Work at UCL


Helen Wilson

Head of Department of Mathematics, Mathematics

What is your role and what does it involve?

I’m head of the mathematics department, and a member of academic staff. I give lectures to first year students, set exams, and give small group tutorials; I also carry out my own research in fluid mechanics, working with graduate students and postdocs. But in addition to the academic parts of the job, I have oversight of the running of the Mathematics department, from appointing new staff to pushing for new space.

How long have you been at UCL?

I’ve been here since 2004.

What attracted you to UCL?

UCL Mathematics has a really friendly reputation, and a strong history in fluid mechanics. But a key part of its appeal was being in London: when I moved here my husband and I were able to set up home together for the first time.

What and where was your previous role?

I was a lecturer for a few years at the University of Leeds before I moved to UCL.

What working achievement or initiative at UCL (or in previous work experiences) are you most proud of?

Our department has been in four floors of its current building for 60 years. This September – after a lot of planning and a complex summer of building works – we are gaining a fifth level. That’s a huge thing for the department.

Describe UCL in three words.

Friendly; diverse; exciting.

What is the best aspect about working at UCL?

We have fantastic students! Working with them is by far the best part of my job.

What does it feel like to be part of the UCL community? 

I’ve always felt welcomed here, since I was a junior member of staff. Now that I’m more senior, I hope I can keep that friendliness and openness.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I have two children, so most of my time outside work is spent with them. I watch a lots of children’s sport! In my real down time, though, I do love a cryptic crossword.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I had both my children while working at UCL. It’s tough, juggling the school day and all the little extras – plays, afternoon teas, sports days – but this job has always been flexible enough that as long as I get it all done in the end, I’m able to be present at all the important things for the kids as well.