It has been amazing to discover the variety of different samples that can be investigated by light/lasers. I have had the opportunity to explore and solve questions for a range of samples, from pharmaceuticals to traditional textiles, geological and bio-minerals to diseased tissue, and even a 100-year-old dog biscuit from Antarctica. The wide range of samples and applications has made every day interesting. It has also allowed me to meet many people with diverse backgrounds and expertise which I have found to be a particularly valuable experience. A supportive network has been an integral part of my STEM journey – my thanks goes to all those involved.