I gained my PhD in Conservation Genetics from the University of Edinburgh in 1999. Whilst doing so, I worked in youth work in Wester Hailes and community forestry for the Central Scotland Forest. I then began a secondary biology teaching career after completing my PGCE at the University of Strathclyde. I completed my probation at the English College in Prague and before settling down at Portobello High School. I then took up a lecturership in Education at the University of Stirling for a couple of years before going back to the school classroom to teach at the Royal High School, Knox Academy and latterly, Dunbar Grammar.