee meeting of the BioResources group (now known as Agrisciences group)where I gave a short talk. I was welcomed by the committee and made a number of contacts both academic and industrial which has helped with both my career and business.

To make a difference in this world has always been a goal of mine, and I feel that the education that SCI provides will help to bring about environmental and suitable changes in this world.

How do your SCI activities reflect your personal/professional interests?
As a formulation chemist and director of a SME (small to medium enterprise) in Sheffield, whilst studying for a PhD in fertilizer chemistry, SCI is a perfect medium to gain contacts for collaboration.

In my personal life I enjoy socialising and organising social events and gatherings. This skill has been transferable when helping to organise and network at events. 

One of my highlights from attending an SCI Event was that I won second prize in a poster competition along with having the evening reception at the Royal College of Surgeon's museum, which I found absolutely fascinating.

What has driven your continued involvement?
My continued involvement has been motivated by the friendly atmosphere whilst networking. In 2011 I was approached by Cath O'Driscoll to write an article about hydroponics for C&I magazine.

Prof Alan Heaton approached me at the Scholars Lunch in 2014 and asked me to join the Early Career Support Sub Committee. 

From a young age I have always been interested in science and want to encourage the next generation of young people, particularly young women, to get involved in industrial science.

How has being involved in SCI activities impacted on your career?     
I have been approached by a number of companies interested in employing me. In 2013 my business partner and I were approached by an investor to set up a small manufacturing and R&D facility for liquid fertilizers and I become a director of my first company

How do you think that your contribution has helped to shape your Group or SCI as a whole?
In 2012 I helped with the organisation of an event called More Crop per Drop with Peter Reineck and helped to increase the numbers of people at the events though networking.  

I presented a talk at the SCI Day of Science and Careers in 2014 and the Careers options seminar at the University of Sheffield on 'Becoming a director for the First time'. Having attended a number of the Annual general meetings I have contributed new ideas whilst attending.

By being involved on a committee, what opportunities have been presented to you which you would not have otherwise had?
As a result of being involved with the Agrisciences (formerly BioResources) committee and regularly attending events I have been invited to attend the Scholars lunches.

Forming contacts at committee meetings and events has initiated collaboration between the Sheffield Hallam university and companies such as Yara. A number of companies have also shown interest in my research.

By being a committee member I have been allowed access into esteemed buildings and met respected peers as well as being a part of a 135 year old institute.

How do you balance your SCI commitments with your job and workload?
It can sometimes be very difficult balancing my workload and having a family with SCI commitments. Luckily I own my own business and flexibility with my attending the events is a lot easier than working for a larger company. The net benefit  to my business from attending these events is greater than not attending, so my investor encourages this activity.

What is the most important lesson you have learnt by being an SCI committee member?
Patience and the determination to stand up for what you believe in. Networking is very important and job opportunities are more about who you know as opposed to what you know. 

What advice would you offer to anyone thinking about becoming involved in an SCI Group or Standing Committee?
Do it! If that is what you are interested in as there a lots of opportunities and activities to get involved in.

Learn how to say no sometimes, as you can be involved in a lot of activities.

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