Students Staff

29 June 2017

Meet our technicians – Chief Technician, Steven Brewer

Filed under: Latest news, People pages — Communications, CER @ 2:14 pm
  • Name: Steven Brewer
  • Job title: Chief Technician
  • Which department do you work in?: Psychology

Our team of technicians from the Psychology department. Steven Brewer is pictured third from the left.

  • Are you part of a team?: Yes, including myself, there are seven members of the technical team. The team has grown over the past eighteen months and there are now three Technicians and three Senior Technicians in the Psychology Department.
  • How long have you been at Essex?: I’ve worked at the University for just over two and a half years.
  • What is your role/your daily responsibility?: As Chief Technician, I supervise a team of six technicians. The Psychology Department is spread across two buildings, Square 1 building and the Centre for Brain Science (CBS). I oversee and am responsible for the installation, maintenance and support of all teaching, research and office facilities. This is very wide ranging and includes devices such as eyetrackers, electrocephalography (EEG), biofeedback systems and large computer labs, to name just a few. The team support staff and students in their technical requirements. We regularly develop computer programs for experiments used in research projects. This can sometimes also involve reprographic and video editing work. We occasionally develop small electronic solutions for experiments where off the shelf devices are not readily available or suitable.
  • Are there any projects you’re working on that are particularly exciting/interesting?: Construction of the new STEM building is currently underway. Once complete, there will hopefully be new and exciting opportunities for the technical teams in each department of the faculty of Science and Health to collaborate.
  • How did you get into this role?: I worked in London as a Senior Systems Engineer for a global media company for twelve years. I entered the education industry back in 2013 and was employed at the University in the role of Senior Technician in 2014. I was appointed as Chief Technician in July 2016.
  • What qualifications do you have/ what study path did you take?: I studied Computer Science and Engineering at College where I achieved A-Levels and higher BTEC qualifications. This developed my interest in a wider range of technology. I continued my studies at Ravensbourne in South East London and obtained a HND in Broadcast Engineering and Digital Technology. I have continued studies in various forms over the years. I have completed short courses in Hewlett Packard and Brocade Storage Area Networks, and am an Apple Certified Associate for OSX to name a few.
  • What sort of skills does being a technician require?: Technicians cover a very wide range of tasks. I believe it is useful for a technician to have a broad range of technical skills and an underlying thirst for technology. Good IT skills are very important. Programming experience is also very useful, especially in Psychology. It is also important for a technician to have good interpersonal and communication skills as our role is very customer focused.
  • What advice would give someone interested in becoming a technician?: Having a love for technology is a great starting point. It’s important to pick your area of study carefully as technical roles are very diverse. It’s very useful to keep up to date on the latest technology as you never know when you may need to adopt something new.

Left to right; our technicians pictured, are:

Jonathan Boalch
Alan Brignull
Steven Brewer
Woakil Ahamed
Elena Broggin
Monika Steinke


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27 June 2017

Silly season is here!

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 11:54 am

pandemonium_clown_webPandemonium returns to Southend this weekend when East 15 students take to the streets.

Sixteen Acting and Community Theatre students will perform a packed programme of 45 shows in the High Street over Saturday 1 July and Sunday 2 July to entertain shoppers and visitors to the town.

The family friendly calendar of entertainments includes clowning, puppetry and street theatre. You can find out more about  the events on facebook or on twitter, or just pop along.

Student Adam Jefferys said: “For the past 10 years Pandemonium has been an annual Performance devised by second year BA Acting and Community Theatre Students. We aim to bring the community together through performance, music and laughter.”


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16 June 2017

Meet our technicians – Julie Arvidson Molecular Biology Technician

Filed under: Latest news, People pages — Communications, CER @ 1:53 pm
An image of our technicians

Our team of Biological Sciences technicians. Julie is pictured front left.

Our Technicians perform a crucial role. To find out more about their fascinating work, we spoke to Julie Arvidson, Cell and Molecular Biology Technician in the School of Biological Sciences. 

  • Name Julie Arvidson
  • Job title Cell & Molecular Biology Technician
  • Which department do you work in? School of Biological Sciences
  • Are you part of a team? Yes, I’m part of a great  team working in such diverse areas as the Coral Reef Unit, Core Services, Plant Productivity, Proteomics, Teaching Labs and Cancer Biology – which are just a few of the Research and Teaching areas.
  • How long have you been at Essex?  Since 1989, and as you would expect I’ve seen some monumental changes within the School and University as a whole.
  • What is your role/your daily responsibility? My role, along with my colleagues, is to support Research, embed Health and Safety, maintain facilities, teach practical skills to our undergraduates, postgraduates, and visitors. My area is principally Mammalian Tissue Culture, for cancer biology and immunology. I also train my Estates colleagues in Biohazard Awareness.
  • Are there any projects you’re working on that are particularly exciting/interesting? I’m not directly involved with the Research anymore but I find the Research in Cancer Biology very exciting with both Greg Brooke and Elena Klenova developing ways to categorise and destroy cancer cells, and Chris Cooper’s Research into new oxygen carriers to replace blood is amazing.
  • How did you get into this role? My education didn’t quite go to plan so I started working as a School Science Technician for my old school. Fate brought me to Colchester and despite applying for a Plant role I was chosen as an Animal Tissue Culture Technician, working with some inspirational Academics. As my interest in Health and Safety  grew I was asked to train colleagues in Biohazard Awareness as well as looking after the Radioisotope laboratory.
  • What qualifications do you have/ what study path did you take? I have an HNC which I studied part-time before joining the team here, and then was supported by the School to study part-time for a Cell & Molecular Biology Degree from Anglia Ruskin University. I have just completed a Certificate in Health and Safety and I am now continuing with the Diploma course to complement my role. Never think it’s too late to study!
  • What sort of skills does being a technician require? This is a hard question as my colleagues have  a huge variety of skills; from Amanda who has tremendous organising skills, Phil and John who have great skills with complex analytical equipment, Sue who is so green- fingered and meticulous in running our Plant Growth facilities, to Russell whose skills enable him to organise very successful diving field trips to Indonesia and maintain the Coral Reef tanks.  Resourcefulness, observational skills and attention to detail  are all important, but over 1,000 skills have been identified by the Science Council for technical posts.
  • What advice would give someone interested in becoming a technician? This is a fantastic time to think about becoming a Technician as there is a sudden realisation that by 2020 the UK will need around 700,000 new Technicians. There are new initiatives to recognise and support Technical staff with Professional Registration, Apprenticeships and Papin Awards recognising Technical contributions  across all areas.  We are now included in Athena Swan awards and the University’s courses allow personal development as never before.
  • Tell us something unusual about yourself, a hobby, an interest, something we might be surprised by I still own my racy Honda motorbike, Alex, who took me to Cambridge to study for my degree.  I’m planning to get him back into work this summer.

Left to right; our technicians pictured, are:

  • Julie Arvidson
  • Lynwen James
  • Farid Benyahia
  • Julie Double
  • Phil Davey
  • Jackie Maidwell
  • Gregor Grant
  • Elizabeth Welbourn
  • Amanda Clements
  • David Knight
  • Tania Creswell-Maynard
  • Sue Corbett
  • Sally-Ann Sharp
  • Giles Ward
  • Chris Clow
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Big celebration for the Big Essex Awards

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 11:37 am
An image of people at our Big Essex Awards

Staff and Students at our celebration event

Over 1100 students signed up to our Big Essex Employability Award this year and last week we celebrated their success at our annual celebration event in Sub Zero

We awarded over 800 students with Bronze, Silver or Gold awards, making 2016/17 the most succesful Big Essex Award year ever.

Congratulations to our award winners on the night:

  • CMI Leadership Award – Wade Dyer
  • Exceptional Contribution to Student Life Award – Tai Fan Yeung
  • Career Planning Award – Garath Thomas
  • Entrepreneurial Award – Andrei Duma
  • Community Impact Award – Alisa Beljankova

Thank you to everyone who made this night special, especially Bryn Morris, Zoe Garshong and Keith Richardson from the Chartered Management Institute!

Head to the Employability and Careers Facebook page to see all the photos from the night.

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Advancement team scoop two prestigious awards

Filed under: Latest news, People pages — Communications, CER @ 10:18 am
an image of the cover of Essex Effect magazine

Our award winning alumni magazine

Our Advancement team have scooped two prestigious awards – one for their Click crowd funding platform and another for their new look alumni magazine Essex Effect.

  • The alumni magazine was recognised with a Silver Award in the CASE Circle of Excellence Awards. The magazine is published annually and read by over 50,000 alumni worldwide. It received the award for improvement in magazine publishing and is the only UK publication represented in the Awards. The judges praised it’s creative design and compelling content and said it reflected the unique character of the University.
  • Click was awarded the Gold prize in the Challenge Grant & Matching Gift program category. Not only was Essex the only UK university recognised in this category, but Click was the only crowdfunding program worldwide to receive any prize at the CASE Circle of Excellence awards. Click was awarded the Gold prize in recognition of its hugely successful matchfunding program for student fundraising. Click uses money raised from alumni and friends of the University to match the fundraising endeavours of students, £1 for £1. The scheme has helped 118 student groups raise a total of £161,000 towards a wide range of student experience projects, encompassing arts, sports, societies, volunteering, internships and student entrepreneurship.
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‘Big data’ poem comes to Wivenhoe

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 10:16 am
An image of Luke Wright

Luke Wright

A gig in Wivenhoe at the end of June will give staff, students and the local community a chance to hear a poem by Luke Wright on the unlikely subject of using ‘big data’ for social and economic research.

Commissioned by the Administrative Data Service here at Essex, the poem, Dr Dobb’s Data Doohickey, has now been heard by over 5,000 people around the country, and will reach more as Luke plays the Royal British Legion in Wivenhoe on Thursday 29 June.

Luke Wright is a poet, broadcaster and theatre maker with nine spoken word shows to his name, including last year’s What I Learned From Johnny Bevan, which won five awards, including a Fringe First at Edinburgh. He’s now touring a new show, The Toll.

Gemma Hakins, Public Engagement & Communications Manager at the Administrative Data Service commissioned the poem last year, and says, “I’m always looking for new ways to make people aware of research which can benefit society.

“Researchers are beginning to explore innovative forms of digital data to gain greater insights into society – a real strength here at Essex – and it’s important we explain the possibilities to the public.

“Luke tackles some really varied topics – from commuting and parenthood to escaped lions – and reaches people by making his social commentary political and funny. The poem’s about a character called Dr Deirdre Dobb, and how she can ‘take the stats and facts we blithely give / and well, do something practical with it’.

“We want people to understand the possibilities of using data for research which can inform government policy and change our lives for the better. Luke’s poem does that brilliantly, in accessible language that some of us who work in academia don’t always manage!”

The Administrative Data Service, based here at Essex, co-ordinates the UK-wide Administrative Data Research Network and provides research support services across England. The partnership aims to enable new social and economic research using the data which government department and agencies collect when they deliver services such as TV licences, benefits and healthcare.

Luke Wright performs works from The Toll, and Dr Dobb’s Data Doohickey, at the Royal British Legion, The Quay, Wivenhoe, Thursday 29 June at 8pm. Tickets cost £5, £3 concessions. You can find out more about Luke on his website.

Watch Luke perform Dr Dobb’s Data Doohickey.


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12 June 2017

Rebel Radio’s election night special

Filed under: Campus news, Student experience — Tags: — Communications Office @ 5:08 pm
Students at Rebel Radio

Students broadcasting live during election night

Rebel Radio, the University’s student radio station, ran an all-night election special in association with our journalism students, Here, journalism student Alex Maxam gives his report on the night.


Rebel, the university’s student media collective, had extensive and in-depth coverage of election night with both a live radio show and a live blog.

With coverage spanning from 10pm until 6.30am, Rebel Radio was on air with Thomas Rowson, Lauren Moore and Chantel Le Carpentier providing news and analysis throughout. There were also bulletins every half hour provided by students from the Multimedia Journalism course, which featured the latest updates and reaction from an exciting and unpredictable election night.

The live blog, run by Jesse Harrison Lowe and Rowena Field-Carter, was updated on a nearly minute by minute basis.

Thanks to weeks of planning from Jesse, who led the project, Rebel had reporters down at the Colchester count to provide insight as to how it was going, as well as reporters in the Students’ Union Bar to get student reaction to what was happening. The blog also announced the Colchester result faster than both the BBC and Sky.

Rebel had a determined team of 14 students working through the night to provide the coverage, as well as eight Multimedia Journalism students and three lecturers. The tireless effort from everyone involved was all worthwhile with excellent radio and blog coverage of the night, as well as providing an invaluable experience for those involved.

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1 June 2017

One Essex – meet our design winners

Filed under: Latest news, People pages — Communications, CER @ 3:51 pm

Our county-wide One Essex inclusivity campaign kicked off with the Students’ Union Hate Wall event. The event was a great chance for us to show off the branding of our campaign. The unique look and feel of the brand is all thanks to our fantastic One Essex competition winners, whose combined design ideas can now be seen as the brand for the campaign.

Here we hear from each of our winners about why the One Essex campaign and inclusivity is important to them.




  • What is inclusion to you?

Inclusion is when everyone is coming together. All is equal in a united front. Everyone is in peace and love. When there is no war, no drama

  • Why is inclusion important?

Inclusion is important because when everyone comes together, there is no hatred, there is no crime.

It upsets me that down the line when we have children, I don’t want them to have to live in an environment where no one gets along just because of their age, sex and everything like that. I want them to see that everyone is equal.

  • Can you give us examples of where inclusion has made a real difference?

I think because I have been in the University for almost a year and I haven’t been to a university before and I work here, as far as I can see around here, it seems that this University is a very united place where everyone gets along. People really come together here as one.

  • Do you think inclusion is under threat at the moment and if so, how can we best combat it?

I think it is slightly because how the UK is coming out of EU and how things are changing. It’s affecting many people and Europeans themselves are also unsure of what is going to happen so I think at the moment yes it is.

And hopefully we can do something about it because it looks as though there are things that are coming into place to sort this issue. But I know of a lot of projects to sort things out. This University really does resemble togetherness. I feel we need to aim in making others feel like they are at home. To not feel like they are an outsider.

This is why this University is good – no discrimination towards educational background especially when I have never been to a university to study before and I was worried.

But I felt welcomed here.

  • Where would like to see inclusion in 5 years’ time?

I would like to see (not just in university) where people are allowed to go to any country and feel like they are at home and are welcomed. I want to see policies in place stating that discrimination is not right, gender discrimination is not right. Everyone is equal. It’s hard to imagine how we can do it.




  • What is inclusion to you?

Making sure we involve everybody in the community regardless of their background and the most important is to consider where that person is now and how they can contribute to the community. Be that in university or town, or the country as a whole. The most important thing is involving everybody.

  • Why is inclusion important?

It is important that we don’t exclude anybody or miss their needs so they can get the most out of where there are.

But including everybody, we can ensure that their voices are heard and different needs are met so that we can create a university, a country that works for everybody and not just for one group of people.

  • Can you give any examples of where inclusion has made a real difference?

I think it’s this University – I have been here for just three months and it’s already quite apparent here that everybody has a voice. And everybody can have their voice heard and I think that does contribute to a wide international community that can be listened to and where people understand one another. This University is a very good example of inclusion. Being English and living in an international community is brilliant – it gives opportunity to embrace experiences and cultures that I otherwise wouldn’t have come across. Food for example, out on the squares with the markets, the international food is probably one of the things that I wouldn’t have had the chance to try if it weren’t because the University being so inclusive. I wouldn’t have the chance to meet different people as well.

  • Do you think inclusion is under threat at the moment and if so, how can we best combat it?

I wouldn’t say that it is under threat at this moment in time, but I would say that the future is definitely uncertain after the political developments of last year. Brexit for example – the discussions can be quite dangerous as it doesn’t seem to include everybody and we are already seeing signs of that. The best thing we can do is to continue to ensure that our voices are heard and ensure situations like Brexit do work for everybody and do work for the whole community. I would say there is definitely a danger going forward but it’s also an opportunity to make sure that everybody’s voice can be heard and it can work for everybody.

  •  Where would like to see inclusion in 5 years’ time?

Hopefully we can get to a point where we won’t need to discuss it anymore because it’s a given thing and it’s something that occurs naturally and it’s already happening everywhere. That is the ideal where everybody can have their voice heard.



Yasmin Abdullah

  • What is inclusion to you?

Inclusion is a feeling of solidarity. While we may come from different countries, practice different cultures and live different lifestyles, we are all human beings and relate to one another in a host of ways – be it through our kind actions or emotions. We should exercise compassion always and strive to recognise humanity in any shape or form. Inclusion in the University of Essex should strive to include each and every Essex student to ensure that their voice is heard and their needs met.

  •  Why is inclusion important?

Inclusivity is crucial to build a tight-knit, supportive and loving community. A feeling of solidarity and one-for-all is proven to help motivate young people to strive for excellence and build strong ties between them and their community. We are only as strong as our weakest link; and if we exclude anyone, we will fall as a collective society. Not only that – inclusion makes all the difference in making Essex feel like just another institution of education, or a place to call home.

  • Can you give any examples of where inclusion has made a real difference?

Being a part of the International Students’ Association of the University of Essex (ISA) has definitely made me see that inclusion is a great factor in getting people to open up and share their own views and opinions. The ISA strives to create a space where internationals not only feel comfortable in their own skin, but motivated to share their culture and traditions with other Essex students. The International Concert and Cultural Gala are success stories that amplify the voices of International students and gives them a platform to thrive.

Moreover, I believe the Students’ Unions has done an excellent job in providing opportunities and events for all Essex students regardless of whether they are a Home, EU or International student. We are all encouraged to promote the causes we believe in and easily have access to contribute to the local community by the act of volunteering, which creates a feeling of inclusivity and solidarity that goes beyond the gates of university.

  • Do you think inclusion is under threat at the moment and if so, how can we best combat it?

As a student, I wouldn’t consider it under threat, but I do believe that political uncertainty brought on by the Brexit vote does create a cause for concern. More regulations for foreigners will reduce the number of international students who attend British universities, which offsets their aim and derails UK’s efforts of being an educational global hub.

The best the University could do is to strongly present themselves as a supportive and inclusive institution for international and EU students regardless of the political uncertainty that enshrouds us, be it through reassurance or show of solidarity. The Vice-Chancellor has done an excellent job in welcoming internationals in years past through his close involvement in the ISA’s activities. We are one of the most international Universities in the world, and it rests in our hands to continue being that way.

  • Where would like to see inclusion in 5 years’ time?

Personally, I hope to see the University and the UK embracing strength in diversity and encourage a world without borders. Talented students of any nationality should be welcomed anywhere across the world without having to fear political turbulence and its consequences on their future. We should encourage cross-country education in order to build a more open and welcoming generation.

The One Essex campaign is looking for more people to come  forward and share their story of why inclusivity is important to them. If you have a story to tell, get in touch with our team and be part of our campaign to spread inclusivity, diversity and respect. Contact Benita Ganeva;

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Meet our new SRES School Manager – Sarah Mumford

Filed under: Latest news, People pages — Communications, CER @ 3:11 pm

Sarah Mumford has been appointed as School Manager for our new School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences (SRES). Here she tells us more about herself and about her exciting new role. 

  • Have you worked at the University before? If so where and for how long?
Sarah Mumford is School Manager for our new School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Science.

Sarah Mumford is School Manager for our new School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences.

Yes, I started working at the University in 2009 in Essex Business School until 2014. I then went to the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (CSEE) followed by my last role before this one in Philosophy & Art History. So I have worked in different faculties in departments of varying sizes. All of these have been student facing roles in which I have had a number of different responsibilities, from overseeing coursework and attendance monitoring processes to managing the student facing offices, and arranging Welcome Week and Applicant Days, among other events. I am looking forward to taking this experience into my new role.

  • Have you now started your new role?

I have now started in my new role as SRES School Manager, although the School does not officially open until 1 August.

  • What interested you in the role of SRES school manager?

I was interested in the chance to create a whole new department and manage the recruitment of a new professional services team. The opportunity to merge processes from two existing departments Health and Human Sciences (HHS) and Biological Sciences (BS), and possibly create new processes, also appealed.

  • This is a brand new role in a new school starting from scratch – what will you want to tackle/work on first?

Recruitment of the new professional services team is the priority, along with the implementation of standardised processes across the degrees coming from HHS and BS, which are Sports and Exercise Science, Sports Performance & Coaching, Physiotherapy and Sports Therapy. Another priority is ensuring that students coming from these departments and new first years feel a part of the new School. We will hopefully be helped in this by a Frontrunner and Project Worker.

  • After that, what will your priorities be?

One of the next priorities will be ensuring the professional services team work well together, and with academic staff, to deliver consistently excellent customer service. Increasing student intake and establishing the School as a world-leading department in both research and education is the overall aim, and this may be facilitated by the introduction of new courses at some point.

  • Is there anything you want to do differently? In a new way?

I want to introduce more flexibility in roles and responsibilities across the professional services team to promote cross-skilling and collaborative working.

  • What should students come to you for?

The existing space and contacts are still in place in HHS and BS, however, any students transferring to SRES are welcome to come and see me with any concerns or questions about how the move might affect them going forwards.

  • And where can they find you?

I am currently sharing an office with the Biological Sciences School Manager James Norman in 3SW.4.06. By the opening of the School in August the School Office will be set up in room 5A.131 while we wait for the completion of the new Sports Centre.

  • When do you move to your new office?

The School office and academic staff offices will be located in the new Sports Centre upon its completion at some point in Spring term 2018.

  • Tell us something unusual or quirky about yourself – e.g. have you any interesting hobbies or pursuits? A passion for something unusual?

I used to be a biker and commuted to work at the University for two years before I eventually got my driving licence!


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Annual cycle removal

Filed under: Latest news — gemmachilds @ 8:57 am

Our security team are preparing to do their annual bicycle removal – so anyone with a bicycle on central campus is advised to display a red tag on it to prevent it being removed.

Red tags can be collected from the Information Centre on Square 3 or the Estate Management Helpdesk (room 6.003).  Please secure the red tag around the frame of your bicycle to indicate to the security team that you will be back to collect your bike in the new academic year.

The security team will be inspecting all bicycles on campus during the weekend of 23 and 24 September 2017, therefore please ensure your bicycle and any lock left is tagged before then.

Any bicycle not displaying a red tag will be deemed abandoned and removed. Removed bicycles will be donated to charity following a period of storage.

In order for untagged bikes to be removed, locks will be cut and owners will not be reimbursed for the cost of their locks.

All tagged bicycles being left over the summer should be secured and locked, D-Locks are more effective than cable locks to deter theft and are available to purchase at £10 from the Estate Management Helpdesk (Room 6.003) or from the Cycle Maintenance Service which is on campus every Wednesday in term time between 08:30 and 14:30 located in Square 5.  Staff and students wanting to continue using their bicycle on campus over the summer are advised to display a red tag to ensure their bike is not removed.

If you live at the Quays or Meadows please contact the reception as they manage their own cycle parks.

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