Meet Our Staff

The Oxford Trust’s full and part-time employees work across our innovation and STEM education and engagement programmes. Select individual profiles to find out more about our team.

Steve Burgess

CEO

Steve Burgess, CEO

I joined the Trust as CEO in September 2013 so already over eight years! The CEO works with the board of trustees to set, and then implement, the strategic direction and culture of the Trust. The charity is very much like any other business but without shareholders to pay – all funds are reinvested in projects and programmes that support the core mission. In our case to encourage the pursuit of science and enterprise. Ultimately ‘the buck stops’ at the CEO but it wouldn’t be possible to function without a strong, skilled senior management team and committed staff.

Ensuring that our two innovation centres perform optimally is crucial to the success of both our start-up enterprise support initiatives and of course the varied Science Oxford STEM education programmes. We are always balancing what we want to do in an ideal world with available funds!

The Trust is involved in many different projects across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire but the most exciting and also challenging one has been the building of our new Science Oxford Centre and adjoining Wood Centre for Innovation in Headington. This is by far the largest project the Trust has initiated, costing many millions of pounds, so it is crucial we get it right. We are always balancing what we want to do in an ideal world with available funds!

Science and innovation have always been a part of my professional life so being able to be at the centre of an organisation that really makes a difference to young people and young companies is an incredible honour. I work closely with our Chair of Trustees and other board members, who themselves have immense experience so am still constantly learning new things! In the end, it is about looking at all the fabulous programmes that our staff develop and deliver, or the growth of small innovative business coming through our innovation centre, and realising that the world might just be a little better place through what we are contributing.

Immediately before the Trust, I was the Development Director at Cheltenham Festivals – the arts and science festivals group not the horsey one! This certainly allowed me to explore many different aspects of science education and public engagement which has been invaluable. Prior to this, I had a long corporate career in the pharmaceutical and chemicals industry mainly with the German company Merck KGaA, which involved senior level positions in North America and the UK. I am an industrial chemist by training but moved from the bench into sales and marketing very early on in my career.

Whilst work-related activities take up a considerable amount of time, there is still space for doing other things! My wife and I have two grown-up children, both doing extremely well in IT-related careers, so we spend our leisure time walking with our dogs Toby (Cavachon) and Sam (Labrador), spending time with friends, travelling when we can and, living in the Cotswolds, enjoying the beautiful countryside around us.

Georgina Matthews

Director of Communications

Georgina Matthews, Director of Communications

I was appointed Director of Communications for the Trust in January 2020, just a few months before the COVID pandemic hit the UK. My first year in post was challenging with the constant opening and closing of our programmes and centres – and adjusting to a brave new world. The challenge now is to ensure our innovation and education & public engagement programmes bounce back and marketing and communications is key! We want to see our innovation centres full of exciting science and tech businesses and ensure our Science Oxford programmes are busy inspiring the next generation of scientists and innovators. What I like about my role is that it’s incredibly varied – one day I can be making a film about the Science Oxford Centre and the next interviewing the founder of one of our science & tech businesses about their innovative ideas.

Way back, I used to write and edit travel guides and ran my own travel guide production company, appropriately called Departure Lounge. But since moving to Oxford, I’ve lead on marketing and communications for several small local charities and social enterprises, including the Low Carbon Hub, Ethex and the Children’s Society. I also use my professional experience in my voluntary work. In 2017, I set up a community benefit society with three others to save our village pub, The Abingdon Arms in Beckley. We raised £350,000 from 300 local investors and now have a thriving community-owned pub! In 2019, I started a new organisation called Refill Oxford to reduce the use of single-use plastic water bottles. Thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers (including some TOT staff), there is now a network of over 130 Refill “stations” all over the city in cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, museums, community centres and even hairdressers, where anyone can fill up their water bottle for free, rather than buying a new one. Outlets display a blue-branded Refill sticker on their door or window and are all mapped on the free Refill app so that you can easily find your nearest Refill point.

I‘m a mum of twins who are now studying at university. My passions are walking on Otmoor, our local RSPB reserve, travelling and – I never thought I’d say this – gardening.

Head and shoulder photo of Nicki Campling

Nicki Campling

Director of Innovation & Operations

Nicki Campling, Director of Innovation & Operations

I was appointed Director of Innovation & Operations on the 7th of August 2023. I have had the pleasure of working with the Trust previously in a partnership capacity, when launching the Barclays Eagle Lab at the Wood Centre for Innovation. This was a particularly challenging time as it was amidst the Covid pandemic. However, I was still able to develop and build an extensive ecosystem network, albeit not in the traditional face to face way.

I have had a diverse career to date with many years spent in the financial industry, working with both business and personal sectors, in addition to travel and sales & development roles. During this time, I have always had a passion for the innovation sector and have been privileged to work with start-ups and entrepreneurs across Thames Valley. This has provided me with extensive knowledge and a vast network within the ecosystem.

One of my biggest core values is about adding value and making a difference and feel that this aligns perfectly with the Trust’s mission. I believe that fostering science and innovation will be key to the future success and potential saving of the world as we know it – a bold statement, I know, however, one to think about….

My role is incredibly varied, and this is one of the things I love most, as no two days are the same, and new, agile projects and developments are never very far away. I am really looking forward to becoming an integral part of the team and cannot wait to get started!

I am a mum of three grown-up children and a five-month-old Labrador puppy, who keeps me busy and accompanies me on country walks, one of my favourite pastimes. I also love to travel and explore new places.

 

Jane Braddock

Head of Finance and Administration

Jane Braddock, Head of Finance and Administration

I joined the Oxford Trust in 2009 and been in my current role for the last six years. I am responsible for all the finance tasks of the Trust: from running payroll, banking, invoicing, forecasting, preparing monthly management accounts to arranging VAT returns, organising yearend accounts for audit and many others. On top of this busy schedule, I also look after the day-to-day accounting of our two partner companies: Venturefest Oxford Ltd and Advanced Oxford CIC. As Head of Finance & Administration, I am also responsible for the Trust’s general admin, IT and HR matters with the support of our Office Manager, external IT consultant and HR advisor.

I have more than 17 years’ experience in small business accounting, having been a full member of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) since 2009 and a Fellow member since 2015. I was also awarded Diploma in Management Accounting by Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) in 2010.

Before my finance career, I worked in the field of international sales and marketing. After gaining BA in English from Peking University and MA in Business from University of International Business and Economics (Beijing, China), I worked as a business agent for a British company, then a French group of companies, promoting their industrial consumer goods in the Chinese market. I have also worked for a state scientific institute in China, working as an editor and translator for industrial scientific publications.

Andrew Kensley

Deputy Director of Science Education

Andrew Kensley, Deputy Director of Science Education

I’m responsible for the team who go into schools across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire to deliver our Science Oxford outreach programme. In primary schools, we present amazing science shows and workshops, run Continuing Professional Development or CPD for teachers, science competitions and events, support schools with kit loan and advice to enhance their science teaching and generally get children excited about science! At secondary level, we operate the STEM Careers Programme to inspire young people about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths by delivering STEM Careers Days, STEM Insight Weeks and STEM Work Experience. The team also runs our programme of events for families, including our fantastic Saturday science and computing clubs.

I also project manage our flagship Thinking, Doing, Talking Science (TDTS) programme, a CPD course for Primary Science Teachers which focusses on cognitively challenging practical and interactive science lessons. During 2021 – 2024 we are working with the Education Endowment Foundation on an national effectiveness trial taking place in 6 regions across England. The TDTS approach underpins all of our education work, including our outreach and Science Oxford Centre activities.

I have responsibility for monitoring and evaluating our work to make sure we make the best use of our resources and look out for funding opportunities to enable us to run more and more exciting science activities. We continually evaluate and improve our shows, workshops, clubs and events so that they inspire, entertain and challenge people. I also work with our communications team to publicise our outreach programme, and keep schools and partners up-to-date with all Science Oxford’s activities.

A top priority is to continue to develop our outreach activities to maximise their impact on the young people we engage with, whilst building our relationships with schools and partners in businesses as we do so. We’ll continue to develop our family programme so that we have a range of high quality science-inspired activities.

I really enjoy working with people who are so passionate about what they do – they all love getting young people excited about anything science-related! We have a fantastic team who have a variety of skills and experience and are interested in all sorts of different aspects of science and technology. It’s not unusual for someone in the office to call out “Wow – did you know that?” or “Look at this!” when they’ve discovered a new science fact or gadget which might be useful for a show or workshop! It’s great to have such a varied job too – one day I might be talking in a primary school assembly, the next meeting with business leaders, the following day working with teachers and education specialists.

Before joining Science Oxford, I was a primary school teacher, having taught in schools in Reading and Bracknell. Before that, I was an electrical power systems engineer working in the electricity supply industry. It’s great now to have a job which draws upon experience in both of these very different jobs! I’ve seen at first hand the challenges and opportunities of businesses and schools working together (as they do for our STEM Careers Programme), and I’m excited about encouraging young people with science in the classroom who may become the engineers and scientists of the future.

Family life is busy – I have three children at various stages of university and secondary school, so time for hobbies is limited! However, I enjoy playing the piano, walking, particularly anywhere on the coast, and (not as often as I should) running. I‘ve helped out at a couple of overseas charity projects which I really enjoyed – one building a school in a remote village in Tanzania, East Africa, and another decorating an orphanage in Kathmandu, Nepal. Perhaps one day I will sign up for another adventure like these!

Dr Emily Fisk

Head of Science Oxford Centre Operations & Programmes

Dr Emily Fisk, Head of Science Oxford Centre Operations & Programmes

I joined the Oxford Trust in September 2019, as Science Oxford Centre Officer, just as the new Science Oxford Centre was officially opening to schools and families. I am now the Centre Operations Manager. Since 2019, I have been involved in coordinating the activities, logistics and delivery of both our school and family programmes at the Centre. During the week, I design and deliver shows, workshops and outdoor activities for schools, primarily for children between the ages of 3 and 11 from across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire (and maybe even further afield!). I also ensure teachers are fully supported before, during and after their visit to make sure they get the most out of their trip. On the weekends, I manage and deliver our Family Days at the Centre, with regular Saturday openings, as well as additional half-term and holiday activities. I also have an interest in making science learning both accessible and equitable for all, so I also coordinate visits for local groups with additional and/or sensory needs at the Centre.

This year, I hope to work on making our Centre more accessible and welcoming for children, families and schools with additional needs. Over the last two years, I have led a project with visually-impaired families and autistic children, and it would be great to continue these relationships and to engage with these families and children even further. This year, I am particularly interested in working with Special Schools to enable accessible visits to our Centre by schools that may require additional support.

The most rewarding aspect of my job is seeing the ‘lightbulb moments’ and the enjoyment of children and adults who visit us. Being able to spark an interest and curiosity in science at an early age is truly a wonderful thing to be part of. I am also very honoured to work in such a varied and experienced team – many of the team have worked as primary and secondary school teachers, in other science centres, industry, research and more. I love learning as much as I can from all of them! Finally, I also enjoy that we use and share evidence-based practices, such as ‘Thinking, Doing, Talking Science’. Having come from a research background, I think it’s important to be able to evaluate and clearly present the impact of what you do.

Before I joined Science Oxford, I obtained an MBiolSci degree in Biochemistry and Microbiology and a PhD in Infectious Medicine, both from the University of Sheffield. During my stint in research, I continually sought out science engagement activities, such as Pint of Science and PubhD, many of which are opportunities that have guided me to where I am now. After finishing in the lab, I worked at the Cambridge Science Centre as a Science Communicator and Events Coordinator. In this role, I toured schools of East Anglia as part of their outreach programme and organised events for family and adult audiences. I absolutely loved working in the informal learning sector, so when I saw the chance to join Science Oxford at such an exciting time in the development of the organisation, I just couldn’t resist.

Outside of work, I like to keep fit and I play badminton at a competitive club in Towcester, but I offset this exercise by baking (and eating the produce) whenever I get the chance. My partner and I are also keen board gamers, and we revel in the chances we still get to enjoy fancy dress!

Sophie Batin

Education Outreach Manager

Sophie Batin, Education Outreach Manager

I joined the Oxford Trust in 2015. I manage a small team of science and computing experts at Science Oxford, who create amazing STEM experiences for primary aged children in schools, out in the community and in our own science centre. My job is really varied, which I love – I never have a chance to get bored! I might spend one afternoon delivering CPD to a group of primary school teachers and then the next arranging for one of our science shows to tour local libraries. A lot of my job involves making sure that our programmes continue to be fantastic, which means that I get to develop new workshops and think about how we can reach new audiences.

I’m really excited about our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) work and how that’s contributing to us working with some really interesting groups. I feel like I’m constantly learning more about making our programme accessible and appealing to a wider range of people. Our programme for under 5s and their families is just starting out but we’re lucky to have such great resources, especially with our woodland on site, that I know the programme will thrive. The Big Science Event, which celebrates pupil led investigation in primary schools, is one of my favourite projects – it’s fascinating to see what even the youngest children can do when they are given the freedom to explore scientifically. Supporting teachers is a huge priority for us. By empowering primary school teachers to feel confident in their science teaching, we can have an enormous impact on not just how their current class feels about science but on all their future classes too.

Staff profile Sophie

I love the freedom that the Trust gives its staff to be creative and to try new ideas. We’re a small organisation, so everyone has a voice and an opportunity to feed into strategy. It means that we can be more innovative and everyone feels engaged by our mission and determined to drive it forward. The most rewarding pat of my job is hearing feedback from schools, teachers, children and families about the difference that our activities have made to them.

Previously, I was a primary school teacher and before that I did all sorts of jobs. I decided where I wanted to travel and found a job in that place, so I nannied in the Alps, taught English in South Africa, waitressed in the south of France, ran a B&B in St Ives and taught horse riding in Michigan. I now live in Abingdon with my husband and our son. Since having a baby, we’ve had less time for hobbies but we all love boating, walking and canoeing (though a toddler in a canoe sometimes feels like a recipe for disaster!). I can always make time for a new book and I especially enjoy mysteries, PG Wodehouse and Christopher Moore. I enjoy cooking and have loved the challenge of creating baby friendly meals that are also delicious for adults. I’m looking forward to being able to travel again soon – I feel like there’s so much of the world that I’ve yet to explore!

Dr Roger Baker

Outdoor Learning and Estates Manager

Dr Roger Baker, Outdoor Learning and Estates Manager

I joined the Oxford Trust in 2016. I love my job – it combines managing our modest patch of woodland here at the Science Oxford Centre with teaching children about the wonders of natural science. Having control over the 15 acres of outside space is such a luxury when it come to outdoor education and I am able to maximise its potential while providing a safe and engaging environment for our family and school visitors. I get to spend a lot of my day outside come rain or shine, whether it is leading a group on a pond dipping adventure, exploring the woodland, working with some volunteers to build a new set of steps or helping vaccinate badgers. No two days are ever the same!

Over the last three years, since we moved to our new site in Headington I have developed our outdoor learning programme and helped turn the previously neglected woodlands surrounding our centre into a fantastic education and ecological resource. A lot of work goes into maintaining a site like ours and I work with a great team of contractors and volunteers to keep it in good condition all year round. I also monitor the ecology on site, where possible improving the habitats and diversity while building resilience to the impacts of disease and climate change.

I find my work with the Trust very rewarding, otherwise I would not have been here for the last five years! I was lucky to have been spent much of my youth learning about nature and I am now getting the chance to work to inspire a similar love of science and the outdoors in the next generation. Science Oxford leads the way in STEM communication and I am proud to be part of the small but perfectly formed group of dedicated staff. In this role, I love to see the smiles, looks of genuine amazement and nods of understanding from the thousands of children that we engage each year.

Before working for the Trust, I did a PhD in freshwater ecology. I have spent periods working for the Environment Agency, carrying out environmental research, working as an environmental consultant and then most recently retrained as a science teacher. After several years teaching science in a secondary school I joined the education team at Science Oxford and luckily for me, the timing was perfect as the plan to develop a dilapidated environmental education centre into our new exciting science education centre was taking off. I guess I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time, but feel I have found a role that perfectly matches my skills and interests. Now I put my expertise in freshwater ecology to great use running pond dipping workshops in our own ponds!

I am very fortunate in that I love my job but, when work and family commitments allow, I also love getting outside on my mountain bike. I have ridden all over the UK and parts of Europe, when the mud gets too thick I’m quite happy to throw on a pair of trainers and go for a run instead. I have two young children who also keep me very busy. They both go to a local Headington schools, and have been regular visitors to the centre since it opened in 2019. Another big passion of mine is football. Both my son and daughter play for a local teams and this year we even have season tickets at Oxford United!

Sian Stratton

Community Outreach Manager

Sian Stratton, Community Outreach Manager

Sian joined the Science Oxford Team in 2022 as Education Outreach Manager, and took up the permanent role of Community Outreach Manager in October 2023.

Sarah Townson

Technology Projects Officer

Sarah Townson, Technology Projects Officer

As Technology Projects Officer, I run the Creative Computing Club (online and in person) and Tech Days at the Science Oxford Centre and outreach workshops for Science Oxford. I work closely with a lot of teachers, organising training events and supporting local networks, like Computing at School and Code Club. I get a real buzz from working with young people – seeing them engaged and excited by science and technology and happy to be learning and challenged.

I love running the Creative Computing Club and enjoy developing our programme to make it even more hands-on and exciting. I have developed lots of sessions using BBC micro:bits and accessories to add ‘offscreen’ excitement, plus a range of other activities like building your own website and coding ‘choose your own adventure’ books. I have also been running longer-term projects such as holiday tech days, after-school clubs, and Robot Camp, to get young people really engaged in computing and technology.

The good thing about my job at Science Oxford is that no week is the same. I learn something new every day, whether it’s how to use a new piece of equipment and interesting science fact or a new programming technique, which means I’m constantly challenged to become the best I can be. And, of course, the people are amazing! I am lucky to be part of such a supportive team and to work with people who are as passionate about science and tech as I am.

Sarah Towson

After growing up in Derbyshire, I went on to study physics at the University of Birmingham. I stayed on and worked as a science technician in a secondary school and a college for a few years before moving to the south coast. Here, I had a few part time jobs – in a local library, at the Hastings’ Shipwreck Museum but my main role was working for STEM Sussex, an outreach organisation based at the University of Brighton, developing and running engineering and tech events. I realised that was where my passions lay, but I also loved the variety involved in having so many different roles, which is why my job at Science Oxford is such a perfect fit.

Outside of work I enjoy getting outside; walking, running and cycling around my local area and seeing the seasonal changes. I love to make things, so have fun building robots, designing arty circuits, and coding & crafting projects. My favourite bit about making new things is that, although they very rarely work first time, I’m always getting better and learning new skills. I also love to disappear into fantasy and science fiction worlds, so can often be found curling up on the sofa with a good book or TV show!

Ian Snell

Ian Snell

Education Programme Officer

Ian Snell, Education Programme Officer

I joined the team as Education Programme Officer in 2015. In my role within the education team at Science Oxford, I am responsible for planning and delivering our outreach programme to primary schools in the region – which means I get to regularly visit schools and present our range of science-themed shows and workshops, including our Fire Show and ‘Out in Space’ touring planetarium show. My favourite part of the role is seeing the sense of wonder and engagement in children. Previously I have worked as a Teaching Assistant in a primary school, a secondary school science teacher, and before that I worked in IT with experience in front line support, sysadmin and webserver deployment and maintenance – skills which support elements of my current role, as I recently helped to develop and produce our series of online events for live-streaming to schools.

Libby Adsett

Libby Adsett

Education Team Admin Officer

Libby Adsett, Education Team Admin Officer

I started working with the Education team at Science Oxford / The Oxford Trust in December 2017. I don’t have a scientific background, but I have learnt so much since I started. Useful knowledge? I’d like to think so. I really appreciate the fact that no two days are the same. From dealing with booking requests to sterilising owl pellets… Anything goes!

I enjoy spending time with my family and grandchildren, live music, ceroc and northern soul dancing. When not busy having fun, I love nothing more than to read and potter in my garden.

Autumn Neagle

Autumn Neagle

Events Marketing Officer

Autumn Neagle, Events Marketing Officer

I came on board with the Oxford Trust as Digital Communications Officer in January 2016. Using my smorgasbord of digital skills I get to tap into my creativity and love of writing and design to share our stories, and shine a light on the brilliant stuff that goes on at the Trust and Science Oxford. Whether I’m producing films, visuals or campaigns promoting our programmes and events, it’s great to encourage people of all ages to try something new.

Current climate: Science and technology are always in the news these days and our creative programmes and activities reflect the latest hot topics, from raising awareness of climate change and the potential of clean energy, to the amazing research going on with vaccines during the pandemic – some developed right here in Oxford. It’s great to play a part in inspiring innovators of the future!

Inspiration: There’s always something to talk about. From incredible cutting-edge research by companies & start-ups based at our innovation centres to planetarium or pond dipping, it’s exciting to have our new Science Oxford Centre and 15 acres of woodland to play with, along with resident newts, badgers, beehives and lots more. I’m personally inspired by the story of our patrons, entrepreneurs Sir Martin and Lady Audrey Wood, who’s work on superconducting magnets made possible the development of MRIs, and who’s passion for the environment also led to our sister charities Earth Trust and Sylva Foundation.

Comms in COVID: I loved engaging families at home during lockdown with online videos and activities to try, particularly our regional Big Science Event competition. It was great fun sharing their experiments carried out in the kitchen, garden or park, or even over zoom with grandparents. It was great to share our team’s activities, where they kept busy delivering free kit loans to local schools, with sewing projects to make masks and visor bands, rainbows for our free family day for NHS and key workers, or sourdough and baking cakes! We’ve been learning how to live-stream science shows to member primary schools, and of course running lots of events online. I’ve also been busy this year updating our Science Oxford website accessibility & navigation and developing ideas around EDI for digital resources, with some inspiring people working with UK science centres.

The best bits? I got to quiz experts on the ‘weirdest moments of their career’ on our virtual STEM Insight Week for yr 10 work experience students (answers: finding dinosaur fossils in a lunch box, building a giant dinosaur out of plastic bags, or checking Tim Peake’s shoe size!). Some stand out moments in My job are: watching Oxford Uni Professor of Astrophysics, Chris Lintott’s talk about career goofs and how it doesn’t matter! (Having watched the Sky at Night since childhood, he’s a Legend); launching children’s 3D-printed designs into Space; seeing an epic Star Wars monologue performed by a robot (when Luke Skywalker discovers Darth Vader is his father: ‘Noooooo’); Plus, unusual Photoshop requests and tweeting about silly things on the internet!

Career journey: Starting out, after my Art Foundation I interned for 6 months at the Observer Magazine Art (and Fashion) Department, London, learning the fundamentals of desktop publishing, paste-up and graphic design in a bustling media environment, where coming up with catchy headlines was an office sport! I came to Oxford for my BA Visual Arts/History of Art joint degree at Oxford Brookes, and continually upskill in design, web editing and digital comms. I’m lucky to have combined all my passions, after running press for a music venue backed by Radiohead, Ride and Supergrass (now the 02 Academy Oxford) for ten years (I once sat in a room with Coldplay’s Chris Martin for a full half-hour while he read his paper) I went on to work for and with a range of arts organisations and cultural events, festivals and venues across the South East / London. I managed social media for the annual IF Oxford science and ideas festival showcasing over 100 events, with everything from contemporary dance inspired by the Sun, to the science of Gin. Cheers!

At home: I currently live in Witney, West Oxfordshire, where I contributed to Witney Music Festival, volunteered for OxJam – and ran a campaign for Asylum Sounds, a mini-fest raising funds and awareness for refugees in Oxfordshire. I did a ‘take-over’ of Oxfam’s community Twitter for the day, reaching their highest engagement for the month! Our Witney Warm Welcome Blanket (which I named after the famous local blanket & wool industry) was created from messages from the day and became part of The Museum Without a Home, organised by Oxfam and Amnesty International; it toured abroad, Arts at the Old Fire Station, Oxfam HQ and the Houses of Parliament. I also worked with folk musician Sam Lee on a project to uncover songs of historic Witney for an Imperial War Museum project with Sound UK, to mark 100 years since the First World War, culminating in a performance at Cogges Farm with live BBC Radio coverage and later at the Barbican with The Unthanks!

I once attended a Select Committee to celebrate Magna Carta 800 at the Bodleian Library as part of a project I was working on with Oxfordshire Library Service, to engage young people in politics and the arts. The event was about the spread of infectious diseases, and the main outcome was: ‘communication is key’.

(Pic – me at Gaia, helping out with an installation by Luke Jerram, Coventry Cathedral ruins during Coventry City of Culture 2021 & Cop26)

Join the fun @scienceoxford

Daniel Scholes

Science Oxford Centre Officer

Daniel Scholes, Science Oxford Centre Officer

I have been working at the Science Oxford Centre since August 2021, leading thought-provoking workshops, delivering exciting shows and facilitating the use of our interactive exhibits. I arrange school visits to the centre, run family days on Saturdays, and manage bespoke events for primary school-aged children and their families. I serve as a point of contact for any visitors to the centre, and I am always learning new and interesting ways to experiment and think scientifically, from even our youngest guests.

This year, we have continued to make new adaptations to the ever-popular Water Lab, and have developed a workshop for school groups that makes use of this wet and wonderful exhibit. Perhaps even more exciting is the new Planetarium show we have developed for early years and KS1 school groups, taking our youngest visitors on a whistle-stop tour of the solar system. It’s the experience I wish I could have had as a child, because I have been obsessed with Space since I first learned about the Moon.

I find working at the Science Oxford Centre incredibly rewarding because the ethos of Thinking, Doing, Talking Science is embedded in everything we do, and this approach really encourages children to have a go themselves, to consider new perspectives, and to share their discoveries with others. The centre provides a safe space for everyone to experiment, explore and innovate. Science is for everyone. There are misconceptions surrounding that, so it deserves repeating. Science is for everyone. Enabling the next generation to take ownership of the skills and knowledge so vital for scientific development – helping them realise that it belongs to them – is a privilege. Seeing young people find the scientist within themselves is the most rewarding part of my day, every day.

Although originally from Derbyshire, I also spent time living in Cornwall and London before moving to Oxford. In 2010, I graduated from University of Exeter with a BA (Hons) in English and, in 2021, I attained a PCGE with QTS from Oxford Brookes University. In the decade between my studies, I have acquired a variety of experiences: volunteering to help build a school in Ghana, leading Front of House theatre teams on the West End and filming a supermarket Christmas advert at Pinewood Studios. I’ve worked in an actual chocolate factory, been a Game Guru at a board game café, a Teaching Assistant in a primary school and so much more besides. Many of my experiences have inadvertently prepared me for my role here, even though they may not appear particularly scientific on the surface. It is never too late to rediscover your inner scientist – nor is it ever too early to find them in the first place.

Outside of work, I like to socialise by playing board games, video games and Dungeons and Dragons with my partner, friends and family. I am enthralled by all things theatrical and love musicals, plays and visits to the Globe. I also enjoy comedy nights, concerts and gigs, especially improv, classical and folk-rock-pop-punk. I keep active by cycling and hiking, and I am always looking forward to my next skiing holiday.

Kat Kelly

Planetarium Content Developer

Kat Kelly, Planetarium Content Developer

My role is to create all the amazing visuals that children will experience inside our science dome when watching a planetarium show. From awe inspiring views of the Earth from space, to rocket ship flights to the International Space Station, the moon, and Mars.

The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the children’s faces (and hearing their squeals of excitement) when we fly them through space and hearing their questions which show me, they are thinking really hard and being curious about what’s beyond our planet. I also love getting to tap into the creativity of our staff.

Before joining Science Oxford, I studied for a BscHons in Astrophysics from the Open University and have been working in science outreach since 2014. I lived in Vancouver, Canada, for a while and worked at a large science centre called Science World, where I had multiple roles including working in the galleries and, curating ‘The Tinkering Space’. I also travelled to British Columbia delivering science festivals and shows to remote communities and schools, and managing the staff and volunteers in the centre. I also taught engineering to high school students in an after-school club. In my last few years in Vancouver I worked at a few different telescopes, providing star parties and tours for the public and doing some astronomy imaging and data collection. My most recent role was ‘Astronomer’ at the local planetarium. I created and delivered planetarium shows and lectures, special events, exhibits. The most fun part was being interviewed on TV news, radio or podcasts every time some scientific breakthrough or interesting space event happened.

In June 2019, my husband and I returned home to the UK and moved to Oxford so he could study politics. Luckily, the role at Science Oxford came up at just the right time!

I am currently studying part time via distance learning for my Masters in Astrophysics with Liverpool John Moores University. My current research focusses on cosmology and how dark matter influences the formation of galaxies in the universe.

Outside of work, I am a mum to a toddler and I love doing things with him that ignite his curiosity. I have a very old my cat called Sooty (who travelled to Canada and back again with me!). My hobbies include playing guitar, reading books, playing video games, attending talks and lectures, being a Dungeon Master and playing Dungeons and Dragons and pole dancing which I also teach part time.

Alice Draper

STEM Project Officer

Alice Draper, STEM Project Officer

I joined the team at The Oxford Trust in September 2021 as STEM Project Officer. I run the Saturday Science Clubs for families every month and support the rest of the Outreach team with school shows and workshops. During the week I might be testing out a new activity for a club, getting all the equipment together and planning new club themes and experiments. I’ve been getting to know the shows and workshops we take out to schools in the region, and will be presenting myself.

My main focus is on running our brilliant Saturday Science Clubs. I am responsible for testing and planning fun new club themes and activities which will introducing families to different types of science and investigation. Working with families during clubs is great, I love seeing children and adults talk and work together to discover and enjoy different types of science. Working with many different schools across the county gives a lot of variation to my role.

Previously, I was a Scientist in Residence at Lab_13 Irchester. I got to work with children and encourage them to answer their own questions in school by running experiments and investigations. It was great to see the creativity and curiosity of primary aged pupils, harnessing it to show every child they can be a scientist!

Outside work, I’ve been a member of a rowing club since I was at university; having gone through the high-level competition phase I now focus on rowing and racing for fun, as well as coaching and introducing the sport to beginners. My shelves at home are well stocked with books and games, my favourite author is probably Terry Pratchett. I’ve got most of the 40-odd Discworld books and am currently rereading them all before finally getting to his last published book.

Madelaine Swift

Madelaine Swift

STEM Projects Officer (secondary schools)

Madelaine Swift, STEM Projects Officer (secondary schools)

I joined the Science Oxford team at The Oxford Trust in March 2022. I am very excited to be delivering the secondary schools STEM Careers Programme, whether this be careers related workshops, school days dedicated to fun and interactive science, or organising events and awards for young scientists in our community.

I think the best way to learn is to explore, get involved and to play – I was the child that took the radio apart; and there’s no better way to get inspired by science than by getting involved.

I found secondary school very hard, but I was lucky enough to have teachers and people in my life to help guide and inspire me; when I announced that I had decided to make an electric guitar for my GCSE Design Technology Project, none of my teachers or classmates thought it was possible – and told me so, frequently. But my DT teacher did. He took the time to explain things and help me, and offered encouragement – he believed in me. I still have, hanging on my wall, a fully functional custom designed electric guitar! I think everyone should have someone like my teacher in their lives, especially young scientists.

I have always had an active role in education, working as a Teaching Assistant and Playworker at local primary schools during my school breaks, and moving on to private tutoring whilst I was a university student. I am a very strong believer in learning through play – at any age! And that’s exactly what I hope to do at Science Oxford, whether this be leading a day about Life Sciences by solving a Murder Mystery, or solving real life engineering problems with Lego and K’nex. Nothing is better than getting to see someone’s eyes light up when they have made their own personal scientific discovery – and the excited chatter that follows.

I studied at Swansea University and gained a BSc(Hons) in Physics. During university, I was also a STEM Ambassador and got involved with outreach projects in local schools and events at the National Waterfront Museum. My dissertation was based on modelling the flight of an ion propulsion system for space travel and I was really happy to be able to adapt this into an interactive stall, so that museum visitors could change aspects of the rocket’s systems and see how it would behave!

After my degree, I stayed in Swansea and pursued a career in financial advice. I loved the problem-solving aspect, the analysis – and the ever-changing world of finance that I would have to adapt to. As well as being able to help people and teach them about their finances. In 2018 I returned home to Oxfordshire, and in 2020 decided that, whilst I loved my career, I needed to follow my heart and get back to my roots –my ‘inner scientist’ was calling.

In my personal life, I like to consider myself a ‘jack of all trades’ (and master of none). Though hampered by the pandemic, I love to perform at live gigs, singing and playing my guitar and write and record music in my spare time. I try to keep fit by practising TJJF Jiu-Jitsu and weight training at the gym. I also used to Fence and was a Sabreur at a national level. I enjoy painting and creating – whether this be tinkering with electronics, woodworking or soldering together the occasional Tesla coil. My latest project is figuring out how I can connect an old MIDI Keyboard to a mini Tesla coil, so I can play sounds through the keyboard and make the coil ‘sing’. I also love the outdoors, especially when the weather is suitable for stargazing, or catching sight of one of the regular meteor showers throughout the year. I can often be found camping out in the great outdoors, practising bushcraft and survival skills for the inevitable zombie apocalypse!

 

Joanne Riley

Joanne Riley

Marketing and Content Manager

Joanne Riley, Marketing and Content Manager

I joined the team at The Oxford Trust in August 2022 as the Marketing and Content Manager. I look forward to sharing stories about the work of The Oxford Trust and its impact, and about science, innovation, and STEM education. I’m excited about getting to know more about some of the amazing innovation developing right here in Oxford and about working with the Science Oxford team to support the work they do and the impact they have. What a privilege to be in this job!

I have a background in both science and communications. I started my working life as a scientist in vaccine research and development after completing an MSc in molecular genetics, and worked at universities in South Africa (University of Pretoria and University of Cape Town) and the United States (University of Miami). Although my life as a scientist was always stimulating and took me to interesting parts of the world to meet interesting people, I was drawn to pursuing the (at the time) road-less-travelled of science communication as a way to satisfy my interests in so many different fields of science and creative arts. After many years working in the blossoming field of science communication, I went on to complete an MPhil in public engagement and a Postgraduate Diploma in intercultural communication to complement my own experiences.

I’m passionate about the stories of science and how the work of many inspiring scientists is impacting our world. I’m also passionate about ethics in science communication, and the responsibilities we have in communicating scientific information. I moved from South Africa closer to family here in the UK to explore new spaces in science and science communication, and to develop a broader, global perspective on the role communication plays in science and innovation spaces around the world.

I keenly balance my work with other interests too. Growing up mostly in South Africa with its wonderful climate, my interests centre around the outdoors. I truly appreciate the time I have spent in the beautiful surroundings we have on our doorstep in the UK and I continue to explore more with my dog, who also travelled across continents to join me here. I was fortunate to be able to ride a ‘character-building’ horse for many years, who partnered with me on many adventures (and misadventures) in the outdoors. To keep me fit and on my toes, I have practised and taught martial arts for over 20 years and co-owned a martial arts studio until recently. I also competed when younger (when the body healed more quickly), but now choose different ways of challenging myself. I find long distance walks, the occasional run, or a quiet swim meditative and the best way to unwind. I often listen to podcasts as I walk, or simply let my mind wander until my astute squirrel-hunting dog jerks me out of my daze as she pursues her prey.

Chewe Mukonge

Chewe Munkonge

Central Adminstrator

Chewe Munkonge, Central Adminstrator

I am excited to have joined The Oxford Trust as an administrator and I look forward to my work with the amazing staff at both our Centres. My role involves supporting the Trust’s CEO, operations and education activities.

My background is in accounting, having qualified as a Fellow of Chartered Certified Accountants. I also hold an MBA from Oxford Brookes University. I have previously worked in the banking sector and with accounting firms. I am also currently a city councilor for Quarry and Risinghurst, and I am passionate about our local communities around Oxford. I hope to also contribute to strengthening the working relationship of the Trust with local communities.

Outside of my work, I enjoy gardening and grow some of my own vegetables in an allotment near my home, including corn, potatoes and onions. I share a passion for football with my son, although we support different teams, and we have spent many wonderful hours playing football together. I also enjoy taking my family swimming on the weekends and watching movies together in our spare time.

In my holidays, I visit family in Zambia as often as I can. In my most recent trip, I had the wonderful experience of visiting the majestic Victoria Falls and was in awe of its beauty.

Alicia Adams Cross

Alicia Adams Cross

Science Oxford Centre Officer

Alicia Adams Cross, Science Oxford Centre Officer

I joined the team at the Oxford Trust in September 2022 as a Science Oxford Centre Officer. Although I am new in my role, I have already been able to get stuck in with Family Days and summer camp activities. I engage with children and their families during their visits, overseeing interactive exhibits and experiments. Every day is an opportunity to explore the wonders of science through fresh eyes!

I have explored my own passion for science through my education, graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Palaeontology in 2019 and continued my learning with a MSc (Merit) in Climate Change, Development and Policy in 2020. I went on to work within a junior school as a support assistant and cover teacher, which gave me a great introduction to working with children in an educational sphere. While the classroom is a fantastic place for sharing knowledge and ideas, I have found that I love the practical side of science; it’s great to get your hands messy! The Science Oxford Centre has dedicated itself to making science more accessible to young people, following the ‘Thinking, Doing, Talking Science’ ethos means that everyone in the room has the space and opportunity to enjoy science in their own way. It is fantastic to see so many young people finding their own passion in science, and I hope to help spark that excitement every day.

Beyond the centre, I love to explore the great outdoors. I am a keen fossil hunter and regularly take trips to beaches and quarries in the hopes of adding to my collection. I never miss a chance to talk fossils and sometimes carry them in my pocket, just in case! If I’m not fossil hunting, I love to visit historic places, read lots of books and volunteer with the Wildlife Trust. My attempts at being greener have led to failed vegetable patches and one very overgrown parsley bush.

Emira Kurti

Emira Kurti

Café Manager

Emira Kurti, Café Manager

joined The Oxford Trust as a chef in July 2021 and I’m now the Café Manager at the Wood Centre for Innovation. Cooking has been my passion since I was a child. It’s in my blood. My grandfather was a professional chef and my parents also encouraged me from a young age to pursue my passion, as they knew it would bring me many opportunities.

I am originally from Albania, but grew up in the beautiful region of Umbria in Italy after my family moved there when I was a child. I moved to Oxford three years ago, having visited family here regularly for many years. I trained professionally as a chef and spent five years at culinary school in Assisi in Italy. I love homestyle Italian food, and this is reflected in the food I prepare for the café here at the Centre. Italian food is fresh, full of flavour, simple, and all about joy!

I love my work here with The Oxford Trust. Cooking for the people at the Centre is like cooking for my family – I like to make them happy with my food every day!

Outside of my work, I spend as much time as possible with my children and family. I also love to travel. On top of the countries I have lived in, I have been to Mexico, Egypt, and across Europe, and hope to travel more in the future.

Jordan Thomas

Jordan Thomas

Café Assistant

Jordan Thomas, Café Assistant

I joined the café team at the Wood Centre for Innovation in summer 2022, after being a trainee at Yellow Submarine since 2020. The people at the Wood Centre for Innovation are friendly and I enjoy my work here.

In addition to my work for The Oxford Trust, volunteering has been part of my life for many years. I currently volunteer for the Oxford Playhouse as an usher, and enjoy that I can watch the shows there too. My favourite show was The Shawshank Redemption.

I also volunteered for Helen & Douglas House for 8 and a half years, after a family friend encouraged me, doing handy work like painting. I continue to support them. For the last two years, I have been raising funds for the charity through a swimming challenge. I completed 400 laps this year, swimming when I could after work for a few weeks.

Head and shoulder profile photo of Ermelinda Imeraj, cafe team member

Ermelinda Imeraj

Café Assistant

Ermelinda Imeraj, Café Assistant

Head and shoulder photo of Domingas Soares

Domingas Soares

Catering Assistant

Domingas Soares, Catering Assistant

I joined The Oxford Trust in June 2023 as a Catering Assistant. Since entering the catering industry nearly seven years ago, I found a passion working with food and people. Before that I had little interest in cooking and preferred my mother’s cooking for our big family. Outside of my work, I now also love to cook for friends and family.

Table full of different foods

Oxford has been my and my family’s home for nearly ten years and the younger of my two daughters was born here. I’m from East Timor, between Australia and Indonesia, and spicy Indonesian food is my favourite home-cooking.

I enjoy the friendly environment at The Oxford Trust and, being a mother to two young daughters, I appreciate the flexible working hours that also allow me to spend time with my children.

Back to Top
Responsive Menu Pro Image Responsive Menu Clicked Image