Holly undertook a six week project at the School of Physics at the University of Edinburgh with Alan Walker and Peter Reid (her supervisors) in the summer of 2006. Her project was entitled 'Cosmic Rain: Investigating Particles from Space'.
During the summer holidays between finishing school and starting at the University of St Andrews she undertook the six-week internship with Agilent Technologies Inc. that she had been awarded at the Intel ISEF.
After completing her project, she self-nominated herself for the 2007 BA CREST Fair and was awarded a place in the Gold Category. As a result of winning the first prize at the fair, Holly was awarded a place to represent the UK at the Intel ISEF in Albuquerque, May 2007.
At the Intel ISEF, Holly won First Place in the Physics and Astronomy category (a prize which consisted of $3000 and the honour of having a near-earth asteroid named after her by Lincoln Laboratories, MIT), a paid internship with Agilent Technologies Inc. and a Certificate of Honourable Merit from the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Physical Society.
After returning from Albuquerque, she was lucky enough to be able to visit CERN with a group from the University of Edinburgh. They were given tours of all 4 of the detectors in the newly built LHC (Large Hadron Collider) and were some of the last people allowed into the tunnel of the LHC before the site was totally closed to the public.
As a result of her success in the Intel ISEF, she was invited to speak on a panel of “Women in Science” at the 12th Intel EMEA Academic Forum in Budapest in June. This was a great chance to speak about the opportunities that women have in modern science and recount her experiences so far as a female physicist.
She worked with the marketing team, carrying out research into the future of mobile broadband. This was great as she gained an understanding of near-future technologies like mobile WiMAX, Ultra Low Power Bluetooth and 4G wireless communications whilst enjoying the perks of working for a huge American company – like the free gym to work off Friday’s free doughnuts!
Just before she moved to St Andrews to continue to study physics, she discovered that she had been awarded the University of St Andrews Physics and Astronomy Scholarship, which was certainly a good start for her first year at uni!