08/09/2014 08:19 BST | Updated 08/09/2014 09:59 BST

Keele University Lecturer Amy Cowles Scoops Miss Pole Dance UK Award

A university science lecturer has proved you can have both brains and brawn - after scooping a Miss Pole Dance UK prize.

Amy Cowles is so talented at the notoriously-hard activity that she was crowned winner of the semi-pro instructor category at the competitions last month - despite juggling her hobby with teaching at Keele University.

The 30-year-old from Staffordshire says she is much more confident around people since she started pole dancing.

"And then mentally it is really positive too. Socially I have seen a difference," she told the Mail Online.

"I am far more outgoing now than I used to be, both because of the physical aspects of it but also from all the friends I have made there. It's like a second home.

"I was definitely more shy before I started this. I was kind of seen as a bit of a geek because I was doing science, and while I did try to have a social life, I had to work really hard too."

Cowles now also teaches pole dancing, and hopes to win the overall professional Miss Pole Dance UK competition in October.

"It's so normal now I don't even think about it," she added. "I'm proud I pole dance and proud to say I pole dance."