A week in the life of two MSc programme leaders reflecting on achievementsā€¦

By day we are educators and researchers. By night we are wives and mothers. The University, secondary and primary school terms are coming to their hectic ends as Graduation Day, PhD student conferences, sports days and parents evenings all allow us to celebrate both individual and collective achievements.

So who are we? I am Judith Holloway, Associate Professor in Allergy, and I am in Clinical Experimental Sciences. I am Programme Leader of the MSc Allergy and I am also Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes which means I look after all our MScā€™s in the Faculty of Medicine. And I am Nicola Englyst, Associate Professor based in Human Development and Health. I am the Programme Leader for the MSc Diabetes Best Practice, as well as lead for the Mentoring Scheme in the Faculty of Medicine. We both lead the Microvesicle Research Team which is a fantastic cross-disciplinary group of staff and students.

We thought you would like a sneaky peak at our varied and interesting week as academics on a balanced pathway. We had the pleasure of attending the Gerald Kerkut Trust annual conference last Friday, where we saw PhD students present the breadth of interesting physiology projects that the Kerkut Trust sponsor. We are always amazed at how innovative and apparently diverse projects which range from the physiology of Tasmanian devils, bees, cell physiology and of course, as our student presented, the role of microvesicles in thrombus formation. We always love going to this meeting because the Kerkut Trust is more than just a supportive funder, it is a family where both students and staff are valued.

The rest of the week was filled with Student Progress Committee where we monitor how students are progressing with their studies, marketing meetings for our MScs, dissertation supervision, marking assessments, attending University-wide mentoring strategy meetings, pastoral support for students, preparing timetables for the new academic year and many many emails.

This takes us to today where we are both over in Highfield attending the Graduation Ceremonies for our PhD and MSc students. We are so proud to see them come to the end of their time with us, where we can reflect on how well they have done and how far they have come on their personal journeys. It also gives us a chance to see the fruits of our hard work and to celebrate our own successes too.

We both feel strongly that a career combining teaching and research (with some mentoring too!) along with being mums and wives is not always an easy balance, but after a week like this, we know it is rewarding and simply better.

In the picture (left to right) is Associate Professor Nicola Englyst, PhD graduate Josh Welsh, and Associate Professor Judith Holloway.

Reflecting on achievements

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