I’m currently a full-time PhD candidate at Queen Mary University of London. Before that, I worked at York St John University as an Academic Quality Support Officer. That meant I supported the processes that ensure a quality higher education experience and guarantee standards – mainly the procedure through which programmes of study are scrutinised and, usually, approved to run. I also supported the university’s Quality and Standards Committee, and contributed to many developmental projects, often involving technological work (querying databases and drawing out data, web development and content management…).
I was the Equality Champion for my department, Registry, meaning I scrutinised equality analyses, advised intra-departmental colleagues on equality matters and regularly met with other Equality Champions across the university to discuss wider matters.
I was also the Secretary and co-founder of the LGBT Staff Network. Following initial research, this was established in late 2012, and since then has had a massive impact on the university, the city of York and beyond. A few highlights include:
- Recognition by Stonewall as one of the most LGB-friendly universities (and organisations) in the country. In 2015, we entered their list of the top 100 LGB-friendly employers (climbing 146 places in only our second entry) and were one of only six universities to score full marks in their Gay By Degree guide. We were one of only two higher education institutions to achieve both of these feats in 2015, alongside Cardiff University. In 2016, we rose a further 17 places up the list of the top 100 LGB-friendly employers.
- Recognition by Inclusive Networks – we were finalists in four categories at their inaugural awards ceremony, winning in one category and receiving high commendation in another. Inclusive Networks also named us an “Awesome Network”.
- The introduction and visibility of rainbow staff lanyards, a constant visual symbol of LGBT acceptance.
- The coordination of York LGBT History Month 2014, bringing together a programme of twenty events from organisations across the city, which led me to establish the charity York LGBT History Month to coordinate future efforts.
- Hosting Campus North, a regional network of LGBT staff networks in northern higher education institutions, and bringing trans issues to the fore with the help of Action for Trans Health.
- Nearly forty members of the University signing Stonewall’s #NoBystanders pledge at less than a day’s notice!
For my work on the LGBT Staff Network and equality more widely, I won one of six Celebrating Exceptional People awards (the annual staff awards at the university) in 2014.
Before moving to Registry, I was a Graduate Intern at YSJActive, a department of the university that manages sports facility hire and the fitness suite, and delivers sport- and exercise-related continuing professional development. My role was to redesign various administrative systems, including the fitness suite membership database.
I had a few previous jobs both during and before university, including:
- Freecycle Coordinator at York St John Students’ Union – coordinating the Freecycle campaign, where students and staff donated their unwanted goods, which were then offered to members of the public for free at a ‘free shop’;
- Business Support Technician/Administrator at Rural Insurance – two short spells (before university, and between my first and second years), during the first of which I was nominated for employee of the month within my first month at the company.
For a full list of previous professional roles, check out my LinkedIn profile.