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 and am currently working as the Centre Operations Manager providing maternity cover. 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 get to design and deliver shows, workshops and outdoor activities to schools, primarily for children between the ages of 3-11 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. During 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, and I 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 and families with additional needs. Over the past year, I have coordinated 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. I am also interested in creating new digital resources with these audiences, to extend the visitor experience with our centre – so watch this space!
The most rewarding aspect of my job is seeing those ‘lightbulb moments’ and the enjoyment of children who visit us. Being able to spark their interest and curiosity in science at this early age is truly a wonderful thing to be part of. I am also very honoured to be working in such a varied and experienced team – many of whom have worked as primary and secondary school teachers, in other science centres, in industrial environments, in 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 moved to the Cambridge Science Centre as a Science Communicator and Events Coordinator. This allowed me to tour the schools of East Anglia as part of their outreach programme and to organise events for family and adult audiences. I absolutely loved working in the educational charity 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!