Staff Spotlight on... Dr Sophie Whiting

I started here in June 2015 and my role as a lecturer working in the department for Politics, Languages and International Studies is mainly teaching and research.

What piece of advice would you like to give to a student?

I think Bath students are very ambitious but I often say to them that you should enjoy your time at University. Once you enter the workplace you’re so limited in what you can do so just enjoy the experience.

Name one thing that makes you feel proud to work at the University of Bath?

The students are brilliant. They’re so engaged and enthusiastic and approach things with a critical mind. It’s fantastic to see them graduating and getting to put what they’ve learnt to good use.

Who was your most influential teacher/educator, and why?

My primary school teacher. I was a bit slow at developing my reading and writing skills when I was in primary school. But one teacher really persevered with me. It’s quite funny to look back on now having published books and written articles.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I went through a strange phase of wanting to be a brain surgeon when I was about eight. I never had the desire to do the stereotypical things of wanting to be a ballerina or anything but I thought brain surgeon would be quite interesting.

What’s the one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you were younger?

It’s important not to take yourself too seriously but take what you do seriously.

What was your first job?

I was a so-called saturday girl in a bakery/greasy spoon and it involved cooking a lot of bacon rolls. I achieved the ‘holy trinity’ of teenage jobs working with food, as a cleaner and then in a pub in Liverpool.

What’s your favourite book or album and why?

One album that really stuck with me and sounds as good now as when it came out is The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. I think it’s one of the greatest female solo albums of all time.

If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and why?

I’ve been reading a lot about Frida Kahlo and her artwork recently. I think she’s just incredible, so strong and vulnerable at the same time. Her life and her politics are so interesting and it’s all presented so beautifully in her artwork.

What one superpower would you like to possess?

Time travel, because there’s never enough time in the day. I always want to read, watch and do more, and sometimes I just burn myself out.

Tell us your favourite joke.

What’s this? (Puts hands under chin and wiggles fingers)

A spider with a really big head.

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