Meet the Academic: Dr Donna Arnold

Senior Lecturer in Chemistry and Forensic Science, Dr Donna Arnold, answers our Meet the Staff questions

Dr Donna Arnold University of Kent

Dr Donna Arnold joined the School of Physical Sciences at the University of Kent as a Lecturer in Forensic Science in 2010. Since then, Donna has gone on to progress in her role to Senior Lecturer in Chemistry and Forensic Science.

Read on to find out what is the best part of Donna’s role, where her work has taken her globally and her proudest personal achievements.

1.What words would you use to describe yourself?

Driven and passionate.

2. What inspires you in your work?

I am inspired by knowledge and the quest to understand materials properties – research can be like collecting all the pieces of a jig-saw to make a great big picture!

3. When did you first realise your interest/passion for your role?

I have always wanted to be a scientist. Initially I wanted to go into medicine but I decided to study Chemistry at undergraduate instead. It was during this time I discovered my passion for materials chemistry.

4. What would you say was your greatest achievement?

The award of my Ph.D – the research was fun, writing the thesis was the most challenging thing I have ever done… but it was worth it in the end!

5. What would you say is the best part of your job?

Inspiring people to love materials research as much as I do.

6. Why did you choose to work at the University of Kent?

It was a new and exciting environment to take the next steps in my career.

7. What has been a personal highlight for your achievements in your work?

Continuing to peel back the layers of materials understanding for the important material, bismuth ferrite – our understanding continues to grow since the first reports in the 1960s and we continue to make important contributions in this area. This is also my biggest frustration!

8. Where is the most interesting place you have been?

I have been lucky enough to travel many places with work; USA, Mexico, Canada, Europe, Taiwan and Australia!

9. What are your proudest achievements outside of your work?

Outside work I love to see live music and NFL games (my favourite team are the Detroit Lions). I am proud that these are still family events – particularly going to concerts!

10. What has been your greatest challenge?

The greatest challenge is always balancing a love of work with hobbies and family. It is easy to become sucked in (especially to research) and lose track of time.

11. What do you like most about Canterbury?

The people I work with.

12. If you could pick anyone throughout history, to talk to, who would it be and why?

There are so many great scientists, thinkers, authors and people who have changed the path of history it is difficult to choose just one.


Thank you Donna for taking the time to chat to us. If you would like to feature in our blog, please get in touch with