How long have you worked at the Uni? What does your role involve?
I’ve worked at the University since 1989, and I started here as a School Administrator in Materials Science. Now my current role is Deputy Chief-Exec of the Students’ Union. As well as my strategic role working with the Chief Executive, my direct areas of responsibility are the student activities area (including sports and societies), volunteering, student development, representation and the advice area including hall reps and peer support.
What would you most like to achieve while at the University?
I’m happiest when I’m working with student officers and students to help them change things and get the most out of their time at University, both in their academic life and their more rounded student experience. Usually it’s not about my achievements but about student officer or other students’ achievements that make me feel my role is worthwhile.
Name one thing that makes you feel proud to work at the University of Bath?
I work very directly with student officers and I think they’re just incredibly impressive. They’re very keen to work with students to make changes or to run activities on behalf of other students. They are great ambassadors for the University, enhancing the overall student experience. It’s when they work hard to change things for students through student engagement, extensive lobbying and their work on committees that I feel most proud. They are amazing.
What piece of advice would you like to give to a student?
I would say when you’re at University enjoy all of it, embrace what’s on offer, not just your academic course. You never quite know what interest or skill will lead to your most valued and rewarding job in the future.
Who was your most influential teacher/educator, and why?
My English teacher, Mr Powell, who gave me my love of literature which I then studied at university. He was the sort of guy where if someone was misbehaving in class he would make you do press ups!
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was very young I wanted to be a vet because I love animals. I quickly realised that my subject mix was all wrong so that didn’t happen. After that I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do which remains true to this day. I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up but I love what I do now.
What’s the one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you were younger?
Don’t spend too long mapping out your life in advance. The things you really learn from are those curve balls in life that we all experience. Try and get the best out of whatever life throws at you and use that experience to help others.
What was your first job?
My first job was a summer job planting tiny orchids in a laboratory setting. There I was in my white coat, sitting in a fume cupboard, using tiny tweezers to place tiny shoots into slimy gunk. Only thing was no-one thought to tell the students not to talk so the majority of the orchids were ruined!
If you could start your own dream business, what would it be?
I’d love to set up somewhere that was simultaneously a child-friendly bookshop, a vegan café, a space where women can meet and learn workplace and other skills. Oh yes, and somewhere writers can come and write. Don’t think it’d make my fortune but I’d love the place.
Where is your favourite holiday destination and why?
It would probably be Italy. I adore the food and the history and of course the people are just so lovely.
What’s your favourite book or album and why?
My favourite book is Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy, a sci-fi/feminist novel. The reason I like it is because when I was studying for my English Literature degree my favourite lecturer, who taught feminist critical theory, recommended it. It was just “wow! I haven’t read anything like this before”. I’m not sure whether it stands the test of time but it was really good then.
When are you happiest?
Outside! I love long walks in the countryside in the summer, no wait, in the autumn, no, in the… I’m not a fast walker because I stop all the time to look at leaves, fungi (a particular favourite), birds and animals.
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and why?
Tony Benn. I almost did meet him at one point. He was yards away from me in the Houses of Parliament only I was so star struck I couldn’t go and talk to him.
Which one superpower would you like to possess?
Initially, as a committed vegan, I thought I’d like to be able to talk to animals and to hear what they think about sharing the world with humans but then I realised no-one would believe me if I told them what animals experience so I’d actually like a superpower that enabled me to empower animals to speak for themselves (and maybe one for people to listen to them).
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I was a resident tutor here for 6 years many years ago in Wessex House where I lived with my primary school aged son. I fondly remember (eeek) Security ringing to tip me off that my son was playing football very close to the then VCs car
Tell us your favourite joke
Vegan: Try this apple
Meat eater: Taste good
Vegan: It's vegan
Meat eater: I thought it tasted funny