How long have you worked at the Uni? What does your role involve?
I'm one of two Technical Managers in the Faculty of Science technical team, and I've worked here since 2011. There are 70+ technicians in the faculty who support and enhance teaching and research, and promote and implement good health and safety practice. The roles in the technical team are really varied, and the technicians do everything from setting up practical sessions for our students, to working in labs supporting researchers, supporting outreach and widening participation events and running all of the weird and wonderful communal facilities in the faculty.
What would you most like to achieve while at the University?
I would really like to promote the work that technical teams do. There are a lot of unsung heroes behind the scenes here, and it’s important to me that the contribution technical teams make is recognised at a University level. We're currently working on our action plan for the Technician Commitment initiative that the University is a signatory to. It focuses on four themes: visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability, so it’s a wonderful platform to advocate the essential work of technical teams.
Name one thing that makes you feel proud to work at the University of Bath?
I was lucky to be part of the Staff Recognition Awards panel this year. Reading about the incredible things that people do at the University was really something special, but also to learn about the people who, on a daily basis and in small ways, make a really positive difference to the people they work with was equally significant. It was a really positive thing to be part of, especially at a time when the importance of wellbeing is a focus here at our University.
Who was your most influential teacher/educator, and why?
My PhD supervisor, Professor Graeme Paton at Aberdeen University. He was a wild combination of incredibly hardworking and efficient, with huge amounts of enthusiasm thrown in. I never saw him pause for breath in 3 years, yet he always made time for anyone that came his way.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a plumber, vet, carpenter, and a scientist, which I got to be! When I grow up some more, I would like to be an entomologist.
What was your first job?
I worked in holiday cottages near where I grew up. I was quite young, maybe 12. I don't know if 12 year olds are allowed to have jobs nowadays?! The big perk was that there was a swimming pool, where I got to go swimming and I could take my three sisters as well!
If you could start your own dream business, what would it be?
I would probably start a Forest/Science School where children could come for free. The children could be outdoors, get muddy, find out about nature and definitely set fire to and explode things! Science is so much more accessible if you can see the impact right in front of you.
Where is your favourite holiday destination and why?
I've been lucky to visit so many lovely places, I don’t have one answer. I lived in Perth, Western Australia, and there's a place called Dunsborough on the coast about four hours’ drive South from there. It's absolutely mind blowing. Maybe there? Maybe Morzine in the French Alps? Now that I live all the way down here in the South, I love to visit Scotland and the beach at my parents’ house has always been one of my most favourite places to go.
What’s your favourite book or album and why?
My favourite books are a trilogy by Louis de Bernières. The first one is called The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts which is full of stolen history references and a huge amount of magic thrown in. I think I would also have to say Aunt Amelia, which is my children's favourite book. Basically, it's about not putting so many restrictions on yourself that you forget to have fun.
When are you happiest?
With my kids and with my family.
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and why?
A really lovely person once told me he met his hero and there’s a reason for the saying ‘you shouldn’t meet your heroes’. So, I think if I could meet anyone I'd meet my gran and my granny, and they could meet my kids.
Which one superpower would you like to possess?
Well, we play superpowers at home, so I can think of some cracking ones! I think my superpower would be that I could get a map of the world and colour in where trees would be and they would grow.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
When I was in Australia I did a course to become a government certified reptile handler. The idea was that when snakes appeared on-site where I worked, which they did regularly, we would be qualified to go and catch them safely. The man who led the course had some huge venomous snakes, dugites, which he put in pillowcases and shook up, in order to get them agitated enough that we could practice catching them when they were being (quite rightly) defensive. Despite the amazing training, I’ve got to admit that the only snake I had to ever go and catch was about 10 centimetres long!
Tell us your favourite joke
I always get mixed up telling jokes, but I'm going to try.
What do you call an exploding monkey? A ba-boom.