The Institute for Mathematical Innovation was recently Highly Commended in the team category in the Staff Recognition Awards.
Juliet Somma, Institute Programme Coordinator, Institute for Mathematical Innovation
I still feel quite new as I’ve only been at the University for 18 months with 12 of them in this role.
My main role is delivering the IMI schemes, such as our internal secondment scheme and undergraduate research internship scheme which has grown to a cohort of 29. It’s been a real success this year; we changed how we delivered and marketed it and applications doubled, with twice as many from women and across a wider range of disciplines.
The IMI is all about using maths to strength interdisciplinary research at the University and engage with external industrial partners.
We also run a range of workshops, conferences and academic visits. We’ve got the European Study Group with Industry coming on 16-20 July: industrial companies present their problems and people from across the industrial mathematics community come together to solve them.
Name one thing that makes you feel proud to work at the University of Bath?
I’ve always chosen to work in a non-commercial organisations, it does motivate me to work for an organisation that’s about more than just making money. I’m really proud of our internship scheme, it gives students a taste of postgraduate research and enables them to decide if it’s for them. This is a major life decision and we get a lot of positive feedback about how the scheme has helped, so it feels very satisfying to have played a role in this.
What piece of advice would you like to give to a student?
Your time is so brief at University. Immerse yourself and take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself.
Who was your most influential teacher/educator, and why?
Mr Mitchell who was my Geography teacher. It’s a tough subject to teach as you need to get out of the classroom and engage with it all around you. He had great charisma, he made everything interesting and treated you with respect and autonomy. I went on to study it at University then become a Geography teacher myself.
What’s the one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you were younger?
I'd rather not answer this question if thats ok...
If you could start your own dream organisation, what would it be?
Definitely voluntary, probably working with girls and young women to realise their potential. I think external influences and pressures can have a huge effect on our behaviour and it takes a strong character to not be influenced by them.
What’s your favourite album?
Screamadelica by Primal Scream. I can listen to that any time. I saw them last year in Bristol as part of the BBC Radio 6 festival, they’re such a stellar band and everyone crammed in to see them in this very intimate venue, it was one of the best gigs I’ve seen for ages.
When are you happiest?
With my family, on the beach. I’d love to go to the Caribbean sometime but I’m equally happy strolling on a windy Studland Bay in winter.
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and why?
It’d be inspiring to meet Oprah Winfrey. I think she’s such an amazing character, she’s had such a varied career from actress to activist and she always appears to be so positive about everything and everyone.
Which one superpower would you like to possess?
Flying! I’d never be late. I could strap the kids to me and we’d be off. And I’d get to go to that beach in the Caribbean.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I was in the video for ‘Unbelievable’ by EMF dancing for a whole two seconds. It was complete fluke, we just turned up to see them at the Guildhall in Gloucester and ended up in the video.