Kat Kelly, Science Oxford Centre Operations Manager (Maternity leave)

I am involved in the programming, delivery and logistics of all that we have to offer at our Science Oxford Centre in Headington. I work with teachers, children and members of the public to ensure they get the most out of their visit and have the best time possible at the Centre. I also help to develop and deliver school workshops, shows and woodland walks for visiting schools and to support teachers before, during, and after their visit. In addition, I run our regular family days at the centre as well as school holiday activities. It is an exciting role, with a great combination of behind-the-scenes and front-facing science education.

The key projects I am proud of are working with local schools to offer a program called ‘Expert Explainers’– aimed to engage students with low science capital – and putting my astrophysics background to use in developing the content of our new portable planetarium with my colleagues.

The most rewarding part of my job is seeing children, young people and even adults light up with excitement and curiosity when they visit our centre. We are all scientists deep down and every person who visits the Science Oxford Centre gets a taste of what it’s like to understand more about the world around them.

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 like to spend time with my family and my cat called Sooty (who travelled to Canada and back again with me!). My hobbies include playing guitar, reading books, attending talks and lectures, being a Dungeon Master and playing Dungeons and Dragons and pole dancing which I also teach part time.

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