From Pool Academy student to Exeter University Associate Professor

A former Pool Academy student who now lectures at university returned to his roots to help inspire the next generation.

Associate Professor Nathan Mayne has a PhD and works in the Physics and Astronomy department of the University of Exeter. He mainly works with students within Physics but has also combined with students from the Mathematics and Natural Sciences programmes.


He recently returned to Pool Academy to speak about his journey from a Cornish secondary school to teaching at a major university.

He said: “Growing up I did not really know what a university was, nor really what a degree was. None of my family really went beyond secondary school and most did not complete secondary school itself.

“I did feel I always wanted to keep learning and when I realised what a university was, and what research was, I sort of found a home for this desire.”

He said he remembered his days at Pool Academy fondly.

“For me school represented a sanctuary where I could throw myself in to things at certain points in my life,” he said. “Most importantly, I had a good bunch of friends who made me laugh.

“I spent much of my life outside when I was growing up, either on the farm or at the beach. Some of my best memories of Pool are playing sports with friends at break times on the various fields.

“The school grounds were great, and spacious but really it was the people who made the difference and the interactions with them.”

Whilst at Pool Academy Nathan enjoyed studying the Sciences but also liked geography and PE. He also remembers playing both Basketball and Rugby.

After leaving Pool Academy Nathan went on to study A-Level Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Further Maths. He took a year out to go travelling before starting life at university.

Asked what advice he would give current Pool Academy students, he said: “Work hard, but work sensibly. If you cannot have fun, life will be boring and you will lose motivation, but if you have too much `fun' without working, opportunities will become limited and pass you by.

“My words of wisdom would be: ‘Don't Listen’. You will have people telling you, all through your life, that you can or cannot do something, and the truth is they do not know. What matters is how you behave, act and what you achieve. Your actions and choices are the major factor in determining this. Some things are outside of your control, but what is in your control can make all the difference. Just keep going.”

Christiana Richardson