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Emma first joined DPAG on reception in Spring 2020 acting as the first point of contact for the department handling a wide variety of enquiries. This year, she has taken on the role of Administrative Assistant, a brand new role within DPAG, which is now fundamental to the smooth running of the work of the department’s Facilities team.

Portrait taken in the Sherrington Library.Tell us about your career history at DPAG and what you did before coming here?

I started off working as a temporary receptionist in Le Gros Clark building during the COVID pandemic in April 2020 and covering for staff at Sherrington reception when they were away. I began working at Le Gros Clark properly in October 2020. Luckily my contract was extended and I am now in the Sherrington building full time. In June 2022, I started a new Administration role in the Facilities team.

Working on reception is busy and different every day; it involves booking rooms and car parking, as well as greeting students, staff, perspective students, contractors and occasionally members of the public. We receive all the parcels which are processed by Goods in. We are also the first point of call for first aid, visitors and general enquiries. Sherrington building is busier than Le Gros Clark (but I was working there during the COVID pandemic). I also cover the Stores office while Dave Greenwood is off, and the Goods in while Gary Mort and Lee Brown are off.

Before starting work at DPAG, I taught Food and Nutrition at a local secondary school. I worked at the school for 19 years, also supporting students and staff with physical disabilities by helping to ensure they were safe around the building and that students could fully and safely access the curriculum. Before this, I worked at Thames Water for many years. During this time, I volunteered as a Brownie and Guide Leader, as well as being a qualified swimming teacher. 

What does your current role involve day to day? 

My role as an administrative assistant involves helping the Facilities Team with any administration needed to support the team and the wider workings of the department. It can involve showing contractors to rooms where machinery needs to be repaired or replaced, or helping with access card enquiries. Sometimes I can even be found helping with the more practical side of assisting the Facilities team, such as refurbishing a laboratory or helping staff move equipment. I am currently updating a spreadsheet to show where service contracts (for department equipment) need renewing or updating. We use this to minimise any downtime or equipment failures. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Every day is different, but I most enjoy meeting new people and helping the DPAG teams achieve their goals. This gives me a big sense of achievement.

It is a privilege to be a small cog in a big wheel to support the medical research which occurs in the department. It is lovely to meet new members of DPAG and to be a friendly welcoming face. In Facilities we try to welcome new staff to help them settle into their new office or lab; making sure they have their space as comfortable as possible, while supporting their scientific research. When staff tell me they are enjoying working at DPAG and they are happy with their office this makes me very happy.  

What is the most challenging part of your job?

There is so much to learn!  Also, finding my way around the building is a big challenge at the moment. Although I am lucky that we have strong team and there is always someone to ask if needed.