Professor Lucy Carpenter
Lucy Carpenter has worked in the Department since 2000, was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2006 then Chair in 2009 and is now Head of Physical Chemistry. She is an Atmospheric Chemist, specializing in the chemistry of the clean marine atmosphere and in natural emissions of volatile organic compounds.
"I have had two periods of maternity leave lasting 5 and 6 months for Josie (10) and Finlay (nearly 7). As anyone who has been through it knows, returning to work after maternity leave is highly emotional and stressful! The Department was very supportive in allowing me to return half time for the first few months, which really helped. I moved back to full-time for a while with Josie, but quickly realized that was not going to work well for us! Life became easier after a working move to 4 days a week and a house move from Leeds to York. Maternity leave for Finlay was much easier partly because my husband Ally Lewis had joined the Department.
Soon after returning to work in 2006, I was awarded a grant to examine atmospheric processes in the Canadian Arctic. All well and good, but it meant leaving the children behind in early 2008 (ages 2 and 6) for 3 weeks to lead a field experiment. In the end, both I - and more importantly they - did absolutely fine.
Once the children had started school, I reduced hours but over 5 days a week so I can leave early 3 days per week to pick them up after school. I feel fortunate that having a flexible job has meant I've spent maximum time with them whilst attempting (not often succeeding) in trying to keep on top of things at work. The Department also supported my career, helping me with promotion even when working part-time."