Spotlight on Lucy Salmon
22 June 2012
This week the spotlight is on Lucy Salmon, UCL Outreach Officer, Post-16 Engagement, UCL Outreach.
What is your role and what does it involve?
On a basic
level, the work that we do in the Outreach office aims at raising awareness of
higher education issues among students whilst also promoting UCL as a great
choice for university. There are many layers to the job, though, and our office
runs a variety of activities that raise aspirations among under-represented
groups, such as the Horizons Saturday School and the Southwark Ambitions
In addition, we also work to promote both higher education and UCL in particular, at the State Schools and Colleges Conference and our annual undergraduate Open Day.
As part of
the post-16 team, a large portion of my role is schools liaison – talking to
teachers and careers advisors and arranging for UCL staff and students to visit
schools and colleges. We have a large network of Student Ambassadors who help
with this, as well as a panel of staff members from a variety of academic
I am frequently away from the office myself, attending school and college events all over the country, which is a really enjoyable aspect of the job.
coordinate UCL’s Year 12 and Junior Masterclasses, which are a series of one-off
sessions to allow state school students from ages 13-18 to get a taste of what
UCL has to offer.
These classes have a dual focus: allowing students from underrepresented groups to get an experience of university, while also allowing PhD students and academics a chance to showcase their latest research ideas.
Most recently, the Undergraduate Open Day has been taking up a lot of my time. The Open Day will take place on 4 July this year. We are expecting around 8,000 visitors with contributions from all departments who deliver undergraduate programmes – so, as you would expect, there is a lot of admin and prep work to get through every year.
Finally, I also spend much of my time helping prospective students at UCL’s Front Lodge enquiry desk. Here, I deal with face-to-face enquiries from students who are visiting UCL, as well as taking phone and email enquiries.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I started working at UCL in July 2010 as a
temporary member of staff and I was made permanent in March 2011, so I’ve
been working here for almost two years. Before that, I was actually a UCL
student – I studied at UCL’s History Department where I mostly focused on
modern American history.
I also worked as a UCL Student Ambassador during my studies, which is how I came to learn about the great work that the Outreach Office does, and it is also how I first began to take an interest in the issues surrounding higher education.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
This year I was in charge of launching a pilot series of Junior
Masterclasses aimed at Year 9–11 students ranging from ages 13 to 16 and I was
particularly proud of the success that we had with the Year 9 classes. These
classes were aimed at 13–14 year olds and their parents. The idea was to help
both groups learn more about university while also having fun as a family.
It was fantastic to see the parents engaging in the classes with their children, rather than just acting as chaperones. There were also plenty of proud mums and dads taking pictures of their children as they figured out experiments and worked together. In the end, I am not sure who enjoyed the sessions more, the students or the parents, and it was really satisfying to see.
What is your life like outside UCL?
Pretty normal, perhaps verging on boring. It’s great to unwind after a full day of running around by watching some trashy TV or reading a book on my Kindle.
I also love baking cakes, cookies, pastries and any kind of sweet thing you can think of. Sometimes if I’m not too greedy, my colleagues get to sample them the next day too – I think it’s helped to make me a valued member of the team!
To try and burn off all of the extra calories from baking, I also try to do a little bit of exercise. Usually walking or going to Zumba.