Jack Nunn (LGS 2004)
Founder and Director
Company: Science for All and Public Health Research at La Trobe University
Industry Sector: Healthcare / Science
A Levels: English, Music, Biology, General Studies
Grades Achieved: AABB
University: University of Birmingham
Degree Course: English with Music
Jack Nunn is a public health researcher, PhD candidate, musician and founder and Director of the education organisation ‘Science for All’.
My time at the Loughborough Schools Foundation
I am immensely grateful to all the people who contributed to my education, mostly to those who taught me to question everything. The 6th form was a particularly wonderful time for me. We were all young adults, there by choice (in those days!) and given the freedom and support to explore a huge range of opportunities. I remember at the time feeling so grateful for all the things I could do in one day – starting a day playing cello in a string quartet in the shared music school (with two superb violinists who both went on to be professionals!), discussing literature and music in the morning and then learning about the fast-developing field of genetics after a fantastic lunch (which I still miss to this day). The teachers who were most able to keep the flame of enquiry alive in me and others – as well as fulfilling the curriculum – are the ones I still cherish most deeply. These were very happy moments.
I quickly realised the opportunities I’d have at University would dwarf every other stage of my life and it’s fair to say I probably spent more time at Uni doing ‘extra-curricular’ activities than work – which I’ve never regretted. I joined the RAF University Air Squadron and learned to be a pilot, found a life-long passion for scuba diving, started a literary magazine, played gigs in bands, had a radio show, wrote articles for the newspaper and music for concerts. University is a unique point in your life – get involved! I studied English with Music and enjoyed it very much, although a word of warning to the creative – don’t assume your individual creative voice will be nurtured at University – it’s often a battlefield of opposing views and aesthetics and the undergrad can be caught in the crossfire – respect and nurture your own creative flame, don’t expect anyone else to.
"I remember at the time feeling so grateful for all the things I could do in one day."
My first job after University was in Leicester working for the Prince’s Trust – it involved training and managing volunteers to work with people in care and ex-offenders. l loved running courses and this educational thread was picked up later in my career. Meanwhile I was travelling to London regularly to work as a studio assistant for Felix Buxton and Basement Jaxx. After working for a year, I travelled for a life-changing few months (and down-under I met my wife to be!). I got a job working for Macmillan Cancer Support in London, playing to my strength of writing and running courses and training. My work was recognised by the National Institute for Health Research and I successfully implemented a quality assured facilitator training programme across three countries which trained the public and researchers in how to work together to build partnerships. I made it all open access and worked across health conditions, trying to get condition specific charities to start sharing more resources. It is this expertise I’m now using to inform my work as Director of the education organisation I have founded called ‘Science for All’.
After five years in London, my Australian partner and I moved to Melbourne, Australia. I was able to build on my work in the UK which led me to working at the Department of Public Health at La Trobe University – where I’m now doing a PhD asking how we can involve people in genomic research, by applying the principles of democracy and human rights. My English degree comes in very useful when exploring the language of public health communication! During the first year of my PhD I also released my first album ‘Blue Sun’ – (with proceeds from this album going to the charity ‘Cardiac Risk in the Young’) and started the project ‘Campfires and Science’. We work with schools and other community organisations to run events where we take people into nature and teach them how to do research, how to ask questions and share knowledge. At the moment we’re using eDNA to look at what critically endangered animals are living in forests, in order to help inform where the government should not allow logging. My PhD in public health genomics, founding ‘Science for All’ and my music all represent a fusion of many areas of my life, each strand of my life is equally important; with each strand carefully nurtured while at the Loughborough Schools Foundation.
I’m excited to see the Loughborough Schools Foundation now creating co-educational opportunities and I look forward to seeing how the schools continue to uphold and promote equality.
"Campfires and Science works with schools and other community organisations to run events where we take people into nature and teach them how to do research, how to ask questions and share knowledge."
Job Search Tips
Follow your heart and your passion, everything else will follow.
Current Needs of Employers in my field
Creativity is required in any career, and it is fueled by passion and enthusiasm. The ability to synthesize and generate new ideas will always be a useful skill.
Things I wish I’d known in Sixth Form
Beware of anyone who tells you have to follow any one path. There is no ‘one career’ any more – and it doesn’t have to be linear. You can do multiple things at once.
Similarly, I’d urge any individual in the education system to always gently question the purpose of their education – yes the qualifications are useful, but is it at the expense of free enquiry? Qualifications do open doors, but they are a means not an end – and often you can open doors to the best opportunities in your life just by being enthusiastic, passionate and genuine. If you’re not sure what to do – save up and travel – even if you never quite know what it is you wanted to do, when you’re older you’ll be grateful you travelled.
Make time to ask the deeper questions of yourself while you’re young. If you follow your heart and your passion, everything else will follow.
Describe LGS in three words