The SEPnet Outreach and Public Engagement team covers ten universities. Each Officer has experience working on many different types of Outreach and Public Engagement projects, across many different types of audiences.
Hannah Tonry – University of Kent
Hannah is the SEPnet and Ogden outreach officer for the School of Physical Sciences at the University of Kent. Hannah joined the SEPnet team at the start of 2019 after graduating from the University of Bath in 2018 with a BSc in Physics. After being involved in science outreach at school, she developed a passion for science communication through internships and projects while at university, and plans to bring this enthusiasm to her role as outreach officer at Kent.
Nuala O’Flynn – University of Hertfordshire
Nuala is the SEPnet and Ogden Outreach Officer for the Deparment of Physics, Astronomy and Maths at the University of Hertfordshire. Nuala joined the SEPnet team at the end of 2019 after graduating from the University of Sheffield in 2019 with a BSc (Hons) in Physics and Astrophysics. From research of the educational inequalities in physics derived from writing her dissertation on ‘Investigating the reasons why women continue in Physics post-16’, the Diversity in the Culture of Physics Summer School and working in two secondary schools, she was inspired to focus her career aspirations on outreach and public engagement.
Nuala’s work within SEPnet involves school outreach, teacher CPD, supporting public engagement with research and managing the SEPnet Year 3 STEM careers project and the Cosmic Curiosity project, a collaboration between the University of Hertfordshire and Hertfordshire Libraries.
Natalie Starkey– The Open University
Natalie Starkey is the SEPnet Outreach and Public Engagement Officer at The Open University. Natalie has a background in geology and space science research, having completed her MSci. at Durham University, PhD at The University of Edinburgh, followed by two post-docs at The Open University. She moved into science communication and writing full-time from 2015, and has written two popular science books (Catching Stardust; Fire & Ice) as well as many science articles for popular publications such as The Guardian, New Scientist, All About Space, and BBC Science Focus. Natalie is a keen presenter of popular science for the public, having spoken at schools, astronomy clubs and science festivals for over 10 years. She also commonly appears on television and radio talking about science. Natalie’s work within SEPnet involves promoting research within the Physical Sciences to a broad audience, as well as working with under-represented groups to promote the study of physics post-16.
Jen Gupta – University of Portsmouth
Jen Gupta is the SEPnet/Ogden Outreach Officer for the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation at the University of Portsmouth. Jen has extensive experience in communicating physics to a range of audiences, from delivering schools lectures at the Royal Institution, to performing astronomy-themed comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, to providing expert views on TV and radio. She has a PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of Manchester. Jen manages the Festivals project and is taking part in the Shattering Stereotypes pilot project.
Alex Williams – Queen Mary University of London
Alex is the SEPnet/Outreach and Widening Participation Officer for the department of Physical and Chemical Sciences at Queen Mary University of London. Alex joined the team in January 2021 after a similar role at another higher education institution. Alex has a background in Zoology but was drawn into science communication and outreach while working in schools across Yorkshire during her degree at the University of Sheffield. Alex’s work focuses on reaching students from groups underrepresented in Physics and Chemistry and making sure the departments outreach and public engagement work is reaching those who need it most. She leads on the department’s award winning Physics Research in School Environments (PRiSE) programme, runs the Girls into Physics Summer School and helps to deliver SEPnet’s Connect Physics Programme across schools in London and Essex.
Claudia Antolini – Royal Holloway University of London
Dr Claudia Antolini is the SEPnet/Ogden Senior Officer for Outreach and Public Engagement for the Physics department at Royal Holloway University of London.
Claudia has a PhD in astronomy from SISSA/ISAS and two MSc degrees in astrophysics and space science. She approached science communication in 2012 and then developed her career in public engagement in the UK after having traveled the world during her scientific career in Italy, China, Germany and Austria. Together with her enthusiasm for physics, Claudia is a passionate advocate for inclusion and diversity in all the science fields. She loves talking about astronomy and physics with everyone and coming up with ideas to show the science hiding behind the everyday things we all do!
Sadie Jones – University of Southampton
Sadie’s role as Astronomy Public Engagement Leader and SEPnet Outreach Officer involves co-ordination and management of all the astronomy outreach and public engagement activities from the Physics and Astronomy department at the University of Southampton. A large part of this role involves managing a team of undergraduate and PhD students who work in the Soton Astrodome Mobile planetarium. Sadie also designs astronomy workshops, such as #SotonAstroArt and research talk for an array of community public engagement events including Light Up Poole and Southampton Science and Engineering Festival.
Heather Campbell – University of Surrey
Heather completed studies for her Mphys in Astrophysics with Research Placement at the University of Sussex in 2009. After that she moved to the Institute of Cosmology & Gravitation, University of Portsmouth for her PhD, where she studied cosmology using Type Ia Supernovae. She was working on new ways to classify supernovae, with the goal of improving methods for measuring the accelerated expansions of the Universe. For this project Heather used data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
Heather then spent two and a half years as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, where she was working on the Gaia Satellite as their supernovae expert and helping develop their outreach programme. While there she had many opportunities to use telescopes around the world, such as in Chile, which was her highlight of being an astrophysicist.
For the last 3 years Heather has been the SEPnet Outreach & Ogden Science Officer, in the Department of Physics at the University of Surrey. This is an extremely varied and fun job, which allows Heather to share her interest and excitement of physics with people of all ages. From outreach events in libraries for pre school children, through Astronomy evenings for all ages and lots of activities involving lego. Something Heather is particularly passionate about is trying to improve the gender imbalance in physics. One of the ways she is trying to address this is by managing and piloting a SEPnet project called Shattering Stereotypes, which aims to tackle and raise awareness of gender stereotyping in schools.
In her spare time Heather enjoys playing the piano, steam trains, wildlife and amateur astronomy. Although, she is getting married in April so not much spare time at the moment! After her wedding Heather is off to India on Honeymoon and is very excited about trying to see tigers in the jungle and travelling on their mountain steam railways.
Darren Baskill – University of Sussex
Das is the SEPnet Outreach Officer at the University of Sussex in Brighton. He has decades of experience of public outreach for all ages, from his days at the University of Leicester and at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and has appeared on TV, radio, online and in print. In addition to outreach, Das teaches an introductory astronomy lecture course to students from all across the university (both arts and science students) as well as lab techniques to the physics students. He is also an experienced astrophotography, having initiated the Astronomy Photographer of the Year international competition whilst at the Royal Observatory.
Sian Tedaldi – Oxford University
Dr Siân Tedaldi is the Outreach Officer at Oxford Physics. Sian’s role is to promote further study and careers in physics through the development and delivery of activities, events and resources. Sian also leads the administration and marketing of the British Physics Olympiad and collaborates with a number of organisations and networks such as SEPnet and The Ogden Trust. Sian graduated in physics from the University of Liverpool in 2003, and went on to complete a PhD in Science Communication.