Get to know Adele Walker, one of our editors on the team at Research Outreach.
Can you give us some insight into your background and how you came to be working at Research Outreach?
I’m an archaeologist by training – I learned my craft at an impressive Iron Age hillfort called Maiden Castle in Dorset. I fell in love with the magic of the place and the daily thrill of finding treasure – I’m not talking gold and jewels but uncovering a perfect drystone wall, or a piece of pottery with a thumbprint thousands of years old.
It’s made me look at the landscapes around me in a different way, always with a sense of what’s been before; plus, I have a very long-term perspective on life!
Since then, I’ve spent most of my career in publishing or communications of some kind, including a stint working in environmental science. Finding this job has been fantastic; I get to work on such varied content – some weeks I feel like I’ve done an A-level in a new subject. We have a great team and between us we produce some really engaging and accessible science writing – it’s a very satisfying process.
What’s the part of the job that brings you most satisfaction?
I’d have to say that my favourite part of the job is when researchers are delighted by their article; when they see the huge benefit of their technical academic paper being transformed into something their friends and family (or funders and policymakers) can understand, so a wider audience can appreciate the important work they do.
Despite appreciating all the new subject matter, I must admit that arts and humanities and environmental science topics are still my favourite to work on. These can be incredibly complex so there’s no shortage of learning even though these are areas I’m more familiar with.
How about outside of work?
Somehow after being completely un-sporty at school, I discovered you don’t have to be good at sport to enjoy it. I’ve ended up doing Ironman triathlons and then learning to teach swimming technique – I always have my swim kit in the car and my running shoes (you don’t want to smell the inside of my car). I live close to the Welsh border so there are plenty of hills on hand to keep the heart rate up when it’s too cold for a dip.
Fun fact about me: I’ve hitch-hiked round the world. As well as some breath-taking wilderness, our route took us through war zones, an African wildlife park, and some dodgy dead-end roads. We got lifts in ambulances, army trucks, lorries full of chickens, and with random friends of friends met in the middle of nowhere. The extreme friendliness and generosity of people in every country, some of whom had nothing, was humbling. Happily, I’ve been able to repay the favour on a few occasions and I’d recommend it as a way of travelling even these days – there’s always an adventure to be had when you put out your thumb!
An interview with Adele Walker, editorial team at Research Outreach