22 July 2022. Brought to you by Luke Richards.

Zoe Powell Best

What is your current job / programme of study? 

Material Researcher and Designer 

 Which A-Levels (or equivalent) did you do? 

Art, Maths, Spanish, Textiles 

Why you chose a career in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE)? 

I wanted to make materials that have a positive impact on the environments and work with others who are fascinated about materials 

Which degree did you do? 

After my foundation in art, I did an undergraduate degree BA in Textile Design and it was 5 years later when I started to work with material innovations, new technologies and machines that then have me the opportunity to work in MSE. 

What is your research about?  

I research materials made from 100% natural resources including food, agricultural and natural textile fibres and run projects that help students and communities who want to care for their environment as well as make awesome materials for lots of different industries.  

I work with Engineers, Scientists, Artists, Designers, Makers, Community Leaders, Writers and even people who didn’t even have the chance to do an A-Level or degree on projects about materials. 

What is the coolest thing you have done in your career so far? 

Working on a project where we 3D printed a material made from wood, eggshells and seaweed!  

I also loved travelling to other countries like Peru or Norway  to work with scientists, engineers and designers who are researching biomaterial properties and products. 

What do you see yourself doing in the future? 

Hopefully working on fun projects and encouraging others to get into Material Science, Engineering and Design! 

What is your favourite material (and why)? 

Carrageenan biopolymer (bioplastic) sheets as it hydrates very fast, you can reheat it and melt it down and when it’s dry (looks like a sheet of plastic) you can even laser cut it! 

What advice would you give your 16 year old self? 

If you are a woman, you can have a career in science or engineering. It’s not just for the boys! Also do the things that make you a little nervous. Just go for it! 

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