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. As well as working with kids, I also teach adults who missed out on computing at school and are keen to learn something new.

I love running the Creative Computing Club and enjoy developing our programme to make it even more exciting. I developed sessions using micro:bits plus a range of new activities like building your own app (how cool is that!) and writing programmes to control the wonderful world of Minecraft. I have also been running longer-term projects such as holiday tech days, to get young people really engaged in computing.

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.

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 have been involved in amateur dramatics for most of my life – performing in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas in Sheffield, Birmingham and Eastbourne – but I have yet to find a society here in Oxford. When I lived in Hastings, I took up archery as a sport, which was a lot of fun so I’m planning to get back into it this summer. I am combining the new skills I’ve been learning in my job at Science Oxford, with my childhood love of robotics, to build some ‘antweight’ combat robots (miniature Robot Wars). I entered my first 150g robot into a competition in January, and am currently working on improvements for version 2. I also love to travel – one of the greatest things about university was the wonderful friends I made, a lot of whom moved to interesting places and are kind enough to let me visit!  I started taking German classes when I moved to Oxford, and though I’m far from fluent, I am enjoying the challenge!

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