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Getting to know....Kimberly Bentein

5 November 2018

Kimberly Bentein

What does your job involve?

I am the programme manager for the UCL Summer School and I am responsible for the development, delivery and management of all operational aspects of the programme.

A professor I used to work with once summed up my job by saying that I 'make things happen'. Sounds quite vague but I think it works. He went on to explain it to one of the students by saying I took care of all the things, big and small, that need to be in place to give them the space to focus on teaching and learning.

How long have you been at UCL? What did you do before this role?

I have been at CLIE for 3 years, the longest I have ever worked anywhere... Christine described my work history as eclectic in my job interview and while all my previous jobs have been in HE, I think it is quite fitting!

I worked in a couple of business schools, the education department at Shakespeare's Globe and the dance department of Roehampton University. Did you know dance anthropology is an academic discipline? No, neither did I but I can now say I have worked with the rock star of dance anthropology. She had pretty good life advice too: life is too short to waste on bad chocolate!

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

The UCL Summer School has been running for 3 years, student numbers have grown from 99 to 380 to 529 and student feedback has been consistently positive. Knowing that students were as happy with their experience when there were 529 of them as they were when there were only 99, that they do not feel as though they are just a number, feels like a massive achievement.

It has been an amazing effort by the team, Rhod, Holly and Rory (who works in student recruitment marketing) and so many others across CLIE and UCL. I am really proud to have been part of that and I look forward to welcoming 750 students to UCL next summer!

What's your favourite film and book?

Right now, off the top of my head and reserving the right to change my mind in about 5 minutes' time:

My favorite film is The Red Shoes (1948), the ballet sequence is gorgeous and the central question of the story is still relevant: can you have it all, your dream career AND a normal life?

The book I reread the most is Gifts of the Body by Rebecca Brown. I first read it for a uni class and have reread it at least once a year since. It manages to be both heartbreaking sad and incredibly uplifting at the same time. Plus is quite short so I have picked it up and read it in a single sitting because it was exactly what I needed at the time.

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

I used to work on MBA programmes which generally have this question on their application forms. You think after reading though all those answers, I would have a well prepared answer of my own by now…

I do know who would be doing the cooking! I love to cook but for this dinner party, I would hand over my kitchen to Marty Ginsburg, Ruth Bader Ginsburg's late husband who they say was an excellent cook. They even sell a book of his recipes in the Supreme Court gift shop! And I think he would tell you all the stories RBG is too conscious of her public persona to tell you herself.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I have been reliably informed that no one who has met me in the last 10 years would believe that I was a very quiet and extremely shy child and teenager. It is true though!

What's your favourite place in the world?

Seeing today's gloomy autumnal weather outside my office window? Curled up on the sofa, with a good book and either a glass of red wine or a mug of Chocolatl.

I highly recommend the Chocolatl recipe from The Little Library Cookbook by Kate Young.

Can you recommend somewhere to eat in London?

My current favourite is Andina (Redchurch St, Shoreditch) and its little sister Casita Andina (Great Windmill St, SoHo). The food tastes as amazing as it looks.

Fabrice's question for you from the last newsletter: "If you could take 6 months off with full pay what would you do?"

I volunteer for a local community kitchen (South Norwood Community Kitchen), which currently only runs on Saturdays as it uses space in a local church (unless there is a wedding on!).

They have just been awarded the lease of an old community centre by the local council which will allow them to do so much more. If I could take 6 months off, I would volunteer for them full time to help them get the new projects off the ground.

What's your question for the next colleague?

If you could go back to university now, what subject would you study?