Space ambassadors Your regional space education support
There are seven regional space ambassadors associated with the ESERO-UK project; they can each be freely contacted for advice and guidance on space activities and useful teaching resources. You can find the biography and contact details for your local space ambassador below.Find Your Local Space Ambassador
Allan Clements - North East, Yorkshire and the Humber
Allan Clements graduated with a first class honours degree in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Reading in 1973. He went on to do research in physical chemistry and was awarded a PhD in 1976. He joined ICI plc as a research chemist and over nearly 30 years with the company gained substantial experience in manufacturing, business management and the acquisition/divestment of businesses in an international context. He ran ICI's European Explosives business before becoming Director of the Chemical Industry Education Centre (CIEC) at the University of York in 2005. He is totally committed to helping and supporting teachers to help their students achieve their potential in STEM subjects.
His work at the CIEC used the chemical industry as the successful context to support the teaching of science, particularly in primary schools. Allan, as manager of the ESERO-UK project at the National STEM Centre, is now looking forward to using the exciting Space context to enrich the teaching of STEM subjects across all school years and inspire pupils to take and enjoy STEM subjects.
Allan is also a primary school governor and is the President of the Association of Science Education's Yorkshire & Humber region.
Mike Grocott - South West
From: England - South West
Mike Grocott is a Physics AST and teaches at Callington Community College, he was awarded a Gatsby Teachers Fellowship for his work on producing support materials for non physicists. Mike has presented at the Space Exploration Educators Conference in Houston, Texas and worked with Lego Education on the use of Lego Robotics in the curriculum.
Callington Space Centre is an educational resource based at Callington Community College located on the Cornish/Devon border. The centre is run by Mike Grocott, resident astronomer Clive Purchase and Office manager and educational support staff Lisa Grocott. The courses offered are suitable for all ages from 6-106. The main focuses of the courses are for Key Stage 1-5. These are led by Clive whilst teacher INSET conferences are delivered by Mike.
All the courses and residential experiences offered are designed by Mike, however these courses can be tailored to suit individual schools' needs.
Clive has been an Astronomer for the past 30 years, he worked with Rutherford Appleton Laboratory on the 1999 solar eclipse and was awarded a Millennium Award for his work in the community. Clive travels extensively around the Southern Counties delivering the vast range of courses offered.
Dan Hillier is Head of Public Engagement with National Laboratories, at the Science and Technology Facilities Council. He leads the leads the UK Dark Sky and Big Telescope public engagement programmes.
ESERO-UK in Scotland has a steering group with representatives from all the sectors involved in space education in Scotland:
- Dan Hillier, Royal Observatory Edinburgh Visitor Centre
- Stuart Farmer, Association for Science…Read more Education Scotland
- Gregor Steel, SSERC
- Alison McLure, Institute of Physics Scotland
- John Brown, Glasgow University/Astronomer Royal for Scotland
- Martin Hendry, Glasgow University
- Moyna Kennedy, STEMNET Scotland
- Jo Foo, Glasgow Science Centre
- Joanne Ward, Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland, Scottish Government
- Wendy French, Learning and Teaching Scotland
- Ross White, Scottish Enterprise
- Lesley Bragg, Skills Development Scotland
- Gordon McVie, Scottish Space School, Strathclyde University
Tom Mason - Northern Ireland
028 3752 3689
From: Northern Ireland
Dr Tom Mason is a geologist and has been Director of Armagh Planetarium since August 1996. He studied at Queen's University Belfast and his undergraduate degree in 1971 was followed by research into the Carboniferous palaeoenvironments of west Fermanagh which earned him a PhD in July 1974. From July 1974 to August 1996 he worked in South Africa as an academic geologist, researcher and consultant: he was promoted from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer, and from Associate Professor to ad hominem Research Professor and Director of the Marine Geoscience Unit at the Department of Geology & Applied Geology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Based at the Durban campus of UKZN Tom's research and consulting interests encompassed a diverse range of topics including dinosaurs and mammal-like reptiles, trace fossils, coal deposits, diamond deposits on the African southwest coast, Namibian desert palaeoenvironments, and coastal zone geology and geomorphology. He is the author of over 100 scientific papers.
In 1996 he returned to Northern Ireland as Director of Armagh Planetarium. Since then he has driven a programme of rebuilding, refurbishment and re-investment, and the rebuilt Armagh Planetarium re-opened to the public in August 2006. Honoured with the award of an MBE in March 2006 for his services to astronomy education in Northern Ireland, he planned Armagh Planetarium's rebirth.
He has a long term interest in working with young people and special needs children and served as the Department of Education's representative governor of Lisanally Special School. He has been active in adult education and life-long learning throughout his professional career, running special palaeontology field trips for interested amateurs in South Africa, and working with community education groups. He has made numerous presentations of science and astronomy workshops and continues to develop new workshops and demonstrations for schools to promote the STEM agenda. He served as President of the British Association of Planetaria from 2005 to 2008 and is currently an office bearer and President of the International Planetarium Society .
Andy Newsam - North West and Shropshire
Andy Newsam's first degree was in Computation Physics at Warwick University after which he decided to move into astronomy and completed a PhD at Glasgow University. After submitting his thesis on "Mapping the Large Scale Structure of the Universe" he entered the heady world of observational astronomy with a Postdoctoral job at Southampton University studying the Cosmic X-ray Background. Andy describes how "After discovering some of the delights of professional observation (jet-lag, freezing cold, sleep deprivation, altitude sickness etc.) I became hooked and have taken every opportunity since to go observing".
Andy has always had a big interest in the public reaction to and appreciation of science and when the opportunity came to move up to Liverpool John Moores University in 1998 to work on a big project to get the general public, and especially school children, actively involved in astronomy through the use of professional telescopes, he grabbed it with both hands and has been there ever since. The project, which has since evolved into the National Schools' Observatory, brings together astronomy, high-technology, education and enterprise in a way that is unique. The aim is to allow school children to make their own observations alongside professional astronomers on top-quality telescopes. Based around the Liverpool Telescope - the largest fully-robotic telescope in the world - the full power of the Internet has been brought to bear to open-up the science, excitement and beauty of the Universe to a whole generation of children (and their parents and teachers!)
This has led Andy to develop a keen interest in using Space as a means of promoting a wider appreciation of science as a whole and he is involved in a range of projects - regional, national and international. Examples include: starting up a Merseyside Branch of the British Science Association, providing input on education and outreach to the Astronet project (which provides a Roadmap for Astronomy and Space research in Europe), being the Institute of Physics Schools' Lecturer for 2010 and founding the Science Butlers experimental street theatre company. In recognition of his wide range of experience he was awarded a Readership in Astronomy Education by the university in 2006.
Alongside all that, Andy's astronomical research has continued. Andy tends to work on projects that have a large quantity of observations data to deal with and he specialises in trying to turn hundreds (or even thousands) of sets of data into a collection of workable, useful numbers. Because of that he is involved in a number of different "fields" in astronomy from extra-solar planets, through microlensing studies to gamma-ray bursts and quasars.
Anu Ojha - Midlands and South East
0116 258 2133
Anu Ojha has been Director of Education and Space Communications at the National Space Centre, Leicester since 2008 and is Director of the National Space Academy programme (STFC, ESA, UK Space Agency).
Formerly Assistant Headteacher (Director of Science and Mathematics) at the largest Specialist Science College in the UK, he was awarded Advanced Skills Teacher status by the Department for Education (DfE) in 2003 and in 2010-2011 was a Lead Practitioner for the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (physics) whilst working at Cardinal Newman School in Coventry.
He has led masterclasses at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (2008-2010) as well as at the 2010 and 2011 ESA (European Space Agency) annual Teacher Conferences held at ESTEC in Holland. In addition to being appointed as an ESA “space ambassador” he has worked as a consultant for ESA at the European Space Astronomy Centre (Madrid) using data from the SOHO solar observatory.
In 2010 he was awarded the Sir Arthur Clarke Award for Inspiration by the UK space industry.
Paul Roche - Wales
Dr. Paul Roche is Director of the Faulkes Telescopes Project, and since 2000 has been the UK National Schools' Astronomer (funded by a Science and Society fellowship from STFC, based at Cardiff University). He has spent over 20 years researching massive stars, neutron stars and black holes, and working in schools and public outreach.
Paul has previously worked at the University of Sussex, Leicester University and the National Space Centre, University of Glamorgan, Techniquest Science Discovery Centre, Cardiff University and the Open University. He is currently Subject Leader in Astronomy at the University of Glamorgan, where he has just established a new BSc degree in Observational Astronomy.
His current outreach role involves promoting the new generation of robotic, internet-controlled telescopes, such as the Faulkes Telescopes, located in Hawaii and Australia. These form the start of a global telescope network, primarily for research but with strong educational possibilities.
Other Space Partners
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock is a space scientist, she studied at Imperial College where she obtained a degree in Physics and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. Since then she has spent her career making novel, bespoke instrumentation. These have ranged from hand held land mine detectors to systems for the James Webb Space Telescope.
Maggie also has a science in society fellowship from the Science and Technology Facilities Council held at UCL. This enables her to engage the public with the science she loves. Through this work Maggie makes regular appearances on television and radio as a space and education expert and presenting science to a general audience.
To further share her love of science, Maggie has also set up her own company Science Innovation Ltd. Through this Maggie conducts â€œTours of the Universeâ€¬Ě and other public engagement activities, these show school children and adults the wonders of space. To date she has given these talks to over 100,000 people across the globe (90,000 of these have been school children in the UK) and has also produce a film through her company called Space in the UK, which features Maggie on a Big Brother¬Ě spaceship on a journey to Mars.
Having obtained a BSc Special Honours in Physiology at the University of Sheffield, Sue went on to take a year’s PGCE that led to a career in teaching. She became a deputy head teacher and acting head but never relinquished her love of science and enthusiastically took on the role of science subject leader in addition to other responsibilities. Her career changed direction after spotting an advert for advisory teacher at CIEC Promoting Science, Dept of Chemistry at the University of York.
In her new role, she delivered the Children Challenging Industry project across the North West. Her job entailed persuading manufacturing industries to run exciting visits to their sites for primary children, delivering CPD for teachers and teaching practical investigative science to 8-11 year olds. In 12 years as advisory teacher, she worked with more than 10,000 primary-aged pupils and 3,000 primary teachers, carrying out exciting, practical, enquiry-driven science lessons set within industrial contexts. She recruited over 70 chemical and allied companies across the region and helped them to plan visits to their sites for primary pupils, in order to increase the children’s motivation for science and increase their awareness of its relevance to their daily lives, the products they use, and the industry around them. Her work was acknowledged recently when she received an award for ‘outstanding contribution’ from the Chemical Industries Association.
Other responsibilities have included: developing resources for teachers and industry; training ambassadors to support primary teachers in the classroom; mentoring groups of primary schools hoping to achieve the prestigious Primary Science Quality Mark award and coordinating a project for HE STEM that involved building links between primary schools, high schools and universities. Most recently, she played a key role in developing the innovative resource ‘Is There Anyone Out There?’ sponsored by ESERO, based upon real space missions seeking to find evidence of life on Mars. Sue has enjoyed enthusing primary teachers to deliver the practical investigations from the resource, aiming to inspire young scientists to develop an interest in STEM subjects and pursue possible careers in this field.
She has led, and helped to develop, courses for teachers and teaching assistants at the National Science Learning Centre, is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a Trustee on the board of Catalyst Science Discovery Centre and Museum.
Judith Green is a passionate and enthusiastic teacher of science at Robert Smyth School in Leicestershire. She is an Advanced Skills Teacher and Lead Educator with Space Academy, a partnership between the National Space Centre, the Universities of Nottingham and Leicester, the Science Learning Centre network and STEMNET.
At school she is based in Robert Smyth’s Space Education Centre which is not only a great venue for teaching but also a centre for community space events and masses of outreach work including evening classes, primary school workshops and teacher training.
Judith has presented at the Space Exploration Educators Conference in Houston, Texas and was awarded the Royal Society’s Hauksbee medal for excellence in supporting STEM in 2010.
Vicki is an AOCS (Attitude and Orbit Control Systems) Engineer for Astrium Ltd based in Stevenage. She currently works on the GAIA Spacecraft Project and is responsible for one of the five spacecraft “operational modes” designed to control the attitude and orbit of the spacecraft throughout its 6.5 year lifetime. She graduated in 2006 from the University of Surrey gaining a degree in Physics with Satellite Technology and joined Astrium Ltd shortly afterwards as part of the Graduate development programme.
Vicki has recently become the Education Outreach Officer at Astrium Ltd’s Stevenage site having been heavily involved in educational outreach activities since joining the company. She was responsible for developing and implementing a visit programme for school groups visiting the Astrium sites which involves a series of activities designed to help students understand the importance of Space technology in their daily lives and to show them how the Physics and Maths they are learning at school can be used to design and build spacecraft. The programme has been a huge success, inspiring the next generation of satellite engineers and space scientists. In her role as Education Outreach Officer, she manages the development of new educational resources to be used for company outreach and takes part in many STEM events and activities in local schools.
In May 2009 she was awarded the Institute of Physics and Shell Very Early Career Woman Physicist of the Year Award for her work in industry and in promoting Physics to the younger generation.
In addition she runs an Engineering Masterclass for the Royal Institution of Great Britain as part of their Engineering Masterclasses series. She has also given some public lectures organised through the Institute of Physics.
In her spare time she is a Cub Scout Leader at her local Cub pack.
David Jenkins has a PhD in nuclear physics. Following research posts at Argonne National Laboratory in the US and the University of Liverpool, he moved to the University of York with a five-year EPSRC Advanced Fellowship. He is now a Reader in the Department of Physics at the University of York. He carries out research into experimental nuclear physics and nuclear astrophysics at a range of facilities in Europe and North America such as CERN. He teaches astronomy and astrophysics to undergraduate students and is in charge of the joint Physics with Astrophysics degree programme at York. He is responsible for the university observatory and its optical telescopes.
David is extensively involved in public engagement work. In 2007-2009, he held an STFC Science-in-Society fellowship during which time he worked closely with the National Science Learning Centre, including running his own Teachers Conferences on nuclear physics. He has given major public lectures at science festivals and elsewhere. He runs a variety of outreach events for schools involving hands-on workshops and astronomical observing. He is developing the university observatory site into an "Astrocampus" for public engagement with the local community and schools.
Tom Lyons has a BSc in Physics from Sussex University, and an MSc in Space Science from UCL. Tom spent 4 years working as a payload systems engineer for EADS Astrium Ltd, in Portsmouth. At Astrium, he spent most of his time working on the test satellites for Galileo, the European constellation of global positioning satellites. Whilst working there, he led activities in the Science and Engineering Ambassadors Scheme.
In 2005, Tom completed a PCGE in Secondary Science and started teaching Physics and Electronics A-level, at The Sixth Form College Farnborough. He spent 6 years in teaching before moving to his current role as ESERO Teacher Fellow, at the National STEM Centre. Tom would like to use his teaching experience and passion for physics and space science to help teachers use space as a context to enhance their teaching of STEM subjects.
Heather MacRae has been involved in a range of space education outreach projects working with the UK Space Agency. Venture Thinking, Space Adventures, Astrium, CosmOnline, Queen Mary University of London and the Royal Aeronautical Society amongst others. Heather's work on projects such as Mission X Train Like an Astronaut, Calling all Mars Explorers, Media Space and Out of This World Classroom have led to the award of the 2012 Arthur for space education outreach and the National Career Guidance Award in 2009 for her work in raising awareness of STEM careers. Other awards include the Rolls Royce Science Prize for work with developing primary space programmes with Grove Primary School and St. Michaels' Primary School. The Media Space programme was awards a Royal Aeronautical Society Centennial Award and the London Education Partnership Award for Curriculum Innovation.
Heather has undertaken a range of consultancy assignments for The Ideas Foundation, London Borough of Newham, University of Arts London, and The Learning Trust amongst others. Particular areas of interest are exciting cross curricular programmes involving STEM and space themes, employer engagement and work related learning, careers education and guidance and development of curriculum resources to support teaching and learning in science.
Heather has a Masters Degree in Careers Education and Guidance, a Masters in Business Administration as well as a first degree in English. Heather is originally from Canada and her love of space stemmed from a third grade visit to the Observatory in Ottawa and the beautiful dark skies in Canada.
After a physics degree and research at the University of Chicago, Becky taught in a variety of schools and was a Senior Lecturer in physics at the University of Kent.
Becky has been involved in a number of initiatives to develop physics education, for example introducing particle physics into A level courses. She was a Special Adviser to the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology.
She is now Head of Physics at Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, Canterbury, and Director of the Langton Star Centre at the school. The Langton Star Centre allows school students to work alongside research scientists giving them opportunities to be involved in authentic research. The impact this is having in the school is significant with 180 students doing A level physics this year.
The centre has many exciting projects in development including putting a new style cosmic ray detector LUCID (Langton Ultimate Cosmic ray Intensity Detector) on the Techdemosat satellite which flies in 2012. Associated with this, they have set up a network of school-based cosmic ray detectors called CERN@school where students take data and collaborate to analyse it. They work with Queen Mary and GridPP to develop ways to extend access to this data more widely. They also use the Faulkes Telescopes and run a major Plasma Project with Imperial College.
Becky was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2008 and co-presented a recent BBC2 Horizon programme on Quantum Theory.
Joanne Rout studied Materials Science at Sussex and Cambridge Universities and then joined ICI New Science Group in Cheshire as a research scientist. During her exciting career in industry she held various positions including new product development, technical sales, marketing and project management for ICI, CIL Explosives and Johnson Matthey Catalysts.
Recently she has worked for CIEC at the University of York, NEPIC and STEMNET, promoting the study of STEM subjects in primary and secondary schools through inspirational real world contexts, mainly industrial. She is enthusiastic about lifelong learning and has gained an MBA and a teaching qualification and studied astronomy with the Open University. She is on the regional ASE committee, holding the position of Chair from May 2011.
As Space Ambassador for Durham and Teesside, Joanne will be promoting educational space resources to schools through her effective network in the North East of England.
Marino has a diploma in Mechanical Engineering and has studied mathematics, physics, electronics and digital technologies. He was president of the Institute of Information Scientists between 1991 and 1992 and the European Information Industry Association between 1984 and 1997. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.
Between 1967 and 1969 Marino worked for Timesharing Ltd as technical manager where he began operation of the first UK real time computing services. Marino then started his own company, Computer Terminals Ltd. Between 1977 and 1996 he worked as Head of the Information Retrieval Service (IRS) before beginning his work with ESA in Information Services Policy and External Relations where he was in charge of internal information policies and international co-operation agreements.
After retiring from ESA in 1997, he became project manager for the EU project e-Diamond for three years before project managing e.Med.com for three years also. Marino has been Chairman of the Association of Retired ESA Staff UK branch (ARES UK) since 2011.
Helen Schell is a visual artist and STEM Ambassador who specialises in artworks about space exploration, and is based in the north east of England. She became interested in space whilst doing an MA in Glass at the University of Sunderland in 2007.
She organises exhibitions, residencies and children’s education projects by using art and craft techniques to communicate science. Through diverse projects, she invents inclusive activities to get participants interested in space by them understanding its relevance to their everyday lives, and to visualise future space-age developments. She makes large mixed media art installations and paintings, often described as ‘laboratories’.
In 2010, she was artist in residence at Durham University's Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics, where she collaborated with scientists and created a Space-Time Laboratory.
In 2012, as ‘Maker in Residence’ at the Newcastle Centre for Life, she created 'Make it to the Moon', an interactive education experience, mainly for children, where they imagine setting up a colony on the Moon. These workshops also went to the London's Science Museum, and science festivals. Other projects include making 3 Smart Materials ball-gowns for Durham University’s NETPark outreach and being a judge for NASA's children’s art competition 'Humans in Space'.
Always aiming to reach diverse groups, in 2013 space art projects and workshops include Durham Cathedral, Hexham Abbey, and Gateshead Library for the Festival of the North East, and showing her Moon Rocket at the ESERO-UK Teachers Space Conference.
Alan has a BSc in Maths and Physics, and an MSc in Physics from London University. He has had over 25 years of experience in the design, manufacture and exploitation of both Communications and Scientific spacecraft starting in industry and subsequently joining ESA in 1970 and then INTELSAT in 1982. These projects encompassed UK5, Skynet II, GEOS, Hubble Space Telescope and INTELSAT series VI and VII spacecraft. He held project management positions for both the INTELST VI and VII series programmes in the US and then later in Europe.
Subsequently Alan became involved in Regional Innovation and Technology Strategy Programmes and Projects whilst working with the Kent Technology Transfer Centre managing a number of European and Regional projects. This included consultancy to Poland Hungary and Cyprus for the development of their regional strategies.
He was appointed a non-Executive Director of Stellar Solutions Aerospace Ltd., in 2004 and acted as a Consultant on some of the more important projects undertaken by the company e.g. The Strategic Development Plan for Space and Aeronautics within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sesame Project. Stellar Aerospace was a partner in the development of the Sesame, GMES (Black Sea) project proposal which although deemed acceptable at the time by the Commission, was not implemented due to lack of funding. He retired from this position in 2011.
Growing up in Scotland, Laura had a fantastic view of the nights sky and always wanted to learn more about what was out there. This led to her studying for a degree in Astrophysics with the University of Edinburgh and she graduated in 2005. After working for a year on a journal with IOP Publishing, Laura moved to London to work as the Outreach Manager for Mathematics and Physics at Queen Mary, University of London.
Over the last few years, along with colleagues and other partners, Laura has developed a range of outreach activities using space as a context. Still as passionate about the subject as she always has been, Laura talks at many schools and events around the UK with the aim of encouraging more people into the subject. In 2013 she will be the Institute of Physics Schools’ lecturer.
Through partnerships with organisations such as the Metro Newspaper and Venture Thinking, Laura has expanded successful local projects to a national level. She has also been the 'Cassini Scientist for a Day' competition co-ordinator for the past four years which has seen many budding scientists have the opportunity to take control of the Cassini spacecraft in orbit around Saturn.