UCL News


Spotlight on Sonja Van Praag

12 December 2013

This week the spotlight is on Sonja Van Praag, Web Content and Service Officer, Web & Mobile Services What is your role and what does it involve? I work for Web & Mobile Services (WAMS), which forms part of ISD.

Sonja Van Praag My job title is Web Content and Service Officer, which involves providing support for all websites at UCL that use our content management system 'Silva'. 

I'm also involved with projects that improve existing websites through stakeholder interviews and user research. I provide training for the CMS on a weekly basis as well as one-to-one support for website editors, and I support the team as and when required.

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I started at UCL in 2007 as a Faculty Information Support Officer (FISO) for Social & Historical Sciences. This role disappeared with the restructuring of ISD and I moved to Web & Mobile Services.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

I'm not sure there is one thing I could mention as both the previous and the current role are so varied. Keeping my sanity…?

Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?

Reconsidering the training I deliver. It needs to be modernised - i.e. take into account people's knowledge, or lack of, the web in 2013. I'd like to be able to offer more variety: more online learning, 'flipping the lecture', as well as provide real-life examples where attendees improve websites based on what they've learned. 

I keep moving it to the top of the list, but it's having a hard time staying there.

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

My current favourites are: 

Music: Regina Spektor (NY singer and pianist)

Film: La Grande Belleza by Paolo Sorrentino 

Novel: A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley or Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann - can't decide between them, I'm afraid.

What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?

If you live with a comedian, it's best not to do jokes. Trust me.

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

Obelix, Pippi Längstrump, Zebedee, Woodstock, Mafalda and, if available, Snowy.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I'm hoping to find the answer during the dinner party.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I've lived and worked in five different countries.

What is your favourite place?

Anywhere without people, a clean sea and warm weather.