1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role as International Study Centre Director?
I am from Watford and Watford FC fan (perhaps the only good excuse). My mum was a nurse at Watford General for many years and most of my relatives work in the emergency services so I'm the odd one out (and proud) working in education. After University I lived and worked in Costa Rica, Uruguay, Italy and the UK as a teacher, teacher trainer and Language Assessment Inspector. I started working in pathways in 2017 as Head of English at Kingston University International Study Centre (ISC) and have also worked at the University of Surrey ISC as Assistant Director, Quality and Innovation and as Assistant Director, Student Experience. I took on the Centre Director role there in 2020 - a busy time. I now have moved to Royal Holloway as International Study Centre Director as I was attracted by joining at such an exciting time for the Royal Holloway/Study Group partnership. Our job is to support International Students to thrive in the ISC and at the College so they might access the key roles and careers their talents demand. I must say I was also attracted here by the heritage, values and mission of the College which complement the ISC's so beautifully.
2. What are you enjoying most in your new role so far?
The quality of the partnership working is outstanding. So many opportunities to collaborate on shared goals have emerged already. With the right focus and confidence, I sense there will be exciting work ahead driving continuous improvement at the ISC and furthering progress against institutional goals.
3. Are there any upcoming projects which you are particularly looking forward to working on?
A key focus is on building a proactive and data driven progression support system that ensures all students succeed. I suspect this may prove a good example of a collaboration opportunity as above. We have also expanded our range of courses and from next year will be helping 400 plus international students progress across all RH Schools. The associated broadening and deepening of connections will be very rewarding for the ISC team I have no doubt.
4. What do you enjoy most about working at Royal Holloway so far?
There can be few finer strolls than from the ISC in Founders West to the library in the Emily Davidson Building.
5. What inspires you at work?
I personally know a thing or two about support with learning and the transformational benefits it can offer. At 8 I was so far behind the curve with literacy, both my younger brothers could read before me. Those that mattered believed and I was supported to learn and later excel. I am so lucky to be immersed in a community determined to learn and grow at work here. ISC students make a fearless decision to live and learn in another language and cultural context and to invest in their own futures. I was inspired and moved by the eloquence and imagination of the student reflections at our recent ISC 10th anniversary celebrations.
6. How do you like to spend your free time?
There are few things I can do happily if not well and they generally involve the garden, guitar or kitchen and of course spending time with the family and friends I treasure.