Enter the maze

Lucky history

golden leaves

Not everyone sets themselves goals when young and then spends their life achieving them. Sometimes it works best to just go with the flow. The direction a career takes often depends a lot on luck rather than planning. Take Fiona Polack, a senior lecturer at York, for example. She didn't follow an obvious path to get where she is at all, though computer scientists often don't. She now specialises in engineering complex systems: an area that pulls together aspects of computer science, engineering, biology and other sciences. She started off taking geography at university though, then going on to do a PhD in history at Cambridge (not the obvious start). How on earth did she get into engineering? Well, she took a career break to have children - one boy and one girl. On returning to her career she took an MSc in information processing having got the computer bug because as she has pointed out, she happened to do her PhD "in the only 1980s history group using computers".