Chair – Professor Sir William Wakeham
Professor Sir William Wakeham has a strong research and leadership based career. Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton from 2001-2009, his academic specialty is thermodynamics, particularly the thermophysical properties of fluids and intermolecular forces. Professor Wakeham is involved in many government and academic pursuits, including being the chair of a Review of UK Physics which reported in October 2008. Until 2011 he was a member of the Council of EPSRC, and he is currently a Vice-President of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He took up his role as Chair of SEPnet in 2009.
Director of Outreach and Public Engagement – Dr Olivia Keenan
Olivia has an MPhys in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Southampton. Following this she completed her PhD in Astrophysics at the University of Cardiff, studying extra galactic environments. Olivia has always been heavily involved in outreach and public engagement activities, and was a student ambassador for SEPnet during her undergraduate studies. On completing her PhD Olivia became the Regional Manager for London and the South East at the Institute of Physics, where she managed engagement across the region. Olivia became Director of Outreach and Public Engagement in 2019.
Director of Employer Liaison – Veronica Benson
Veronica Benson has a degree in Modern Languages from University of East Anglia and postgraduate qualifications in education, careers guidance and organisational behaviour. Following a short time in teaching, Veronica became a director of a conference company in London, sourcing speakers and building contacts in the property, finance and legal industries. She went on to set up an education charity and alumni association for the real estate department at the University of Reading working with employers, supporting masters students, raising funds and organising events. More recently she worked as South East Project Manager for WISE (Women In Science and Engineering) running careers workshops for STEM women graduates and working with STEM employers and university departments to change culture and support women’s career progression. Prior to joining SEPnet Veronica led a National HE STEM project on the benefits of placements for undergraduates. Veronica joined SEPnet as Director of Employer Liaison in September 2012.
Cristobel has worked for senior management as a personal assistant at Hoechst UK (now Sanofi-Aventis) and Granada Television. She took a career break to raise her family and returned to part-time work as PA to the European Operations Director at DHL in 2003. She joined the University of Surrey in 2006 as a PA to an Emeritus Professor in the Centre for Environmental Strategy and in 2008 was the PA to the Head of Department of Physics. Cristobel was involved in working on SEPnet Phase 1 from its inception and has managed the GRADnet training programme since December 2013.