Last term, we asked you to tell us about the amazing staff you've encountered at UCL and we were overwhelmed by how many of you got in touch to tell us about such positive stories. These nominations stand as an example of how research and teaching at UCL should progress and will help us show the university the kind of things that you want.
831 of you submitted 1086 nominations for 622 different staff members
Our panel of student judges read through ALL of those nominations and narrowed it down to three outstanding contributors in each category.
The winner of each award was announced at a ceremony on 4 June, and recieved a certificate and a £2000 prize.
Amazing Support Staff
Winner: Andrew King - European Social and Political Sciences
Andrew King been working as the European Social and Political Studies (ESPS) Programme Administrator for almost six years. He very much enjoys working in student-facing roles and gets a lot of satisfaction from providing support to students. ESPS is a multidisciplinary degree programme, resulting in some complex and challenging problems and queries to be dealt with but also makes the role very interesting and rewarding.
Students in the department have built up their own ‘fandom’ around Andrew, complete with memes. This is because of his amazing responsiveness “replying to emails quickly (sometimes within minutes!) with practical advice”, and enthusiasm for helping students to solve all kinds of practical problems on a complicated programme. Students know him as welcoming, supportive and passionate about the department, which “wouldn’t be the same without him!”
Shortlisted: Lisa Daniel - Institute of Archaeology
Lisa Daniel has been the Graduate Admissions and Research Student Administrator at the UCL Institute of Archaeology since 2002, providing administrative and pastoral care for students. Lisa has dyslexia and has suffered from anxiety, periods of depression and has undergone four operations during her time employed at UCL. These experiences have helped her to advise students who are experiencing similar difficulties. She also runs a ‘Don’t Panic – an administrator’s guide to paperwork’ for students outlining the processes and regulations during their registration.
Lisa has made a huge difference to her students not just because of her ability to keep students well-informed and supported, and “having the answer to everything we might need to know ”, but because of her outstanding support for students during stressful times. One student said of Lisa “At a time when I was doubting my abilities, my competence and my place as a research student she made me feel welcomed, valued, and that I was not alone.”
Shortlisted: Adnan Ali - Eastman Dental Institute
Adnan has been the Research Student Administrator at the Eastman Dental Institute (EDI) since August 2015. Adnan has made significant improvements to the experience of EDI and UCL for postgraduate research students, and helps PhD students prepare for professional life by arranging a designated seminar session with the UCL Head of the Academic Careers Office. He was instrumental in arranging workshops sessions for EDI students with the UCL Responsible Research and Innovation Hub – RRI - that provided a greater insight for PhD students regarding involvement with society in science and innovation and connecting different processes of research and society with public engagement, open access, ethics, and governance.
Adnan has had an extraordinary impact on the EDI research student community, helping to set up academic and social events, workshops and networks, and ensuring throughout that students are well-prepared for their future careers. He is described as “a colleague, a friend and seems always present when you need support”.
Active Student Partnership
Winner: Evi Katsapi - IOE - Psychology & Human Development
Evi is the programme director for the Bachelors in Psychology with Education and teaches on a variety of degrees, undergraduate and postgraduate, in the fields of dyslexia, autism, developmental disorders, inclusion and special education. Evi worked with autistic children for 15 years and has been running parents’ workshops and teachers’ training for schools and charities in the UK and abroad.
Students highlighted how Evi encourages and listens to their opinions, and cares about working with them to improve the department in a student-led fashion. She has also worked with students on ChangeMakers initiatives and organised events to help students gain skills for future careers. In the words of one student, Evi has established “a collaborative and warm environment within our programme in which students are encouraged to share their thoughts and are treated as partners”.
Shortlisted: Christine Reh - Department of Political Science
Christine Reh is Reader in European Politics in the Department of Political Science, where she also directs the MSc in European Public Policy and served as Head of Teaching. Christine has a long-standing interest in the European Union’s institutions, legislative politics and legitimacy. Her current research is on the impact of national electoral politics on EU-level decision-making.
Described by one student as “by far the most approachable, understanding and prepared teacher I experienced at my time at UCL”, Christine is known for her well-prepared, engaging and student-focused teaching, making links between her module content and current world events. She has encouraged students to develop their independent thinking by preparing and running their own seminars. This year, she has also been praised for her attitude during the UCU strikes, “helping students to mitigate the negative impact as much as possible without compromising the strike action” and even managing to help students understand the action through linking it to their coursework.
Shortlisted: Folashade Akinmolayan - Chemical Engineering
Dr Folashade Akinmolayan received her MEng and PhD from UCL, and is now a teaching fellow within the department of Chemical Engineering focusing on implementation of the Integrated Engineering Programme. She is the lead or co- coordinator on three core modules of the new curriculum structure, aimed at improving engineering education though the use of student-centred teaching methods. She is passionate about promoting engineering as a higher education option to underrepresented groups and has a particular interest in student awareness and development of employability skills.
Students have recognised Folashade for her outstanding work in creating bridges and partnerships between the students and staff in her department. She is “always warm and friendly” and often the students’ first port of call for questions and concerns. Folashade has been fantastic in actively seeking student feedback, which she implements to improve their academic experience and wellbeing. “With her we feel as though she gives us a voice inside of the Department and the Faculty, as she always strives to do what is right for us”.
Diverse and Inclusive Education
Winner: Helga Luthersdottir - SELCS
Prior to joining Scandinavian Studies at UCL Helga was the Head of the Nordic Studies Program at the University of Colorado. Her academic career has largely been teaching-focused, but she is now enjoying revisiting her research and preparing forthcoming publications. Her current research looks at visual representations of the Nordic Region, especially within the framework of popular culture and social media.
Helga has been nominated this year for her course on superhero films, which foregrounds discussions “concerning gender, sexual orientation, disability, and race and how they are represented in the genre”. She has made sure to develop a diverse watch-list, and her students have appreciated her encouragement of critical thinking and questioning towards “whitewashing” and “colonialist and problematic elements in the portrayal of the rest of the world in these films” throughout her module.
Shortlisted: David Roberts - Bartlett School of Architecture
David Roberts is a Teaching Fellow in Design and History & Theory at the Bartlett School of Architecture, and Research Ethics Fellow at the Bartlett Faculty of Built Environment. Alongside his teaching and research, he is part of collaborative art practice Fugitive Images, and of architecture collective Involve, working with community groups whose homes and livelihoods are under threat from urban policy, and with primary and secondary school children to extend architectural education.
Students have praised David’s highly inclusive and diverse curriculum design, which introduced many to the concept of intersectionality, leading one student to feel “for once totally liberated”. He is also recognised for the open, discursive and respectful style of his teaching, “from the range of critical topics mentioned, to the way in which he prompted conversations but did not dominate discussions, to the inclusive and encouraging nature of his teaching approach”.
Shortlisted: Luiza Campos - Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering
Currently a Senior Lecturer at CEGE-FES, Luiza Campos is a civil engineer with PhD in environmental engineering from Imperial College. She has more than 25 years of work experience gained from both the water industry and academia. She is co-founder of the FES-Women in Engineering Taster Course, and has recently acted as the CEGE-DEOLO and led the Athena Swan application (2016) which granted CEGE a Bronze Award for advancing gender equality practice.
As well as ensuring that her research is inclusive and empowering to women and other minority groups, Luiza has championed inclusive education within her department and has been recognised by the students for the difference she has made to BME, LGBT+, disabled and women students.
Brilliant Research-Based Education
Winner: Brenda Parker - Biochemical Engineering
Brenda’s doctoral research investigated how proteins could be artificially evolved for green chemistry. However, her postdoctoral work at the University of Cambridge took her to a new shade of green: microalgae. Her research at UCL focuses on how we can use photosynthetic microorganisms for sustainable industrial biotechnology. Brenda is the Co-Director of a new course in Bio-Integrated Design in collaboration with the Bartlett School of Architecture, and also the Science and Engineering Pathway Rep for BASc.
Students have been particularly enthusiastic about the different ways in which Brenda draws on cutting edge research in academia and in industry through her teaching, including exciting collaborations with relevant guest speakers and linking her module content to new companies, processes and research. In particular, one student cited Brenda’s encouragement for her group to conduct original research, which she then organised to be presented to a panel of industry experts.
Shortlisted: Lucy O'Brien - Philosophy
Lucy O‘Brien is Professor of Philosophy at UCL. Her research interests lie in the philosophy of mind and action, with a particular focus on self-consciousness and self- knowledge. She has more recently been working on self-consciousness understood in a broader setting - working on interpersonal self- consciousness, the nature of self-conscious emotions, and self-consciousness and addiction.
Lucy has been nominated for how well she brings her own research into her teaching, which makes her courses “inspiring, refreshing, and truly unique”, without her research dominating discussion. She has also been praised for her excellent emphasis on independent thought amongst her students, encouraging to pursue their own interests through research-focused assessment designs.
Shortlisted: Yasutada Sudo - Linguistics
Yasutada Sudo is a Lecturer at the Department of Linguistics. He obtained his PhD in Linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012, and held a post-doctoral researcher position at the Institut Jean Nicod, Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris in 2012-2013, before coming to UCL in September 2013.
Yasutada has made tremendous efforts to building a strong research community in his department, and has organised an array of events that support and develop students as researchers. This includes setting up reading groups based on students’ topics, encouraging applications to conferences and summer schools, and setting up the London Semantics Network, where students and researchers can collaborate on and discuss new work with other institutions. Students have praised him as supportive and insightful, with one writing that “Every aspect of my research, learning, and involvement with the field has been enhanced by Yasu's participation”.
Winner: Alison Hicks - Information Studies
Alison Hicks is a Lecturer on the MA in Library and Information Science in the Department of Information Studies where she teaches and supervises dissertations on topics that relate to how people engage with information. With an MA in French and Spanish from St Andrews and an MSIS from the University of Texas, Austin, Alison's research centres on information literacy and questions of transition within intercultural settings.
Alison’s feedback is described as “timely, detailed, specific and clear”, as well as highly tailored and containing the right amount of humour. Students have welcomed her feedback as extremely constructive and encouraging of reflection, including ample suggestions for further reading that have expanded their horizons. Beyond feedback on course assessments, one student also describes Alison’s feedback and support in applying for a student award for a conference as “[giving] me confidence in my abilities and motivating me to apply”.
Shortlisted: Chris Yates - IOE - Education, Practice & Society
Chris has been commended for his extremely thorough, detailed and personalised feedback on assignments. One student writes “It was not only due to the important observations, questioning and even encouragement he gave throughout my essay. It was about the quality of it, the provision of critique with clear solutions to my predicaments”. The student also noted how he provided a structured five pages of further reading suggestions, all with the student’s future academic needs in mind.
Shortlisted: Helen Fielding - Chemistry
Helen Fielding has been a Professor at UCL since 2003, and is currently Head of Physical Chemistry. Her research has been recognised by RSC Harrison (1996), Marlow (2001) and Corday-Morgan (2005) medals and the IOP Moseley medal (2008). Alongside her research, she has made major contributions to the Royal Society of Chemistry which were recognised by an Award for Service in 2017.
Helen has been nominated for her quick, clear and considerate feedback. One student in particular has praised Helen’s outstanding provision of feedback during a literature review project, which is described as “prompt, constructive, and insightful”. Helen is a proactive communicator whose feedback inspires students to think creatively and critically. As one student wrote: “I came to the meetings with lists of questions and came away not only with answers, but with new ideas to write about, new papers to read, and increased motivation”.
Excellent Personal Tutoring
Winner: Gabriel Moshenska - Institute of Archaeology
Gabriel Moshenska has been at UCL since he was an undergraduate, and is now Senior Lecturer in Public Archaeology. He works on the archaeology of the Second World War, the history of scientific studies of Egyptian mummies, and the public understanding of the past. He is active in promoting awareness of mental health issues in academia for both students and staff, and in challenging the silence and stigma that surround it.
Gabriel’s students describe him not just as caring and available, but as someone who “makes sure that we are doing what we are doing because we love it”. He was commended for providing excellent advice, on both personal and academic matters. One student noted the incredible level of support provided by Gabriel after they were sexually assaulted, and experienced significant mental health challenges thereafter, noting simply that “Gabe saved my life”.
Shortlisted: Anne Welsh - Information Studies
Anne Welsh is a Lecturer in Library and Information Studies. Before becoming a full-time academic in 2009, she worked as a librarian, mainly in special libraries and collections, for fifteen years. Her research investigates how people and institutions collect, organise and access their books. As well as a module on Cataloguing and Classification, she teaches Historical Bibliography, which covers the book as object from the birth of printing to the 21st century.
As well as being noted as an extremely enthusiastic and engaging lecturer, Anne has been nominated for the extraordinary pastoral support she has provided. Not only is she mindful of and understanding towards any stress and difficulties her students may face, providing invaluable emotional support, she has helped students find and manage practical solutions. One student describes her as “the linchpin that has held everything, including myself, together; moreover, she is the abiding memory that I will take away with me”.
Shortlisted: Phyllis Illari - Science and Technology Studies
Phyllis Illari taught at Stirling and Bristol, and completed postdocs in Kent and Hertfordshire, before joining UCL's Science and Technology Studies Department in 2012. She teaches classes in philosophy of science, particularly Science and Ethics and Philosophy of Information. From September 2016 she has been undergraduate tutor, and has gained an enormous respect for the maturity and persistence of UCL students who are impressive in the face of challenges difficult enough to fell far more experienced professionals.
Phyllis is valued by students for her immensely caring and available pastoral support. She was praised for always taking the time to listen to students’ difficulties, demonstrating compassion for her students through hours-long sessions and brief casual chats to check they were doing okay. One student described how Phyllis helped them through a difficult time struggling with trauma following a sexual assault and family pressures: “Even when everything was screaming at me to stop my degree - family, friends, myself, Phyllis helped me develop my own strength to continue”.
Inspiring Teaching Delivery
Winner: Yordanka Velkova - SSEES
Dr Yordanka Velkova is a Lecturer in Bulgarian Language, Literature and Culture at UCL, and a Lecturer at The Faculty of Slavonic Studies at Sofia University, Bulgaria. Yordanka is also a teacher of Bulgarian at The Bulgarian Cultural Institute London. She has co-authored 6 textbooks of Bulgarian for Foreigners and has published many research papers linked to her academic interests in the field of (Morpho)Phonology, Morphology, Dialectology and Colloquial Speech. Yordanka loves sunny days and smiley people.
Yordanka has cultivated a great deal of enthusiasm for Bulgarian amongst her students through her passionate teaching, creative ideas for teaching activities, and the way in which she constantly steeps her class in “real world” Bulgarian culture. Students have praised her for selecting engaging topics for language discussion, adapting to students’ individual interests, and for her varied and innovative ways of involving her students in Bulgarian culture both in and out of the classroom, including audio-visual and literary current affairs texts, restaurant visits and links with the Bulgarian Cultural Institute in London.
Shortlisted: Karen Dwyer - English Language and Literature
Karen Dwyer is a teaching fellow in linguistics within the English department, where she teaches modules on grammar, research methodology and the role of language in various contexts. Her main research interests are psycholinguistics, language and communication disorders in mental health, and more recently she has been exploring language within religious contexts. She is currently working on the expression of out-of-the-ordinary religious experiences, and narratives of spirit possession.
Karen has been singled out in particular for her extremely personal and tailored approach to teaching. Her classes are described as extraordinarily engaging, well-prepared and informative, but she has been especially praised for her ability to make each student in her class feel included and valued. She makes an effort to get to know her entire class and adapts her teaching style around students’ interests and contribution.
Shortlisted: Yiannis Petridis - Mathematics
Yiannis Petridis is Professor of Mathematics since 2017 and has been teaching at UCL since 2007. His research focuses on analytic number theory and the spectral theory of automorphic forms. As Chair of the Department Teaching Committee he focused on the modernisation of the curriculum, linking it to current trends in mathematical research, and supporting problem-based learning. He is passionate about his teaching and strives to instill passion and enthusiasm to his students.
A perennial nominee for teaching awards, Yiannis Petridis is an extremely popular figure within the Department of Mathematics. Students have commended not only his clear passion for his subject, engaging teaching and detailed, constructive feedback, but also his dedication to each individual student, taking the effort to learn each of their interests and career aspirations and adapting his teaching accordingly. One student writes that he “really brightens up my time in UCL and he is one of the biggest reasons I will recommend my department to other people”.
Outstanding Research Supervision
Winner: David Scanlon - Chemistry
Dr David O. Scanlon is a Reader in Computational, Inorganic and Materials Chemistry. He was appointed to a Lectureship in 2013, and to Reader in 2016. He leads the Materials Theory Group, which is focused on computationally driven materials design at UCL, especially within the remit of solid state materials for renewable energy applications. David's research is sponsored by the EPSRC, the ERC, the Faraday Institution and Industry.
David is extremely popular in his (and other) research groups, and has been exceptional in establishing collaborative partnerships with his students and building their careers. He has been commended for the detailed personal attention he pays to each individual student, his enthusiasm in encouraging his groups to work with cutting-edge technologies, and his dedication to helping his students find and make the most of academic opportunities.
Shortlisted: Marcos Martinón-Torres - Institute of Archaeology
Marcos Martinón-Torres is Professor of Archaeological Science at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, where he trains scientists and archaeologists to work together, and leads research on the application of scientific techniques to understanding the past. His teaching philosophy is simple: he trusts the ability of his students, and believes everyone has something to offer to a research and learning environment. Rather than telling students what to do, he tries to enable and support them as they lead their own projects and learn from each other.
Marcos’ students value his emphasis on their development and critical thinking, also praising his enthusiasm and welcoming attitude to the lab, as well as his outstanding attention to their pastoral wellbeing and academic and career development.
Shortlisted: Tammaryn Lashley - Institute of Neurology
Tammaryn Lashley is a Principal research fellow based at Queen Square Brain Bank at the Institute of Neurology. The main focus of her research is to understand the neurodegenerative processes underlying dementia with the use of post-mortem human brain tissue. She is currently the departmental tutor for molecular neuroscience and supervises 11 PhD students who are investigating the pathological differences of the dementias.
Tammaryn has been nominated in particular for her excellence in supporting research students who are going through challenging times, and for her belief in and encouragement of students when their own self-confidence is lacking. As well as being recognised as an attentive, supportive and collaborative supervisor, she has been specifically thanked for her outstanding support of one student who switched to her supervision after becoming disheartened over their PhD, who writes that “if it wasn’t for Tammaryn and her unwavering support and encouragement, I would have quit my PhD and disregarded any further career in science altogether”.