CEO

Chris Vf

Dr Chris Wilson

Dr Chris Wilson is the CEO at The Brilliant Club, an education charity committed to supporting the progression of under-represented pupils to university by mobilising the research community to work with schools. During his time at The Brilliant Club, Chris has been a PhD tutor, rolled out the charity’s provision across the UK, co-founded the teacher training programme Researchers in Schools, and launched the charity’s five-year strategy, The Path to Outcomes. Chris trained as a medieval historian at the universities of Cambridge and Exeter.

Executive Leadership Team

Chris Vf

Dr Chris Wilson

Dr Chris Wilson is the CEO at The Brilliant Club, an education charity committed to supporting the progression of under-represented pupils to university by mobilising the research community to work with schools. During his time at The Brilliant Club, Chris has been a PhD tutor, rolled out the charity’s provision across the UK, co-founded the teacher training programme Researchers in Schools, and launched the charity’s five-year strategy, The Path to Outcomes. Chris trained as a medieval historian at the universities of Cambridge and Exeter.

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Ciara Lynch

Chief Operating Officer

Ciara joined as Operations Director in August 2016, where she oversees Finance, HR, IT, Marketing and Communications. Prior to joining the charity, she was Vice President of Operations at a financial services firm, where she worked for five years. During this time, she managed a team of analysts delivering research to credit investors and was responsible for business change and new strategic initiatives. Ciara graduated with a Master’s Degree in the History of International Relations from University College Dublin and a BA (hons) in History and Politics, also from University College Dublin, with one year spent at Sciences Po in Paris. She also has a Graduate Diploma in Law. Outside of work, she enjoys running and travelling.

Richard E Small

Richard Eyre

Chief Programmes Officer

Richard leads the Programmes Division, which encompasses The Brilliant Club’s two programmes for schools and our Research and Impact Department. Before joining The Brilliant Club, Richard worked as a public policy and strategy consultant, advising education system leaders in the UK and internationally. From 2014-2016 he worked in Washington DC as strategy director at the US Education Delivery Institute. A graduate of the Civil Service Fast Steam, Richard spent the first nine years of his career in the Department for Education and then the Home Office, serving in a range of high-profile policy and delivery roles spanning education, children’s policy and policing and security. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge, where he studied law. Richard is proud to have attended a state comprehensive school and is passionate about giving more young people fair access to the best that higher education, and life, has to offer.

Senior Leadership Team

Chris Vf

Dr Chris Wilson

Dr Chris Wilson is the CEO at The Brilliant Club, an education charity committed to supporting the progression of under-represented pupils to university by mobilising the research community to work with schools. During his time at The Brilliant Club, Chris has been a PhD tutor, rolled out the charity’s provision across the UK, co-founded the teacher training programme Researchers in Schools, and launched the charity’s five-year strategy, The Path to Outcomes. Chris trained as a medieval historian at the universities of Cambridge and Exeter.

ciara-lynch

Ciara Lynch

Chief Operating Officer

Ciara joined as Operations Director in August 2016, where she oversees Finance, HR, IT, Marketing and Communications. Prior to joining the charity, she was Vice President of Operations at a financial services firm, where she worked for five years. During this time, she managed a team of analysts delivering research to credit investors and was responsible for business change and new strategic initiatives. Ciara graduated with a Master’s Degree in the History of International Relations from University College Dublin and a BA (hons) in History and Politics, also from University College Dublin, with one year spent at Sciences Po in Paris. She also has a Graduate Diploma in Law. Outside of work, she enjoys running and travelling.

Richard E Small

Richard Eyre

Chief Programmes Officer

Richard leads the Programmes Division, which encompasses The Brilliant Club’s two programmes for schools and our Research and Impact Department. Before joining The Brilliant Club, Richard worked as a public policy and strategy consultant, advising education system leaders in the UK and internationally. From 2014-2016 he worked in Washington DC as strategy director at the US Education Delivery Institute. A graduate of the Civil Service Fast Steam, Richard spent the first nine years of his career in the Department for Education and then the Home Office, serving in a range of high-profile policy and delivery roles spanning education, children’s policy and policing and security. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge, where he studied law. Richard is proud to have attended a state comprehensive school and is passionate about giving more young people fair access to the best that higher education, and life, has to offer.

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Dr Lauren Bellaera

Research and Impact Director

Lauren Bellaera is the Director of Research and Impact at The Brilliant Club. She is responsible for evaluating the impact of the charity’s programmes on pupil outcomes. Lauren has also recently been appointed as a part-time Associate Lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London, and will be teaching a module on ‘Approaches to Applied Research’.

Lauren completed her PhD in cognitive psychology at the University of Warwick, where she investigated the effect of fear and sadness on spatial and temporal attention. She was then awarded an Early Career Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Study (Warwick), and as part of her fellowship she examined the role of the internet in classroom teaching and the role of open-space learning in master’s level teaching. In 2014 Lauren was appointed as a Research Associate at the University of Cambridge, where she oversaw a project evaluating the impact of a set of online educational resources on university students’ conceptual understanding and critical thinking skills.  Through her research, Lauren has worked with a number of educational organisations including IGGY and Macat.

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Susie Whigham

National Programme Director, The Scholars Programme

As National Programme Director Susie oversees the impact, growth and development of The Scholars Programme. Susie has been committed to tackling educational disadvantage throughout her career and ensuring that young people from deprived backgrounds have the opportunities and support to reach their potential. As part of the first cohort of Teach First Susie taught English in a secondary school in South-West London. During this time she set up a charity, Trust Youth, to support Year 10 pupils to develop the skills and experience to run fundraising campaigns for national charities. She subsequently worked as a Literacy Consultant for the government’s National Strategies programme in schools. As Executive Director of Services at School-Home Support, Susie has more recently had responsibility for a range of programmes tackling the underlying barriers to learning within the home, including the Troubled Families and the Parent Support Advisor initiatives.

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Leanne Adamson

National Programme Director, The Scholars Programme

Leanne studied Joint Honours in Chemistry and Physics at Durham University, where she received a First Class BSc and MSci. Upon graduating in 2011, she joined the Teach First programme where she taught Science at Churchill Community College in Newcastle for two years. Leanne has a strong interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and is passionate about helping more pupils progress into STEM related fields. She joined The Brilliant Club as a Programme Officer in 2013 and became National Programme Director for The Scholars Programme in 2017.

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Kike Agunbiade

National Programme Director, Researchers in Schools

Kike joined The Brilliant Club as National Programme Director for Researchers in Schools in October 2017. Prior to this, Kike was a Senior Education Lead at SSAT, the Schools, Students and Teachers Network, where she led on a number of high profile projects including middle and senior leadership programmes, Teaching Schools and their school improvement framework. Kike spent five years working at Teach First, where she was North London Manager, and has also worked for a range of charities in roles to support and develop teachers. Kike completed the Teach First Programme as Science Teacher in North London. She holds an MBA (Education) from Keele University and a post graduate certificate in Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education from the University of Edinburgh. Kike graduated from Merton College, University of Oxford, with an MChem in Chemistry.

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Angel-Ann D'Souza

Finance Director

Angel-Ann joined The Brilliant Club in February 2016 as The Finance Manager. Angel-Ann graduated from Trent university in Canada, where she studied Business and has her CPA, CMA designation in Canada. Prior to working at The Brilliant Club, Angel-Ann worked at Safran Electronics Canada in the Finance department.

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Rachel Lawrence

Curriculum and Development Director

Rachel read Theology at Trinity College Oxford, before doing a PGCE at St. Mary’s University College Twickenham. She later completed a Masters in Teaching at the Institute of Education, and is currently in her second year of an Educational Doctorate at Kings College London. Rachel worked as an Advanced Skills teacher for Hounslow LEA and London Challenge. She worked with primary and secondary teachers and in various subject areas including Humanities, Maths and Science. As part of her work as an AST she also worked as a visiting lecturer at St. Mary’s University College, Twickenham. She became Head of Religious Studies at Lampton School in 2011 and in 2012 led the department in their application to be one of the pilot schools for the national RE Quality Mark. The department was awarded the Gold Award which recognised the work of the department as consistently outstanding. Rachel is an Associate Senior Leader at Lampton School.

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Sabrina Luisi

External Affairs Director

Sabrina joined The Brilliant Club in July 2018, as Director of External Affairs. Sabrina is responsible for The Brilliant Club’s fundraising, communications, public affairs and building an alumni network; in short, helping people to understand, believe in and support the great work of The Brilliant Club.

Sabrina studied French and English at Leeds University, including a year in France working as a secondary school teacher. This sparked her interest in education and people development, which has been a common theme throughout her career. Sabrina grew up in an illiterate household, and this first-hand experience of educational inequality reminds her daily of the importance of supporting young people from all backgrounds to access education.

Sabrina’s experience includes the design and delivery of international development programmes and global communications within a leading IT company, before moving into the education charity sector when she joined Teach First in 2015. During her time at Teach First, Sabrina led the Teach First Access Department, expanded and developed the Higher Education Access programme, ‘Futures’, and established the Learning and Development team within Teach First.

Outside of work, Sabrina enjoys the theatre as both a spectator and performer, learning languages and is a member of two comedy improvisation groups.

The Scholars Programme Team

Chris Vf

Dr Chris Wilson

Dr Chris Wilson is the CEO at The Brilliant Club, an education charity committed to supporting the progression of under-represented pupils to university by mobilising the research community to work with schools. During his time at The Brilliant Club, Chris has been a PhD tutor, rolled out the charity’s provision across the UK, co-founded the teacher training programme Researchers in Schools, and launched the charity’s five-year strategy, The Path to Outcomes. Chris trained as a medieval historian at the universities of Cambridge and Exeter.

ciara-lynch

Ciara Lynch

Chief Operating Officer

Ciara joined as Operations Director in August 2016, where she oversees Finance, HR, IT, Marketing and Communications. Prior to joining the charity, she was Vice President of Operations at a financial services firm, where she worked for five years. During this time, she managed a team of analysts delivering research to credit investors and was responsible for business change and new strategic initiatives. Ciara graduated with a Master’s Degree in the History of International Relations from University College Dublin and a BA (hons) in History and Politics, also from University College Dublin, with one year spent at Sciences Po in Paris. She also has a Graduate Diploma in Law. Outside of work, she enjoys running and travelling.

Richard E Small

Richard Eyre

Chief Programmes Officer

Richard leads the Programmes Division, which encompasses The Brilliant Club’s two programmes for schools and our Research and Impact Department. Before joining The Brilliant Club, Richard worked as a public policy and strategy consultant, advising education system leaders in the UK and internationally. From 2014-2016 he worked in Washington DC as strategy director at the US Education Delivery Institute. A graduate of the Civil Service Fast Steam, Richard spent the first nine years of his career in the Department for Education and then the Home Office, serving in a range of high-profile policy and delivery roles spanning education, children’s policy and policing and security. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge, where he studied law. Richard is proud to have attended a state comprehensive school and is passionate about giving more young people fair access to the best that higher education, and life, has to offer.

lauren-bellaera

Dr Lauren Bellaera

Research and Impact Director

Lauren Bellaera is the Director of Research and Impact at The Brilliant Club. She is responsible for evaluating the impact of the charity’s programmes on pupil outcomes. Lauren has also recently been appointed as a part-time Associate Lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London, and will be teaching a module on ‘Approaches to Applied Research’.

Lauren completed her PhD in cognitive psychology at the University of Warwick, where she investigated the effect of fear and sadness on spatial and temporal attention. She was then awarded an Early Career Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Study (Warwick), and as part of her fellowship she examined the role of the internet in classroom teaching and the role of open-space learning in master’s level teaching. In 2014 Lauren was appointed as a Research Associate at the University of Cambridge, where she oversaw a project evaluating the impact of a set of online educational resources on university students’ conceptual understanding and critical thinking skills.  Through her research, Lauren has worked with a number of educational organisations including IGGY and Macat.

susiewhigham

Susie Whigham

National Programme Director, The Scholars Programme

As National Programme Director Susie oversees the impact, growth and development of The Scholars Programme. Susie has been committed to tackling educational disadvantage throughout her career and ensuring that young people from deprived backgrounds have the opportunities and support to reach their potential. As part of the first cohort of Teach First Susie taught English in a secondary school in South-West London. During this time she set up a charity, Trust Youth, to support Year 10 pupils to develop the skills and experience to run fundraising campaigns for national charities. She subsequently worked as a Literacy Consultant for the government’s National Strategies programme in schools. As Executive Director of Services at School-Home Support, Susie has more recently had responsibility for a range of programmes tackling the underlying barriers to learning within the home, including the Troubled Families and the Parent Support Advisor initiatives.

leanne-adamson

Leanne Adamson

National Programme Director, The Scholars Programme

Leanne studied Joint Honours in Chemistry and Physics at Durham University, where she received a First Class BSc and MSci. Upon graduating in 2011, she joined the Teach First programme where she taught Science at Churchill Community College in Newcastle for two years. Leanne has a strong interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and is passionate about helping more pupils progress into STEM related fields. She joined The Brilliant Club as a Programme Officer in 2013 and became National Programme Director for The Scholars Programme in 2017.

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Kike Agunbiade

National Programme Director, Researchers in Schools

Kike joined The Brilliant Club as National Programme Director for Researchers in Schools in October 2017. Prior to this, Kike was a Senior Education Lead at SSAT, the Schools, Students and Teachers Network, where she led on a number of high profile projects including middle and senior leadership programmes, Teaching Schools and their school improvement framework. Kike spent five years working at Teach First, where she was North London Manager, and has also worked for a range of charities in roles to support and develop teachers. Kike completed the Teach First Programme as Science Teacher in North London. She holds an MBA (Education) from Keele University and a post graduate certificate in Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education from the University of Edinburgh. Kike graduated from Merton College, University of Oxford, with an MChem in Chemistry.

angel-ann-dsouza

Angel-Ann D'Souza

Finance Director

Angel-Ann joined The Brilliant Club in February 2016 as The Finance Manager. Angel-Ann graduated from Trent university in Canada, where she studied Business and has her CPA, CMA designation in Canada. Prior to working at The Brilliant Club, Angel-Ann worked at Safran Electronics Canada in the Finance department.

rachel-lawrence

Rachel Lawrence

Curriculum and Development Director

Rachel read Theology at Trinity College Oxford, before doing a PGCE at St. Mary’s University College Twickenham. She later completed a Masters in Teaching at the Institute of Education, and is currently in her second year of an Educational Doctorate at Kings College London. Rachel worked as an Advanced Skills teacher for Hounslow LEA and London Challenge. She worked with primary and secondary teachers and in various subject areas including Humanities, Maths and Science. As part of her work as an AST she also worked as a visiting lecturer at St. Mary’s University College, Twickenham. She became Head of Religious Studies at Lampton School in 2011 and in 2012 led the department in their application to be one of the pilot schools for the national RE Quality Mark. The department was awarded the Gold Award which recognised the work of the department as consistently outstanding. Rachel is an Associate Senior Leader at Lampton School.

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Sabrina Luisi

External Affairs Director

Sabrina joined The Brilliant Club in July 2018, as Director of External Affairs. Sabrina is responsible for The Brilliant Club’s fundraising, communications, public affairs and building an alumni network; in short, helping people to understand, believe in and support the great work of The Brilliant Club.

Sabrina studied French and English at Leeds University, including a year in France working as a secondary school teacher. This sparked her interest in education and people development, which has been a common theme throughout her career. Sabrina grew up in an illiterate household, and this first-hand experience of educational inequality reminds her daily of the importance of supporting young people from all backgrounds to access education.

Sabrina’s experience includes the design and delivery of international development programmes and global communications within a leading IT company, before moving into the education charity sector when she joined Teach First in 2015. During her time at Teach First, Sabrina led the Teach First Access Department, expanded and developed the Higher Education Access programme, ‘Futures’, and established the Learning and Development team within Teach First.

Outside of work, Sabrina enjoys the theatre as both a spectator and performer, learning languages and is a member of two comedy improvisation groups.

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Dr Natalie Day

Area Director, North of England

Natalie joined the Brilliant Club in April 2016 as a Programme Officer for the North of England. Prior to joining the charity, Natalie completed an ESRC-funded PhD in Sociology at Newcastle University, exploring the formal and informal sexual learning processes of young heterosexual women in Northeast Brazil.

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Joe Loudon

Area Director, West of England

Joe joined The Brilliant Club in August 2014 as a Programme Officer, becoming Midlands Regional Director in January 2016. Whilst studying History and Hispanic Studies at the University of Sheffield, he worked for a Guatemalan NGO – developing the interest in education and teaching which led him to join the Teach First programme in Yorkshire after graduating where he taught History and English in Bradford. Before joining The Brilliant Club. Joe then spent a year teaching in a Japanese high school.

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Steph Hamilton

Area Director, South of England

Steph joined The Brilliant Club in August 2015 as The East of England Regional Director. She graduated from Durham University in 2012, where she studied Anthropology. Prior to working at The Brilliant Club, Steph was Head of Biology and Aspirations Coordinator at Dyke House Sports and Technology College, Hartlepool, where she taught for three years, after training with Teach First. As part of her role Steph was also the Lead teacher for The Scholars’ Programme at Dyke House, seeing many of her own pupils through the programme. Steph is passionate about extending access opportunities to rural and coastal communities, an interest which has grown out of her work in the North East and which prompted her to join and lead The Brilliant Club’s expanding of the South of England team.

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Lucy Preston

Area Director, East of England

Lucy joined The Brilliant Club in March 2016 as Programme Officer for the East of England. She graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2012. Prior to joining The Brilliant Club Lucy volunteered with City Year London before training as a Maths Teacher through Teach First in the West Midlands.

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David Jones

Teaching and Learning Director

David joined The Brilliant Club in 2015 as a Programme Officer before becoming the Teaching and Learning Manager for The Scholars Programme in March 2016. David graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2010, where he studied Modern History. Prior to working at The Brilliant Club, David worked at an educational charity running supplementary schools before going to complete his PGCE at the University of Bath. David then worked as a Year 5 class teacher at Belleville Primary School in south London.

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Greg Scannell

National Manager for Wales

Greg joined as National Manager for Wales, in January 2017, overseeing the growth and running of The Scholars Programme following its launch in Wales in Autumn 2016. Prior to joining the charity, he was a Leadership Development Officer for Teach First Cymru supporting new teachers entering the profession with both their practice and their well-being. Greg also worked for 5 years as a Humanities teacher at a large South West Wales Comprehensive school and as an Access Assistant Coordinator at the University of Oxford. He graduated from the University of Cambridge with a Master’s Degree in Education and a BA (Hons) in Theology from the University of Oxford. Outside of work, Greg enjoys spending time with his young family and attending live music and sports events.

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Dr Andrew Fleming

Regional Manager, London

Andy joined the Brilliant Club in March 2016 as a Programme Officer for London and the South East. Prior to joining the charity, Andy completed an AHRC-funded DPhil in History at St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford, looking at sainthood and politics in medieval England. He has also worked as teacher in Indonesia and the Bahamas.

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Dr Katrina Williams

Regional Manager, North of England

Katrina joined as Programme Officer for the North of England in August 2016. Prior to joining the charity, Katrina graduated from The University of Sheffield, where she studied a PhD in Reproductive Biology and Genetics at undergraduate. Katrina’s PhD research project involved investigating the interactions between a common herpesvirus and human sperm.

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Annabel Marcuse

Regional Manager, East of England

Annabel joined The Brilliant Club in February 2017. As Regional Manager, she oversees programme delivery and partnerships for The Scholars Programme in the East of England. Upon graduating from the University of Durham in 2013, where she studied Modern Foreign Languages, Annabel completed the Teach First Leadership Development Programme. She taught French, Spanish and Latin, and was Head of French in two London secondary schools prior to joining The Brilliant Club.  Outside of work, Annabel is a keen supporter of Watford Football Club.

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Emily Battey

Regional Manager, London

Emily joined the Scholars Programme team as Regional Manager in July 2017. She studied French and Spanish at the University of Exeter before training to teach through the Teach First Programme as part of the 2013 cohort. She taught for three years in a school in Haringey, first as a Languages teacher and then as Head of French. She then worked at Accenture, designing and delivering education and social impact projects to a range of clients across sectors.

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Dr Anna-Marie Linnell

Regional Manager, West of England

Anna-Marie joined The Brilliant Club in October 2016 as a Programme Officer for the London region. She studied an undergraduate and masters degree at the University of Exeter, before completing a PhD as part of the AHRC Stuart Successions Project. While working on her doctorate, Anna-Marie also established and led a community history project called Staging Exeter, which was funded by RCUK. She is passionate about helping researchers create impact from their research.

Claire Harrill

Dr Claire Harrill

Programme Officer

Claire joined The Brilliant Club in November 2017 as the first Programme Officer for Wales and the South West. In her previous life she was a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, lecturing on Chaucer and Medieval Romance, via studying Medieval Literature at LMH, Oxford as an undergraduate, then an MA in Medieval Literatures at York, and a PhD at Birmingham. She came to The Brilliant Club via being a tutor on her own course ‘Reading and Writing Medieval Women’ about the (surprisingly many) women writers of the Middle Ages. In her free time, Claire likes long walks, going to the theatre and taking selfies with her cat, Chaucer.

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Charlie Talbot Rice

Programme Officer

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Maria Crawford

Programme Officer

Maria previously worked in Outreach at Aston University, University of Birmingham and with Aimhigher West Midlands, running programmes for schools from disadvantaged backgrounds. Prior to that, she studied Music at University of Southampton where she was involved in the STEM Roadshow, taking researchers work out into the wider community in accessible and interactive formats.

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Abby Cakebread-Andrews

Programme Officer

Abby joined The Brilliant Club in March 2018 as Programme Officer for the East of England. She graduated from Lancaster University in 2015, where she studied French and History including spending a year living and working in Paris. Prior to joining The Brilliant Club, Abby worked at a high school in North Wales having completed the Teach First Leadership Development Programme. At the same time, she was involved in a variety of volunteering opportunities and experiences with other charities. Outside of work, Abby has interests in travel, fitness and food.

Siri Minsaas

Siri Minsaas

Programme Officer

Siri joined The Brilliant Club in August 2018 as a Programme Officer. She graduated with a degree in international relations from Durham University in 2014, and then spent a year as Junior Common Room President at her college in Durham.  Siri then did her teacher training with Teach First, working as an English teacher at Dyke House Sports and Technology College, Hartlepool. After moving to London, Siri worked as an English and media studies teacher at Highlands School in Enfield. Prior to joining The Brilliant Club, she completed her MA in Educational Leadership at the University of Warwick, focusing on the value of aspiration in schools. Outside work, Siri enjoys travelling and baking.

Catherine Mansfield

Catherine Mansfield

Programme Officer

Catherine joined The Brilliant Club in October 2018 as a Programme Officer for London and the South East. Prior to joining the charity, Catherine completed a PhD in Plant Sciences at the John Innes Centre in Norwich focussing on the development of leaves. Alongside her PhD, Catherine was a PhD Tutor for multiple Scholars Programme placements including her own course titled ‘How does your garden grow?’. Catherine has a strong interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and is passionate about helping pupils progress into STEM related fields. During her PhD, she has undertaken teaching and outreach work at the University of East Anglia and is an Associate Fellow of The Higher Education Academy. Catherine graduated from Robinson College, Cambridge having studied Biological Natural Sciences. Outside of work, Catherine enjoys walks in the countryside and playing the cello.

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Lydia Wiles

Programme Officer

Lydia joined The Scholars Programme as a Programme Officer in September 2017. She gained a BA (hons) History degree from the University of Birmingham before completing the Teach First leadership development programme, where she taught History at a secondary school on the Isle of Dogs. During her time teaching, Lydia was Head of Holocaust Education and KS3 History.

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Victoria Symons

Programme Officer

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Dr Helen Carr

Programme Officer

Helen joined The Brilliant Club in February 2018 after completing a PhD in History at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her undergraduate degree was in Modern History at the University of St Andrews. After graduating, she trained to teach and worked for 9 years as a secondary history teacher, initially in Hull and then in Cairo. Whilst teaching, she completed a Masters in Education which investigated pupils’ responses to learning about the Holocaust. Whilst working on her PhD, she also worked at the Holocaust Educational Trust, firstly on the Trust’s outreach programme and then on the teacher training programme.

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Fern Gibbons

Teaching and Learning Manager

Fern joined The Brilliant Club in October 2017 following six years teaching science in London. Fern trained to teach through Teach First following her graduation from Imperial College London in 2011 with a degree in Biomedical Science. Fern was Head of Sixth Form at a secondary school in South-East London and is passionate about working with young people and helping them progress to higher education.

Sophie Callin

Programme Officer

Lauren Grunwell

Programme Officer

Lauren joined The Brilliant Club as a Programme Officer for the North Team in September 2017. Before joining the charity, she was conducting a research project which explored creative pedagogies in Finland and, before that, she worked as an English Teacher at a secondary school in Leeds. Lauren graduated with a BA (hons) in English Language and Literature from the University of Leeds in 2009, and qualified as an English Teacher in 2012. Outside of work, Lauren enjoys playing guitar, surfing and dancing.

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Maryam Akhtar

Team Administrator, West of England

Maryam joined the Brilliant Club in October 2017 as a Programme Administrator for the West of England. As a recent graduate from the University of Birmingham, where she studied BA Policy, Politics and Economics, Maryam has obtained roles as a Campaigns Advisor/committee member for the Black and Ethnic Minority Association, Student Ambassador and course Representative. She has further worked as a Clerical Assistant for the Birmingham International Academy, Inside Sales Support Assistant with a customer experience management company called InMoment and interned with the Institute of Research into Superdiversity. Dedicated to tackling inequality particularly along racial, class and gendered lines, Maryam is passionate about facilitating The Brilliant Club’s vision of supporting students who have often been excluded from participating in higher education culture.

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Amy Simkin

Team Administrator, North of England

Amy joined The Brilliant Club in July 2018 as Programme Administrator for the North of England. She studied Mathematics at the University of York, where she received a First Class BSc. During her time at university, she spent nine months living and studying Mathematics in Bordeaux. Outside of work, Amy enjoys yoga, reading and travelling both within the UK and abroad.

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Polly Mason

Programme Administrator, East of England

Polly joined The Brilliant Club in September 2018 as Programme Administrator for the East of England team. Prior to this, she graduated from the University of Oxford, where she studied French and Spanish, before moving to Santiago de Chile for a year to work as an English teacher. She also has experience in journalism and has spent time living and working in France and Spain. Outside of work, Polly’s interests include cooking (and, more importantly, eating), reading and writing, perusing Apple’s podcast store, and travelling.

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Hannah Dodgson

Programme Administrator, South of England

Hannah joined The Brilliant Club in 2018 as Programme Administrator for the South team. Prior to joining the organisation she interned at an international development charity and worked as communications and administration assistant for The Hextol Foundation; a charity which provides working opportunities for individuals with disabilities. She graduated from The University of Liverpool with a BA Geography degree. During her time at university she held a position as course representative, was a member of the committee for the Amnesty International Society and worked on school outreach programmes. Hannah is passionate about gender empowerment, human rights and reducing inequality. She spent time volunteering in Zambia on a project reducing the stigma and prevalence of HIV and AIDS. In her spare time she likes to travel, read and listen to podcasts.

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Farzana Lodhi

Programme Administrator, Teaching and Learning

Farzana joined The Brilliant Club in September 2018 as Programme Administrator for the Teaching and Learning Team. She graduated from SOAS university in 2018, where she studied Arabic and International Relations including spending a year living and studying in Fez, Morocco. Prior to joining The Brilliant Club, Farzana worked as an administrator for the Widening Participation team at SOAS university, was a senior Student Ambassador, and worked with Debate Mate as a debate coach in primary schools. She has also been involved in advocating for women’s rights through volunteering opportunities abroad in Egypt and Morocco. Outside of work, Farzana has interests in travel, food, and post-colonial literature.

Researchers in Schools Team

Chris Vf

Dr Chris Wilson

Dr Chris Wilson is the CEO at The Brilliant Club, an education charity committed to supporting the progression of under-represented pupils to university by mobilising the research community to work with schools. During his time at The Brilliant Club, Chris has been a PhD tutor, rolled out the charity’s provision across the UK, co-founded the teacher training programme Researchers in Schools, and launched the charity’s five-year strategy, The Path to Outcomes. Chris trained as a medieval historian at the universities of Cambridge and Exeter.

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Ciara Lynch

Chief Operating Officer

Ciara joined as Operations Director in August 2016, where she oversees Finance, HR, IT, Marketing and Communications. Prior to joining the charity, she was Vice President of Operations at a financial services firm, where she worked for five years. During this time, she managed a team of analysts delivering research to credit investors and was responsible for business change and new strategic initiatives. Ciara graduated with a Master’s Degree in the History of International Relations from University College Dublin and a BA (hons) in History and Politics, also from University College Dublin, with one year spent at Sciences Po in Paris. She also has a Graduate Diploma in Law. Outside of work, she enjoys running and travelling.

Richard E Small

Richard Eyre

Chief Programmes Officer

Richard leads the Programmes Division, which encompasses The Brilliant Club’s two programmes for schools and our Research and Impact Department. Before joining The Brilliant Club, Richard worked as a public policy and strategy consultant, advising education system leaders in the UK and internationally. From 2014-2016 he worked in Washington DC as strategy director at the US Education Delivery Institute. A graduate of the Civil Service Fast Steam, Richard spent the first nine years of his career in the Department for Education and then the Home Office, serving in a range of high-profile policy and delivery roles spanning education, children’s policy and policing and security. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge, where he studied law. Richard is proud to have attended a state comprehensive school and is passionate about giving more young people fair access to the best that higher education, and life, has to offer.

lauren-bellaera

Dr Lauren Bellaera

Research and Impact Director

Lauren Bellaera is the Director of Research and Impact at The Brilliant Club. She is responsible for evaluating the impact of the charity’s programmes on pupil outcomes. Lauren has also recently been appointed as a part-time Associate Lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London, and will be teaching a module on ‘Approaches to Applied Research’.

Lauren completed her PhD in cognitive psychology at the University of Warwick, where she investigated the effect of fear and sadness on spatial and temporal attention. She was then awarded an Early Career Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Study (Warwick), and as part of her fellowship she examined the role of the internet in classroom teaching and the role of open-space learning in master’s level teaching. In 2014 Lauren was appointed as a Research Associate at the University of Cambridge, where she oversaw a project evaluating the impact of a set of online educational resources on university students’ conceptual understanding and critical thinking skills.  Through her research, Lauren has worked with a number of educational organisations including IGGY and Macat.

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Susie Whigham

National Programme Director, The Scholars Programme

As National Programme Director Susie oversees the impact, growth and development of The Scholars Programme. Susie has been committed to tackling educational disadvantage throughout her career and ensuring that young people from deprived backgrounds have the opportunities and support to reach their potential. As part of the first cohort of Teach First Susie taught English in a secondary school in South-West London. During this time she set up a charity, Trust Youth, to support Year 10 pupils to develop the skills and experience to run fundraising campaigns for national charities. She subsequently worked as a Literacy Consultant for the government’s National Strategies programme in schools. As Executive Director of Services at School-Home Support, Susie has more recently had responsibility for a range of programmes tackling the underlying barriers to learning within the home, including the Troubled Families and the Parent Support Advisor initiatives.

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Leanne Adamson

National Programme Director, The Scholars Programme

Leanne studied Joint Honours in Chemistry and Physics at Durham University, where she received a First Class BSc and MSci. Upon graduating in 2011, she joined the Teach First programme where she taught Science at Churchill Community College in Newcastle for two years. Leanne has a strong interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and is passionate about helping more pupils progress into STEM related fields. She joined The Brilliant Club as a Programme Officer in 2013 and became National Programme Director for The Scholars Programme in 2017.

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Kike Agunbiade

National Programme Director, Researchers in Schools

Kike joined The Brilliant Club as National Programme Director for Researchers in Schools in October 2017. Prior to this, Kike was a Senior Education Lead at SSAT, the Schools, Students and Teachers Network, where she led on a number of high profile projects including middle and senior leadership programmes, Teaching Schools and their school improvement framework. Kike spent five years working at Teach First, where she was North London Manager, and has also worked for a range of charities in roles to support and develop teachers. Kike completed the Teach First Programme as Science Teacher in North London. She holds an MBA (Education) from Keele University and a post graduate certificate in Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education from the University of Edinburgh. Kike graduated from Merton College, University of Oxford, with an MChem in Chemistry.

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Angel-Ann D'Souza

Finance Director

Angel-Ann joined The Brilliant Club in February 2016 as The Finance Manager. Angel-Ann graduated from Trent university in Canada, where she studied Business and has her CPA, CMA designation in Canada. Prior to working at The Brilliant Club, Angel-Ann worked at Safran Electronics Canada in the Finance department.

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Rachel Lawrence

Curriculum and Development Director

Rachel read Theology at Trinity College Oxford, before doing a PGCE at St. Mary’s University College Twickenham. She later completed a Masters in Teaching at the Institute of Education, and is currently in her second year of an Educational Doctorate at Kings College London. Rachel worked as an Advanced Skills teacher for Hounslow LEA and London Challenge. She worked with primary and secondary teachers and in various subject areas including Humanities, Maths and Science. As part of her work as an AST she also worked as a visiting lecturer at St. Mary’s University College, Twickenham. She became Head of Religious Studies at Lampton School in 2011 and in 2012 led the department in their application to be one of the pilot schools for the national RE Quality Mark. The department was awarded the Gold Award which recognised the work of the department as consistently outstanding. Rachel is an Associate Senior Leader at Lampton School.

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Sabrina Luisi

External Affairs Director

Sabrina joined The Brilliant Club in July 2018, as Director of External Affairs. Sabrina is responsible for The Brilliant Club’s fundraising, communications, public affairs and building an alumni network; in short, helping people to understand, believe in and support the great work of The Brilliant Club.

Sabrina studied French and English at Leeds University, including a year in France working as a secondary school teacher. This sparked her interest in education and people development, which has been a common theme throughout her career. Sabrina grew up in an illiterate household, and this first-hand experience of educational inequality reminds her daily of the importance of supporting young people from all backgrounds to access education.

Sabrina’s experience includes the design and delivery of international development programmes and global communications within a leading IT company, before moving into the education charity sector when she joined Teach First in 2015. During her time at Teach First, Sabrina led the Teach First Access Department, expanded and developed the Higher Education Access programme, ‘Futures’, and established the Learning and Development team within Teach First.

Outside of work, Sabrina enjoys the theatre as both a spectator and performer, learning languages and is a member of two comedy improvisation groups.

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Dr Natalie Day

Area Director, North of England

Natalie joined the Brilliant Club in April 2016 as a Programme Officer for the North of England. Prior to joining the charity, Natalie completed an ESRC-funded PhD in Sociology at Newcastle University, exploring the formal and informal sexual learning processes of young heterosexual women in Northeast Brazil.

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Joe Loudon

Area Director, West of England

Joe joined The Brilliant Club in August 2014 as a Programme Officer, becoming Midlands Regional Director in January 2016. Whilst studying History and Hispanic Studies at the University of Sheffield, he worked for a Guatemalan NGO – developing the interest in education and teaching which led him to join the Teach First programme in Yorkshire after graduating where he taught History and English in Bradford. Before joining The Brilliant Club. Joe then spent a year teaching in a Japanese high school.

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Steph Hamilton

Area Director, South of England

Steph joined The Brilliant Club in August 2015 as The East of England Regional Director. She graduated from Durham University in 2012, where she studied Anthropology. Prior to working at The Brilliant Club, Steph was Head of Biology and Aspirations Coordinator at Dyke House Sports and Technology College, Hartlepool, where she taught for three years, after training with Teach First. As part of her role Steph was also the Lead teacher for The Scholars’ Programme at Dyke House, seeing many of her own pupils through the programme. Steph is passionate about extending access opportunities to rural and coastal communities, an interest which has grown out of her work in the North East and which prompted her to join and lead The Brilliant Club’s expanding of the South of England team.

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Lucy Preston

Area Director, East of England

Lucy joined The Brilliant Club in March 2016 as Programme Officer for the East of England. She graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2012. Prior to joining The Brilliant Club Lucy volunteered with City Year London before training as a Maths Teacher through Teach First in the West Midlands.

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David Jones

Teaching and Learning Director

David joined The Brilliant Club in 2015 as a Programme Officer before becoming the Teaching and Learning Manager for The Scholars Programme in March 2016. David graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2010, where he studied Modern History. Prior to working at The Brilliant Club, David worked at an educational charity running supplementary schools before going to complete his PGCE at the University of Bath. David then worked as a Year 5 class teacher at Belleville Primary School in south London.

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Greg Scannell

National Manager for Wales

Greg joined as National Manager for Wales, in January 2017, overseeing the growth and running of The Scholars Programme following its launch in Wales in Autumn 2016. Prior to joining the charity, he was a Leadership Development Officer for Teach First Cymru supporting new teachers entering the profession with both their practice and their well-being. Greg also worked for 5 years as a Humanities teacher at a large South West Wales Comprehensive school and as an Access Assistant Coordinator at the University of Oxford. He graduated from the University of Cambridge with a Master’s Degree in Education and a BA (Hons) in Theology from the University of Oxford. Outside of work, Greg enjoys spending time with his young family and attending live music and sports events.

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Dr Andrew Fleming

Regional Manager, London

Andy joined the Brilliant Club in March 2016 as a Programme Officer for London and the South East. Prior to joining the charity, Andy completed an AHRC-funded DPhil in History at St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford, looking at sainthood and politics in medieval England. He has also worked as teacher in Indonesia and the Bahamas.

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Dr Katrina Williams

Regional Manager, North of England

Katrina joined as Programme Officer for the North of England in August 2016. Prior to joining the charity, Katrina graduated from The University of Sheffield, where she studied a PhD in Reproductive Biology and Genetics at undergraduate. Katrina’s PhD research project involved investigating the interactions between a common herpesvirus and human sperm.

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Annabel Marcuse

Regional Manager, East of England

Annabel joined The Brilliant Club in February 2017. As Regional Manager, she oversees programme delivery and partnerships for The Scholars Programme in the East of England. Upon graduating from the University of Durham in 2013, where she studied Modern Foreign Languages, Annabel completed the Teach First Leadership Development Programme. She taught French, Spanish and Latin, and was Head of French in two London secondary schools prior to joining The Brilliant Club.  Outside of work, Annabel is a keen supporter of Watford Football Club.

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Emily Battey

Regional Manager, London

Emily joined the Scholars Programme team as Regional Manager in July 2017. She studied French and Spanish at the University of Exeter before training to teach through the Teach First Programme as part of the 2013 cohort. She taught for three years in a school in Haringey, first as a Languages teacher and then as Head of French. She then worked at Accenture, designing and delivering education and social impact projects to a range of clients across sectors.

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Dr Anna-Marie Linnell

Regional Manager, West of England

Anna-Marie joined The Brilliant Club in October 2016 as a Programme Officer for the London region. She studied an undergraduate and masters degree at the University of Exeter, before completing a PhD as part of the AHRC Stuart Successions Project. While working on her doctorate, Anna-Marie also established and led a community history project called Staging Exeter, which was funded by RCUK. She is passionate about helping researchers create impact from their research.

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Dr Claire Harrill

Programme Officer

Claire joined The Brilliant Club in November 2017 as the first Programme Officer for Wales and the South West. In her previous life she was a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, lecturing on Chaucer and Medieval Romance, via studying Medieval Literature at LMH, Oxford as an undergraduate, then an MA in Medieval Literatures at York, and a PhD at Birmingham. She came to The Brilliant Club via being a tutor on her own course ‘Reading and Writing Medieval Women’ about the (surprisingly many) women writers of the Middle Ages. In her free time, Claire likes long walks, going to the theatre and taking selfies with her cat, Chaucer.

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Charlie Talbot Rice

Programme Officer

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Maria Crawford

Programme Officer

Maria previously worked in Outreach at Aston University, University of Birmingham and with Aimhigher West Midlands, running programmes for schools from disadvantaged backgrounds. Prior to that, she studied Music at University of Southampton where she was involved in the STEM Roadshow, taking researchers work out into the wider community in accessible and interactive formats.

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Abby Cakebread-Andrews

Programme Officer

Abby joined The Brilliant Club in March 2018 as Programme Officer for the East of England. She graduated from Lancaster University in 2015, where she studied French and History including spending a year living and working in Paris. Prior to joining The Brilliant Club, Abby worked at a high school in North Wales having completed the Teach First Leadership Development Programme. At the same time, she was involved in a variety of volunteering opportunities and experiences with other charities. Outside of work, Abby has interests in travel, fitness and food.

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Siri Minsaas

Programme Officer

Siri joined The Brilliant Club in August 2018 as a Programme Officer. She graduated with a degree in international relations from Durham University in 2014, and then spent a year as Junior Common Room President at her college in Durham.  Siri then did her teacher training with Teach First, working as an English teacher at Dyke House Sports and Technology College, Hartlepool. After moving to London, Siri worked as an English and media studies teacher at Highlands School in Enfield. Prior to joining The Brilliant Club, she completed her MA in Educational Leadership at the University of Warwick, focusing on the value of aspiration in schools. Outside work, Siri enjoys travelling and baking.

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Catherine Mansfield

Programme Officer

Catherine joined The Brilliant Club in October 2018 as a Programme Officer for London and the South East. Prior to joining the charity, Catherine completed a PhD in Plant Sciences at the John Innes Centre in Norwich focussing on the development of leaves. Alongside her PhD, Catherine was a PhD Tutor for multiple Scholars Programme placements including her own course titled ‘How does your garden grow?’. Catherine has a strong interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and is passionate about helping pupils progress into STEM related fields. During her PhD, she has undertaken teaching and outreach work at the University of East Anglia and is an Associate Fellow of The Higher Education Academy. Catherine graduated from Robinson College, Cambridge having studied Biological Natural Sciences. Outside of work, Catherine enjoys walks in the countryside and playing the cello.

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Lydia Wiles

Programme Officer

Lydia joined The Scholars Programme as a Programme Officer in September 2017. She gained a BA (hons) History degree from the University of Birmingham before completing the Teach First leadership development programme, where she taught History at a secondary school on the Isle of Dogs. During her time teaching, Lydia was Head of Holocaust Education and KS3 History.

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Victoria Symons

Programme Officer

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Dr Helen Carr

Programme Officer

Helen joined The Brilliant Club in February 2018 after completing a PhD in History at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her undergraduate degree was in Modern History at the University of St Andrews. After graduating, she trained to teach and worked for 9 years as a secondary history teacher, initially in Hull and then in Cairo. Whilst teaching, she completed a Masters in Education which investigated pupils’ responses to learning about the Holocaust. Whilst working on her PhD, she also worked at the Holocaust Educational Trust, firstly on the Trust’s outreach programme and then on the teacher training programme.

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Fern Gibbons

Teaching and Learning Manager

Fern joined The Brilliant Club in October 2017 following six years teaching science in London. Fern trained to teach through Teach First following her graduation from Imperial College London in 2011 with a degree in Biomedical Science. Fern was Head of Sixth Form at a secondary school in South-East London and is passionate about working with young people and helping them progress to higher education.

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Programme Officer

Lauren Grunwell

Programme Officer

Lauren joined The Brilliant Club as a Programme Officer for the North Team in September 2017. Before joining the charity, she was conducting a research project which explored creative pedagogies in Finland and, before that, she worked as an English Teacher at a secondary school in Leeds. Lauren graduated with a BA (hons) in English Language and Literature from the University of Leeds in 2009, and qualified as an English Teacher in 2012. Outside of work, Lauren enjoys playing guitar, surfing and dancing.

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Maryam Akhtar

Team Administrator, West of England

Maryam joined the Brilliant Club in October 2017 as a Programme Administrator for the West of England. As a recent graduate from the University of Birmingham, where she studied BA Policy, Politics and Economics, Maryam has obtained roles as a Campaigns Advisor/committee member for the Black and Ethnic Minority Association, Student Ambassador and course Representative. She has further worked as a Clerical Assistant for the Birmingham International Academy, Inside Sales Support Assistant with a customer experience management company called InMoment and interned with the Institute of Research into Superdiversity. Dedicated to tackling inequality particularly along racial, class and gendered lines, Maryam is passionate about facilitating The Brilliant Club’s vision of supporting students who have often been excluded from participating in higher education culture.

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Amy Simkin

Team Administrator, North of England

Amy joined The Brilliant Club in July 2018 as Programme Administrator for the North of England. She studied Mathematics at the University of York, where she received a First Class BSc. During her time at university, she spent nine months living and studying Mathematics in Bordeaux. Outside of work, Amy enjoys yoga, reading and travelling both within the UK and abroad.

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Polly Mason

Programme Administrator, East of England

Polly joined The Brilliant Club in September 2018 as Programme Administrator for the East of England team. Prior to this, she graduated from the University of Oxford, where she studied French and Spanish, before moving to Santiago de Chile for a year to work as an English teacher. She also has experience in journalism and has spent time living and working in France and Spain. Outside of work, Polly’s interests include cooking (and, more importantly, eating), reading and writing, perusing Apple’s podcast store, and travelling.

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Hannah Dodgson

Programme Administrator, South of England

Hannah joined The Brilliant Club in 2018 as Programme Administrator for the South team. Prior to joining the organisation she interned at an international development charity and worked as communications and administration assistant for The Hextol Foundation; a charity which provides working opportunities for individuals with disabilities. She graduated from The University of Liverpool with a BA Geography degree. During her time at university she held a position as course representative, was a member of the committee for the Amnesty International Society and worked on school outreach programmes. Hannah is passionate about gender empowerment, human rights and reducing inequality. She spent time volunteering in Zambia on a project reducing the stigma and prevalence of HIV and AIDS. In her spare time she likes to travel, read and listen to podcasts.

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Farzana Lodhi

Programme Administrator, Teaching and Learning

Farzana joined The Brilliant Club in September 2018 as Programme Administrator for the Teaching and Learning Team. She graduated from SOAS university in 2018, where she studied Arabic and International Relations including spending a year living and studying in Fez, Morocco. Prior to joining The Brilliant Club, Farzana worked as an administrator for the Widening Participation team at SOAS university, was a senior Student Ambassador, and worked with Debate Mate as a debate coach in primary schools. She has also been involved in advocating for women’s rights through volunteering opportunities abroad in Egypt and Morocco. Outside of work, Farzana has interests in travel, food, and post-colonial literature.

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Jenny Paterson

School Programme Director

Jenny joined The Brilliant Club as School Programme Director in March 2018, where she oversees the Researchers in Schools programme participants and their progress on the programme.  Before joining the charity, she was a teacher for over 20 years, as a Head of Department for Drama and Media, Assistant Headteacher for teaching and learning and Head of Sixth Form.  She recently graduated from the University of York with a Masters in Social Justice and Education where her studies included Higher Education access and the impact of gender on educational choices.  Outside of work, she is a keen playwright and traveller.

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Nicholas Cater

Recruitment Director

Nicholas is responsible for all aspects of the programme’s recruitment processes, from initial attraction and advertising, through to assessment and placement. Since graduating from Durham University with a degree in Modern Languages and a Masters in Translation, Nicholas worked initially as an Accountant, then freelance translator, before finally settling on recruitment. He worked at a boutique recruitment firm in Central London where he was responsible for the delivery of several national graduate schemes. Outside of work, Nicholas enjoys keeping his languages up to scratch and is a keen traveller, particularly around Europe and Russia.

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Jessy Ahluwalia

Recruitment and Assessment Officer

Jessy joined The Brilliant Club as Recruitment and Assessment Officer in January 2018, where she works to advertise and market the Researchers in Schools Programme, and recruit participants for the upcoming year. Before joining the charity she worked at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, as the Schools Liaison Officer working in outreach and widening participation with target state schools. Jessy graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2016 with a BA in Education and Religious Studies. Outside of work Jessy enjoys dog walking, international travel and listening to feminist podcasts. Jessy moved to London for her current role, and is enjoying exploring all the city has to offer.

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Amy Broom

School Partnerships Manager

Amy is driven by a desire to increase the number of subject experts teaching in non-selective schools. Having completed her Masters in Engineering at the University of Cambridge in 2008, she undertook teacher training in South East London through the Graduate Teacher Programme. As Head of Physics at a new build academy Amy focussed on developing metacognitive approaches and promoting practical and thinking skills in science through evidence-based strategies. Prior to joining Researchers in Schools Amy was Director of STEM at a UTC in Kent, overseeing an enhanced curriculum in Engineering and Construction, employer engagement and CEIAG. Outside of work Amy is a keen equestrienne.

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Alexandra Tanner

Programme Officer

Alex joined as one of the first RIS Programme Officers in August 2016. Alex joined the Teach First Programme in 2013, which involved teaching science in Manchester and following this was a Year 8 science teacher at a school in South London. Alex graduated with a Bachelors degree in bioveterinary sciences from the University of Liverpool and is particularly interested in STEM education and extra-curricular opportunities for students. In her spare time, she enjoys attending science lectures and events, fencing and running.

 

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Rosa Smith

Programme Officer

Rosa joined the RIS team as Programme Officer in September 2017. She studied English (BA) at the University of Exeter, and became interested in Widening Participation whilst working in local schools as part of their student ambassador programme. She then worked for CRUK before completing the Teach First programme as part of the 2012 cohort. She taught English for five years, progressing to become KS5 lead and then Head of 6th Form at a secondary school in South-East London. Whilst there, she also mentored trainee teachers and NQTs. She remains committed to improving access to selective universities and raising student aspirations.

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Joanna Clark

Programme Officer

Joanna joined the RIS team as Programme Officer in October 2017. In 2008, she spent the summer working in California as a Camp Counsellor with 9-17 year olds, and it was here that she decided she wanted to pursue a career working with young people. After graduating from Queen Mary, University of London with a BA in English, Jo worked as a Teaching Assistant, before training as an English teacher through the Graduate Teaching Programme in 2011. She joined the English department at Morpeth Secondary School in Bethnal Green as an NQT, and later became the Deputy Head of English and KS3 Coordinator. Outside of work, Jo enjoys travel, live music and keeping fit.

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Programme Officer

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Carys Taylor

Curriculum and Development Officer

Carys joined the RIS team as Curriculum & Development Officer in October 2018. She studied Education (BEd) at the University of Auckland. Carys taught in New Zealand for over 7 years and was also part of the leadership team at her school. As part of her leadership responsibilities she researched and implemented innovative teaching practices and focused on teacher development through coaching and mentoring programmes. Outside of work, Carys is interested in travel, food and reading.

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Dr Richard Branch

Curriculum and Development Consultant

Richard joined The Brilliant Club in September 2017 as a member of the Researchers in Schools team, where he serves as Curriculum and Development Consultant. Before joining the charity he was a physics teacher on the Researchers in Schools programme at Lampton School in west London, where he continues teaching three days a week. Prior to training on the programme, he was a postdoctoral research fellow in biophysics at Harvard University.

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Beth Collier

Programme Administrator

Beth joined the Researchers in Schools team in September 2017 as the Programme Administrator. Prior to this Beth completed a Linguistics degree at University College London, where she gained an interest in sign language and completed a level one BSL qualification. Following this, Beth worked as the Assistant Director of a children’s maths and English tuition centre. Working within a low socio-economic area, Beth gained experience of the difficulties children can face throughout their primary education and is excited to continue improving their success through to university level. Outside of work Beth enjoys running and baking.

Operations Department

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Dr Chris Wilson

Dr Chris Wilson is the CEO at The Brilliant Club, an education charity committed to supporting the progression of under-represented pupils to university by mobilising the research community to work with schools. During his time at The Brilliant Club, Chris has been a PhD tutor, rolled out the charity’s provision across the UK, co-founded the teacher training programme Researchers in Schools, and launched the charity’s five-year strategy, The Path to Outcomes. Chris trained as a medieval historian at the universities of Cambridge and Exeter.

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Ciara Lynch

Chief Operating Officer

Ciara joined as Operations Director in August 2016, where she oversees Finance, HR, IT, Marketing and Communications. Prior to joining the charity, she was Vice President of Operations at a financial services firm, where she worked for five years. During this time, she managed a team of analysts delivering research to credit investors and was responsible for business change and new strategic initiatives. Ciara graduated with a Master’s Degree in the History of International Relations from University College Dublin and a BA (hons) in History and Politics, also from University College Dublin, with one year spent at Sciences Po in Paris. She also has a Graduate Diploma in Law. Outside of work, she enjoys running and travelling.

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Richard Eyre

Chief Programmes Officer

Richard leads the Programmes Division, which encompasses The Brilliant Club’s two programmes for schools and our Research and Impact Department. Before joining The Brilliant Club, Richard worked as a public policy and strategy consultant, advising education system leaders in the UK and internationally. From 2014-2016 he worked in Washington DC as strategy director at the US Education Delivery Institute. A graduate of the Civil Service Fast Steam, Richard spent the first nine years of his career in the Department for Education and then the Home Office, serving in a range of high-profile policy and delivery roles spanning education, children’s policy and policing and security. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge, where he studied law. Richard is proud to have attended a state comprehensive school and is passionate about giving more young people fair access to the best that higher education, and life, has to offer.

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Dr Lauren Bellaera

Research and Impact Director

Lauren Bellaera is the Director of Research and Impact at The Brilliant Club. She is responsible for evaluating the impact of the charity’s programmes on pupil outcomes. Lauren has also recently been appointed as a part-time Associate Lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London, and will be teaching a module on ‘Approaches to Applied Research’.

Lauren completed her PhD in cognitive psychology at the University of Warwick, where she investigated the effect of fear and sadness on spatial and temporal attention. She was then awarded an Early Career Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Study (Warwick), and as part of her fellowship she examined the role of the internet in classroom teaching and the role of open-space learning in master’s level teaching. In 2014 Lauren was appointed as a Research Associate at the University of Cambridge, where she oversaw a project evaluating the impact of a set of online educational resources on university students’ conceptual understanding and critical thinking skills.  Through her research, Lauren has worked with a number of educational organisations including IGGY and Macat.

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Susie Whigham

National Programme Director, The Scholars Programme

As National Programme Director Susie oversees the impact, growth and development of The Scholars Programme. Susie has been committed to tackling educational disadvantage throughout her career and ensuring that young people from deprived backgrounds have the opportunities and support to reach their potential. As part of the first cohort of Teach First Susie taught English in a secondary school in South-West London. During this time she set up a charity, Trust Youth, to support Year 10 pupils to develop the skills and experience to run fundraising campaigns for national charities. She subsequently worked as a Literacy Consultant for the government’s National Strategies programme in schools. As Executive Director of Services at School-Home Support, Susie has more recently had responsibility for a range of programmes tackling the underlying barriers to learning within the home, including the Troubled Families and the Parent Support Advisor initiatives.

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Leanne Adamson

National Programme Director, The Scholars Programme

Leanne studied Joint Honours in Chemistry and Physics at Durham University, where she received a First Class BSc and MSci. Upon graduating in 2011, she joined the Teach First programme where she taught Science at Churchill Community College in Newcastle for two years. Leanne has a strong interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and is passionate about helping more pupils progress into STEM related fields. She joined The Brilliant Club as a Programme Officer in 2013 and became National Programme Director for The Scholars Programme in 2017.

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Kike Agunbiade

National Programme Director, Researchers in Schools

Kike joined The Brilliant Club as National Programme Director for Researchers in Schools in October 2017. Prior to this, Kike was a Senior Education Lead at SSAT, the Schools, Students and Teachers Network, where she led on a number of high profile projects including middle and senior leadership programmes, Teaching Schools and their school improvement framework. Kike spent five years working at Teach First, where she was North London Manager, and has also worked for a range of charities in roles to support and develop teachers. Kike completed the Teach First Programme as Science Teacher in North London. She holds an MBA (Education) from Keele University and a post graduate certificate in Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education from the University of Edinburgh. Kike graduated from Merton College, University of Oxford, with an MChem in Chemistry.

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Angel-Ann D'Souza

Finance Director

Angel-Ann joined The Brilliant Club in February 2016 as The Finance Manager. Angel-Ann graduated from Trent university in Canada, where she studied Business and has her CPA, CMA designation in Canada. Prior to working at The Brilliant Club, Angel-Ann worked at Safran Electronics Canada in the Finance department.

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Rachel Lawrence

Curriculum and Development Director

Rachel read Theology at Trinity College Oxford, before doing a PGCE at St. Mary’s University College Twickenham. She later completed a Masters in Teaching at the Institute of Education, and is currently in her second year of an Educational Doctorate at Kings College London. Rachel worked as an Advanced Skills teacher for Hounslow LEA and London Challenge. She worked with primary and secondary teachers and in various subject areas including Humanities, Maths and Science. As part of her work as an AST she also worked as a visiting lecturer at St. Mary’s University College, Twickenham. She became Head of Religious Studies at Lampton School in 2011 and in 2012 led the department in their application to be one of the pilot schools for the national RE Quality Mark. The department was awarded the Gold Award which recognised the work of the department as consistently outstanding. Rachel is an Associate Senior Leader at Lampton School.

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Sabrina Luisi

External Affairs Director

Sabrina joined The Brilliant Club in July 2018, as Director of External Affairs. Sabrina is responsible for The Brilliant Club’s fundraising, communications, public affairs and building an alumni network; in short, helping people to understand, believe in and support the great work of The Brilliant Club.

Sabrina studied French and English at Leeds University, including a year in France working as a secondary school teacher. This sparked her interest in education and people development, which has been a common theme throughout her career. Sabrina grew up in an illiterate household, and this first-hand experience of educational inequality reminds her daily of the importance of supporting young people from all backgrounds to access education.

Sabrina’s experience includes the design and delivery of international development programmes and global communications within a leading IT company, before moving into the education charity sector when she joined Teach First in 2015. During her time at Teach First, Sabrina led the Teach First Access Department, expanded and developed the Higher Education Access programme, ‘Futures’, and established the Learning and Development team within Teach First.

Outside of work, Sabrina enjoys the theatre as both a spectator and performer, learning languages and is a member of two comedy improvisation groups.

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Dr Natalie Day

Area Director, North of England

Natalie joined the Brilliant Club in April 2016 as a Programme Officer for the North of England. Prior to joining the charity, Natalie completed an ESRC-funded PhD in Sociology at Newcastle University, exploring the formal and informal sexual learning processes of young heterosexual women in Northeast Brazil.

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Joe Loudon

Area Director, West of England

Joe joined The Brilliant Club in August 2014 as a Programme Officer, becoming Midlands Regional Director in January 2016. Whilst studying History and Hispanic Studies at the University of Sheffield, he worked for a Guatemalan NGO – developing the interest in education and teaching which led him to join the Teach First programme in Yorkshire after graduating where he taught History and English in Bradford. Before joining The Brilliant Club. Joe then spent a year teaching in a Japanese high school.

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Steph Hamilton

Area Director, South of England

Steph joined The Brilliant Club in August 2015 as The East of England Regional Director. She graduated from Durham University in 2012, where she studied Anthropology. Prior to working at The Brilliant Club, Steph was Head of Biology and Aspirations Coordinator at Dyke House Sports and Technology College, Hartlepool, where she taught for three years, after training with Teach First. As part of her role Steph was also the Lead teacher for The Scholars’ Programme at Dyke House, seeing many of her own pupils through the programme. Steph is passionate about extending access opportunities to rural and coastal communities, an interest which has grown out of her work in the North East and which prompted her to join and lead The Brilliant Club’s expanding of the South of England team.

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Lucy Preston

Area Director, East of England

Lucy joined The Brilliant Club in March 2016 as Programme Officer for the East of England. She graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2012. Prior to joining The Brilliant Club Lucy volunteered with City Year London before training as a Maths Teacher through Teach First in the West Midlands.

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David Jones

Teaching and Learning Director

David joined The Brilliant Club in 2015 as a Programme Officer before becoming the Teaching and Learning Manager for The Scholars Programme in March 2016. David graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2010, where he studied Modern History. Prior to working at The Brilliant Club, David worked at an educational charity running supplementary schools before going to complete his PGCE at the University of Bath. David then worked as a Year 5 class teacher at Belleville Primary School in south London.

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Greg Scannell

National Manager for Wales

Greg joined as National Manager for Wales, in January 2017, overseeing the growth and running of The Scholars Programme following its launch in Wales in Autumn 2016. Prior to joining the charity, he was a Leadership Development Officer for Teach First Cymru supporting new teachers entering the profession with both their practice and their well-being. Greg also worked for 5 years as a Humanities teacher at a large South West Wales Comprehensive school and as an Access Assistant Coordinator at the University of Oxford. He graduated from the University of Cambridge with a Master’s Degree in Education and a BA (Hons) in Theology from the University of Oxford. Outside of work, Greg enjoys spending time with his young family and attending live music and sports events.

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Dr Andrew Fleming

Regional Manager, London

Andy joined the Brilliant Club in March 2016 as a Programme Officer for London and the South East. Prior to joining the charity, Andy completed an AHRC-funded DPhil in History at St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford, looking at sainthood and politics in medieval England. He has also worked as teacher in Indonesia and the Bahamas.

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Dr Katrina Williams

Regional Manager, North of England

Katrina joined as Programme Officer for the North of England in August 2016. Prior to joining the charity, Katrina graduated from The University of Sheffield, where she studied a PhD in Reproductive Biology and Genetics at undergraduate. Katrina’s PhD research project involved investigating the interactions between a common herpesvirus and human sperm.

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Annabel Marcuse

Regional Manager, East of England

Annabel joined The Brilliant Club in February 2017. As Regional Manager, she oversees programme delivery and partnerships for The Scholars Programme in the East of England. Upon graduating from the University of Durham in 2013, where she studied Modern Foreign Languages, Annabel completed the Teach First Leadership Development Programme. She taught French, Spanish and Latin, and was Head of French in two London secondary schools prior to joining The Brilliant Club.  Outside of work, Annabel is a keen supporter of Watford Football Club.

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Emily Battey

Regional Manager, London

Emily joined the Scholars Programme team as Regional Manager in July 2017. She studied French and Spanish at the University of Exeter before training to teach through the Teach First Programme as part of the 2013 cohort. She taught for three years in a school in Haringey, first as a Languages teacher and then as Head of French. She then worked at Accenture, designing and delivering education and social impact projects to a range of clients across sectors.

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Dr Anna-Marie Linnell

Regional Manager, West of England

Anna-Marie joined The Brilliant Club in October 2016 as a Programme Officer for the London region. She studied an undergraduate and masters degree at the University of Exeter, before completing a PhD as part of the AHRC Stuart Successions Project. While working on her doctorate, Anna-Marie also established and led a community history project called Staging Exeter, which was funded by RCUK. She is passionate about helping researchers create impact from their research.

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Dr Claire Harrill

Programme Officer

Claire joined The Brilliant Club in November 2017 as the first Programme Officer for Wales and the South West. In her previous life she was a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, lecturing on Chaucer and Medieval Romance, via studying Medieval Literature at LMH, Oxford as an undergraduate, then an MA in Medieval Literatures at York, and a PhD at Birmingham. She came to The Brilliant Club via being a tutor on her own course ‘Reading and Writing Medieval Women’ about the (surprisingly many) women writers of the Middle Ages. In her free time, Claire likes long walks, going to the theatre and taking selfies with her cat, Chaucer.

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Charlie Talbot Rice

Programme Officer

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Maria Crawford

Programme Officer

Maria previously worked in Outreach at Aston University, University of Birmingham and with Aimhigher West Midlands, running programmes for schools from disadvantaged backgrounds. Prior to that, she studied Music at University of Southampton where she was involved in the STEM Roadshow, taking researchers work out into the wider community in accessible and interactive formats.

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Abby Cakebread-Andrews

Programme Officer

Abby joined The Brilliant Club in March 2018 as Programme Officer for the East of England. She graduated from Lancaster University in 2015, where she studied French and History including spending a year living and working in Paris. Prior to joining The Brilliant Club, Abby worked at a high school in North Wales having completed the Teach First Leadership Development Programme. At the same time, she was involved in a variety of volunteering opportunities and experiences with other charities. Outside of work, Abby has interests in travel, fitness and food.

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Siri Minsaas

Programme Officer

Siri joined The Brilliant Club in August 2018 as a Programme Officer. She graduated with a degree in international relations from Durham University in 2014, and then spent a year as Junior Common Room President at her college in Durham.  Siri then did her teacher training with Teach First, working as an English teacher at Dyke House Sports and Technology College, Hartlepool. After moving to London, Siri worked as an English and media studies teacher at Highlands School in Enfield. Prior to joining The Brilliant Club, she completed her MA in Educational Leadership at the University of Warwick, focusing on the value of aspiration in schools. Outside work, Siri enjoys travelling and baking.

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Catherine Mansfield

Programme Officer

Catherine joined The Brilliant Club in October 2018 as a Programme Officer for London and the South East. Prior to joining the charity, Catherine completed a PhD in Plant Sciences at the John Innes Centre in Norwich focussing on the development of leaves. Alongside her PhD, Catherine was a PhD Tutor for multiple Scholars Programme placements including her own course titled ‘How does your garden grow?’. Catherine has a strong interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and is passionate about helping pupils progress into STEM related fields. During her PhD, she has undertaken teaching and outreach work at the University of East Anglia and is an Associate Fellow of The Higher Education Academy. Catherine graduated from Robinson College, Cambridge having studied Biological Natural Sciences. Outside of work, Catherine enjoys walks in the countryside and playing the cello.

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Lydia Wiles

Programme Officer

Lydia joined The Scholars Programme as a Programme Officer in September 2017. She gained a BA (hons) History degree from the University of Birmingham before completing the Teach First leadership development programme, where she taught History at a secondary school on the Isle of Dogs. During her time teaching, Lydia was Head of Holocaust Education and KS3 History.

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Victoria Symons

Programme Officer

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Dr Helen Carr

Programme Officer

Helen joined The Brilliant Club in February 2018 after completing a PhD in History at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her undergraduate degree was in Modern History at the University of St Andrews. After graduating, she trained to teach and worked for 9 years as a secondary history teacher, initially in Hull and then in Cairo. Whilst teaching, she completed a Masters in Education which investigated pupils’ responses to learning about the Holocaust. Whilst working on her PhD, she also worked at the Holocaust Educational Trust, firstly on the Trust’s outreach programme and then on the teacher training programme.

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Fern Gibbons

Teaching and Learning Manager

Fern joined The Brilliant Club in October 2017 following six years teaching science in London. Fern trained to teach through Teach First following her graduation from Imperial College London in 2011 with a degree in Biomedical Science. Fern was Head of Sixth Form at a secondary school in South-East London and is passionate about working with young people and helping them progress to higher education.

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Programme Officer

Lauren Grunwell

Programme Officer

Lauren joined The Brilliant Club as a Programme Officer for the North Team in September 2017. Before joining the charity, she was conducting a research project which explored creative pedagogies in Finland and, before that, she worked as an English Teacher at a secondary school in Leeds. Lauren graduated with a BA (hons) in English Language and Literature from the University of Leeds in 2009, and qualified as an English Teacher in 2012. Outside of work, Lauren enjoys playing guitar, surfing and dancing.

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Maryam Akhtar

Team Administrator, West of England

Maryam joined the Brilliant Club in October 2017 as a Programme Administrator for the West of England. As a recent graduate from the University of Birmingham, where she studied BA Policy, Politics and Economics, Maryam has obtained roles as a Campaigns Advisor/committee member for the Black and Ethnic Minority Association, Student Ambassador and course Representative. She has further worked as a Clerical Assistant for the Birmingham International Academy, Inside Sales Support Assistant with a customer experience management company called InMoment and interned with the Institute of Research into Superdiversity. Dedicated to tackling inequality particularly along racial, class and gendered lines, Maryam is passionate about facilitating The Brilliant Club’s vision of supporting students who have often been excluded from participating in higher education culture.

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Amy Simkin

Team Administrator, North of England

Amy joined The Brilliant Club in July 2018 as Programme Administrator for the North of England. She studied Mathematics at the University of York, where she received a First Class BSc. During her time at university, she spent nine months living and studying Mathematics in Bordeaux. Outside of work, Amy enjoys yoga, reading and travelling both within the UK and abroad.

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Polly Mason

Programme Administrator, East of England

Polly joined The Brilliant Club in September 2018 as Programme Administrator for the East of England team. Prior to this, she graduated from the University of Oxford, where she studied French and Spanish, before moving to Santiago de Chile for a year to work as an English teacher. She also has experience in journalism and has spent time living and working in France and Spain. Outside of work, Polly’s interests include cooking (and, more importantly, eating), reading and writing, perusing Apple’s podcast store, and travelling.

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Hannah Dodgson

Programme Administrator, South of England

Hannah joined The Brilliant Club in 2018 as Programme Administrator for the South team. Prior to joining the organisation she interned at an international development charity and worked as communications and administration assistant for The Hextol Foundation; a charity which provides working opportunities for individuals with disabilities. She graduated from The University of Liverpool with a BA Geography degree. During her time at university she held a position as course representative, was a member of the committee for the Amnesty International Society and worked on school outreach programmes. Hannah is passionate about gender empowerment, human rights and reducing inequality. She spent time volunteering in Zambia on a project reducing the stigma and prevalence of HIV and AIDS. In her spare time she likes to travel, read and listen to podcasts.

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Farzana Lodhi

Programme Administrator, Teaching and Learning

Farzana joined The Brilliant Club in September 2018 as Programme Administrator for the Teaching and Learning Team. She graduated from SOAS university in 2018, where she studied Arabic and International Relations including spending a year living and studying in Fez, Morocco. Prior to joining The Brilliant Club, Farzana worked as an administrator for the Widening Participation team at SOAS university, was a senior Student Ambassador, and worked with Debate Mate as a debate coach in primary schools. She has also been involved in advocating for women’s rights through volunteering opportunities abroad in Egypt and Morocco. Outside of work, Farzana has interests in travel, food, and post-colonial literature.

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Jenny Paterson

School Programme Director

Jenny joined The Brilliant Club as School Programme Director in March 2018, where she oversees the Researchers in Schools programme participants and their progress on the programme.  Before joining the charity, she was a teacher for over 20 years, as a Head of Department for Drama and Media, Assistant Headteacher for teaching and learning and Head of Sixth Form.  She recently graduated from the University of York with a Masters in Social Justice and Education where her studies included Higher Education access and the impact of gender on educational choices.  Outside of work, she is a keen playwright and traveller.

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Nicholas Cater

Recruitment Director

Nicholas is responsible for all aspects of the programme’s recruitment processes, from initial attraction and advertising, through to assessment and placement. Since graduating from Durham University with a degree in Modern Languages and a Masters in Translation, Nicholas worked initially as an Accountant, then freelance translator, before finally settling on recruitment. He worked at a boutique recruitment firm in Central London where he was responsible for the delivery of several national graduate schemes. Outside of work, Nicholas enjoys keeping his languages up to scratch and is a keen traveller, particularly around Europe and Russia.

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Jessy Ahluwalia

Recruitment and Assessment Officer

Jessy joined The Brilliant Club as Recruitment and Assessment Officer in January 2018, where she works to advertise and market the Researchers in Schools Programme, and recruit participants for the upcoming year. Before joining the charity she worked at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, as the Schools Liaison Officer working in outreach and widening participation with target state schools. Jessy graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2016 with a BA in Education and Religious Studies. Outside of work Jessy enjoys dog walking, international travel and listening to feminist podcasts. Jessy moved to London for her current role, and is enjoying exploring all the city has to offer.

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Amy Broom

School Partnerships Manager

Amy is driven by a desire to increase the number of subject experts teaching in non-selective schools. Having completed her Masters in Engineering at the University of Cambridge in 2008, she undertook teacher training in South East London through the Graduate Teacher Programme. As Head of Physics at a new build academy Amy focussed on developing metacognitive approaches and promoting practical and thinking skills in science through evidence-based strategies. Prior to joining Researchers in Schools Amy was Director of STEM at a UTC in Kent, overseeing an enhanced curriculum in Engineering and Construction, employer engagement and CEIAG. Outside of work Amy is a keen equestrienne.

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Alexandra Tanner

Programme Officer

Alex joined as one of the first RIS Programme Officers in August 2016. Alex joined the Teach First Programme in 2013, which involved teaching science in Manchester and following this was a Year 8 science teacher at a school in South London. Alex graduated with a Bachelors degree in bioveterinary sciences from the University of Liverpool and is particularly interested in STEM education and extra-curricular opportunities for students. In her spare time, she enjoys attending science lectures and events, fencing and running.

 

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Rosa Smith

Programme Officer

Rosa joined the RIS team as Programme Officer in September 2017. She studied English (BA) at the University of Exeter, and became interested in Widening Participation whilst working in local schools as part of their student ambassador programme. She then worked for CRUK before completing the Teach First programme as part of the 2012 cohort. She taught English for five years, progressing to become KS5 lead and then Head of 6th Form at a secondary school in South-East London. Whilst there, she also mentored trainee teachers and NQTs. She remains committed to improving access to selective universities and raising student aspirations.

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Joanna Clark

Programme Officer

Joanna joined the RIS team as Programme Officer in October 2017. In 2008, she spent the summer working in California as a Camp Counsellor with 9-17 year olds, and it was here that she decided she wanted to pursue a career working with young people. After graduating from Queen Mary, University of London with a BA in English, Jo worked as a Teaching Assistant, before training as an English teacher through the Graduate Teaching Programme in 2011. She joined the English department at Morpeth Secondary School in Bethnal Green as an NQT, and later became the Deputy Head of English and KS3 Coordinator. Outside of work, Jo enjoys travel, live music and keeping fit.

Fabienne Crocket

Programme Officer

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Carys Taylor

Curriculum and Development Officer

Carys joined the RIS team as Curriculum & Development Officer in October 2018. She studied Education (BEd) at the University of Auckland. Carys taught in New Zealand for over 7 years and was also part of the leadership team at her school. As part of her leadership responsibilities she researched and implemented innovative teaching practices and focused on teacher development through coaching and mentoring programmes. Outside of work, Carys is interested in travel, food and reading.

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Dr Richard Branch

Curriculum and Development Consultant

Richard joined The Brilliant Club in September 2017 as a member of the Researchers in Schools team, where he serves as Curriculum and Development Consultant. Before joining the charity he was a physics teacher on the Researchers in Schools programme at Lampton School in west London, where he continues teaching three days a week. Prior to training on the programme, he was a postdoctoral research fellow in biophysics at Harvard University.

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Beth Collier

Programme Administrator

Beth joined the Researchers in Schools team in September 2017 as the Programme Administrator. Prior to this Beth completed a Linguistics degree at University College London, where she gained an interest in sign language and completed a level one BSL qualification. Following this, Beth worked as the Assistant Director of a children’s maths and English tuition centre. Working within a low socio-economic area, Beth gained experience of the difficulties children can face throughout their primary education and is excited to continue improving their success through to university level. Outside of work Beth enjoys running and baking.

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Claire Ross

Finance Manager

Claire joined The Brilliant Club in September 2016 as The Finance Officer.  Claire graduated with a Bachelor of Business Studies (Finance) from Sligo Institute of Technology before becoming an ACCA affiliate in 2011.  Before joining The Brilliant Club Claire worked for Musica Viva Australia, a not-for-profit performing arts organisation and on her return to the northern hemisphere was keen to continue her career in the charitable sector.  When not crunching numbers, Claire enjoys theatre both as a participant and spectator.

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Anna Aleksandrowicz

HR Manager

Anna is the HR Manager at The Brilliant Club and joined in September 2017. Her role is to support all who work for the charity with various initiatives including recruitment and ongoing professional development. Having completed a degree in European Politics and International Relations at Cardiff University, Anna moved into a career in HR in early 2010 and gained much of her experience working across various educational and non-profit organisations. In 2016 Anna completed an MA in Human Resource Management at Westminster Business School, which gained her a professionally recognised CIPD qualification.

Having completed her studies, Anna spends her free time travelling widely and frequently. Having proudly completed a whistle-stop tour of six continents in six months, Anna enjoys documenting her excursions as a keen hobbyist travel photographer.

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Michelle Langley

Personal Assistant to the CEO

Michelle joined The Brilliant Club as Personal Assistant to the CEO in January 2018. Prior to joining the charity, she interned and worked in publishing for a number of years, supporting a team of literary agents at an international literary agency in her role as Receptionist and Contracts Assistant. Michelle graduated with an MA (hons) in English Literature from the University of Glasgow in 2012. Outside of work, Michelle is a keen reader and runner, volunteering as a Run Leader for A Mile in Her Shoes, a charity which encourages women who are at risk of homelessness or affected by related issues to try running as a way of exercising, socialising, lifting confidence and boosting self-esteem.

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Nikki Labrum

Technology and Product Director

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Iqbal Ali

IT Support Officer

Iqbal joined The Brilliant Club in February 2018 taking on the role of IT Support Officer. Having studied at the University of Westminster and attained a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, he is passionate about IT and computing, specifically design, development and cyber security.

In his spare time, he enjoys reading, creative arts, playing sport and discovery through learning and experiences.

Mike Garthwaite

Senior Web Developer

Mike joined The Brilliant Club in September 2018 taking on the role of Senior Web Developer. Having studied at the University of Huddersfield and attaining a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, he moved into a career as a freelance web developer, specifically using tools such as PHP and javascript. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking, music and watching football.

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Holly Hinks

Personal Assistant to Chief Programmes Officer and National Programme Directors

Holly joined The Brilliant Club in December 2017 as the Personal Assistant to the Chief Programmes Officer and National Programme Directors. Holly graduated from the University of Nottingham with a BSc in Psychology. At university, Holly worked as a student ambassador for the Widening Participation team and was a Social Secretary for the University Trampolining Club. Before joining The Brilliant Club, she worked as a Team Leader for the National Citizen Service summer programme and then as a Product Support Assistant for a learning journal software company.

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Chloe Hayes

HR Administrator and PA to the COO

Chloe joined The Brilliant Club in May 2017 as the Operations Team Administrator, after completing a three-month internship with The Scholars Programme. She graduated from the University of Warwick in 2016, where she studied German and History. As part of her degree she lived in Germany for nine months, where she worked as a Foreign Languages Assistant, teaching English in a comprehensive school. Outside of work, Chloe enjoys art, travel and being a tourist in cities around the UK.

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Jessica Blazek

Finance and Operations Administrator

External Affairs Department

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Dr Chris Wilson

Dr Chris Wilson is the CEO at The Brilliant Club, an education charity committed to supporting the progression of under-represented pupils to university by mobilising the research community to work with schools. During his time at The Brilliant Club, Chris has been a PhD tutor, rolled out the charity’s provision across the UK, co-founded the teacher training programme Researchers in Schools, and launched the charity’s five-year strategy, The Path to Outcomes. Chris trained as a medieval historian at the universities of Cambridge and Exeter.

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Ciara Lynch

Chief Operating Officer

Ciara joined as Operations Director in August 2016, where she oversees Finance, HR, IT, Marketing and Communications. Prior to joining the charity, she was Vice President of Operations at a financial services firm, where she worked for five years. During this time, she managed a team of analysts delivering research to credit investors and was responsible for business change and new strategic initiatives. Ciara graduated with a Master’s Degree in the History of International Relations from University College Dublin and a BA (hons) in History and Politics, also from University College Dublin, with one year spent at Sciences Po in Paris. She also has a Graduate Diploma in Law. Outside of work, she enjoys running and travelling.

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Richard Eyre

Chief Programmes Officer

Richard leads the Programmes Division, which encompasses The Brilliant Club’s two programmes for schools and our Research and Impact Department. Before joining The Brilliant Club, Richard worked as a public policy and strategy consultant, advising education system leaders in the UK and internationally. From 2014-2016 he worked in Washington DC as strategy director at the US Education Delivery Institute. A graduate of the Civil Service Fast Steam, Richard spent the first nine years of his career in the Department for Education and then the Home Office, serving in a range of high-profile policy and delivery roles spanning education, children’s policy and policing and security. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge, where he studied law. Richard is proud to have attended a state comprehensive school and is passionate about giving more young people fair access to the best that higher education, and life, has to offer.

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Dr Lauren Bellaera

Research and Impact Director

Lauren Bellaera is the Director of Research and Impact at The Brilliant Club. She is responsible for evaluating the impact of the charity’s programmes on pupil outcomes. Lauren has also recently been appointed as a part-time Associate Lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London, and will be teaching a module on ‘Approaches to Applied Research’.

Lauren completed her PhD in cognitive psychology at the University of Warwick, where she investigated the effect of fear and sadness on spatial and temporal attention. She was then awarded an Early Career Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Study (Warwick), and as part of her fellowship she examined the role of the internet in classroom teaching and the role of open-space learning in master’s level teaching. In 2014 Lauren was appointed as a Research Associate at the University of Cambridge, where she oversaw a project evaluating the impact of a set of online educational resources on university students’ conceptual understanding and critical thinking skills.  Through her research, Lauren has worked with a number of educational organisations including IGGY and Macat.

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Susie Whigham

National Programme Director, The Scholars Programme

As National Programme Director Susie oversees the impact, growth and development of The Scholars Programme. Susie has been committed to tackling educational disadvantage throughout her career and ensuring that young people from deprived backgrounds have the opportunities and support to reach their potential. As part of the first cohort of Teach First Susie taught English in a secondary school in South-West London. During this time she set up a charity, Trust Youth, to support Year 10 pupils to develop the skills and experience to run fundraising campaigns for national charities. She subsequently worked as a Literacy Consultant for the government’s National Strategies programme in schools. As Executive Director of Services at School-Home Support, Susie has more recently had responsibility for a range of programmes tackling the underlying barriers to learning within the home, including the Troubled Families and the Parent Support Advisor initiatives.

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Leanne Adamson

National Programme Director, The Scholars Programme

Leanne studied Joint Honours in Chemistry and Physics at Durham University, where she received a First Class BSc and MSci. Upon graduating in 2011, she joined the Teach First programme where she taught Science at Churchill Community College in Newcastle for two years. Leanne has a strong interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and is passionate about helping more pupils progress into STEM related fields. She joined The Brilliant Club as a Programme Officer in 2013 and became National Programme Director for The Scholars Programme in 2017.

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Kike Agunbiade

National Programme Director, Researchers in Schools

Kike joined The Brilliant Club as National Programme Director for Researchers in Schools in October 2017. Prior to this, Kike was a Senior Education Lead at SSAT, the Schools, Students and Teachers Network, where she led on a number of high profile projects including middle and senior leadership programmes, Teaching Schools and their school improvement framework. Kike spent five years working at Teach First, where she was North London Manager, and has also worked for a range of charities in roles to support and develop teachers. Kike completed the Teach First Programme as Science Teacher in North London. She holds an MBA (Education) from Keele University and a post graduate certificate in Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education from the University of Edinburgh. Kike graduated from Merton College, University of Oxford, with an MChem in Chemistry.

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Angel-Ann D'Souza

Finance Director

Angel-Ann joined The Brilliant Club in February 2016 as The Finance Manager. Angel-Ann graduated from Trent university in Canada, where she studied Business and has her CPA, CMA designation in Canada. Prior to working at The Brilliant Club, Angel-Ann worked at Safran Electronics Canada in the Finance department.

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Rachel Lawrence

Curriculum and Development Director

Rachel read Theology at Trinity College Oxford, before doing a PGCE at St. Mary’s University College Twickenham. She later completed a Masters in Teaching at the Institute of Education, and is currently in her second year of an Educational Doctorate at Kings College London. Rachel worked as an Advanced Skills teacher for Hounslow LEA and London Challenge. She worked with primary and secondary teachers and in various subject areas including Humanities, Maths and Science. As part of her work as an AST she also worked as a visiting lecturer at St. Mary’s University College, Twickenham. She became Head of Religious Studies at Lampton School in 2011 and in 2012 led the department in their application to be one of the pilot schools for the national RE Quality Mark. The department was awarded the Gold Award which recognised the work of the department as consistently outstanding. Rachel is an Associate Senior Leader at Lampton School.

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Sabrina Luisi

External Affairs Director

Sabrina joined The Brilliant Club in July 2018, as Director of External Affairs. Sabrina is responsible for The Brilliant Club’s fundraising, communications, public affairs and building an alumni network; in short, helping people to understand, believe in and support the great work of The Brilliant Club.

Sabrina studied French and English at Leeds University, including a year in France working as a secondary school teacher. This sparked her interest in education and people development, which has been a common theme throughout her career. Sabrina grew up in an illiterate household, and this first-hand experience of educational inequality reminds her daily of the importance of supporting young people from all backgrounds to access education.

Sabrina’s experience includes the design and delivery of international development programmes and global communications within a leading IT company, before moving into the education charity sector when she joined Teach First in 2015. During her time at Teach First, Sabrina led the Teach First Access Department, expanded and developed the Higher Education Access programme, ‘Futures’, and established the Learning and Development team within Teach First.

Outside of work, Sabrina enjoys the theatre as both a spectator and performer, learning languages and is a member of two comedy improvisation groups.

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Dr Natalie Day

Area Director, North of England

Natalie joined the Brilliant Club in April 2016 as a Programme Officer for the North of England. Prior to joining the charity, Natalie completed an ESRC-funded PhD in Sociology at Newcastle University, exploring the formal and informal sexual learning processes of young heterosexual women in Northeast Brazil.

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Joe Loudon

Area Director, West of England

Joe joined The Brilliant Club in August 2014 as a Programme Officer, becoming Midlands Regional Director in January 2016. Whilst studying History and Hispanic Studies at the University of Sheffield, he worked for a Guatemalan NGO – developing the interest in education and teaching which led him to join the Teach First programme in Yorkshire after graduating where he taught History and English in Bradford. Before joining The Brilliant Club. Joe then spent a year teaching in a Japanese high school.

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Steph Hamilton

Area Director, South of England

Steph joined The Brilliant Club in August 2015 as The East of England Regional Director. She graduated from Durham University in 2012, where she studied Anthropology. Prior to working at The Brilliant Club, Steph was Head of Biology and Aspirations Coordinator at Dyke House Sports and Technology College, Hartlepool, where she taught for three years, after training with Teach First. As part of her role Steph was also the Lead teacher for The Scholars’ Programme at Dyke House, seeing many of her own pupils through the programme. Steph is passionate about extending access opportunities to rural and coastal communities, an interest which has grown out of her work in the North East and which prompted her to join and lead The Brilliant Club’s expanding of the South of England team.

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Lucy Preston

Area Director, East of England

Lucy joined The Brilliant Club in March 2016 as Programme Officer for the East of England. She graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2012. Prior to joining The Brilliant Club Lucy volunteered with City Year London before training as a Maths Teacher through Teach First in the West Midlands.

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David Jones

Teaching and Learning Director

David joined The Brilliant Club in 2015 as a Programme Officer before becoming the Teaching and Learning Manager for The Scholars Programme in March 2016. David graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2010, where he studied Modern History. Prior to working at The Brilliant Club, David worked at an educational charity running supplementary schools before going to complete his PGCE at the University of Bath. David then worked as a Year 5 class teacher at Belleville Primary School in south London.

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Greg Scannell

National Manager for Wales

Greg joined as National Manager for Wales, in January 2017, overseeing the growth and running of The Scholars Programme following its launch in Wales in Autumn 2016. Prior to joining the charity, he was a Leadership Development Officer for Teach First Cymru supporting new teachers entering the profession with both their practice and their well-being. Greg also worked for 5 years as a Humanities teacher at a large South West Wales Comprehensive school and as an Access Assistant Coordinator at the University of Oxford. He graduated from the University of Cambridge with a Master’s Degree in Education and a BA (Hons) in Theology from the University of Oxford. Outside of work, Greg enjoys spending time with his young family and attending live music and sports events.

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Dr Andrew Fleming

Regional Manager, London

Andy joined the Brilliant Club in March 2016 as a Programme Officer for London and the South East. Prior to joining the charity, Andy completed an AHRC-funded DPhil in History at St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford, looking at sainthood and politics in medieval England. He has also worked as teacher in Indonesia and the Bahamas.

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Dr Katrina Williams

Regional Manager, North of England

Katrina joined as Programme Officer for the North of England in August 2016. Prior to joining the charity, Katrina graduated from The University of Sheffield, where she studied a PhD in Reproductive Biology and Genetics at undergraduate. Katrina’s PhD research project involved investigating the interactions between a common herpesvirus and human sperm.

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Annabel Marcuse

Regional Manager, East of England

Annabel joined The Brilliant Club in February 2017. As Regional Manager, she oversees programme delivery and partnerships for The Scholars Programme in the East of England. Upon graduating from the University of Durham in 2013, where she studied Modern Foreign Languages, Annabel completed the Teach First Leadership Development Programme. She taught French, Spanish and Latin, and was Head of French in two London secondary schools prior to joining The Brilliant Club.  Outside of work, Annabel is a keen supporter of Watford Football Club.

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Emily Battey

Regional Manager, London

Emily joined the Scholars Programme team as Regional Manager in July 2017. She studied French and Spanish at the University of Exeter before training to teach through the Teach First Programme as part of the 2013 cohort. She taught for three years in a school in Haringey, first as a Languages teacher and then as Head of French. She then worked at Accenture, designing and delivering education and social impact projects to a range of clients across sectors.

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Dr Anna-Marie Linnell

Regional Manager, West of England

Anna-Marie joined The Brilliant Club in October 2016 as a Programme Officer for the London region. She studied an undergraduate and masters degree at the University of Exeter, before completing a PhD as part of the AHRC Stuart Successions Project. While working on her doctorate, Anna-Marie also established and led a community history project called Staging Exeter, which was funded by RCUK. She is passionate about helping researchers create impact from their research.

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Dr Claire Harrill

Programme Officer

Claire joined The Brilliant Club in November 2017 as the first Programme Officer for Wales and the South West. In her previous life she was a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, lecturing on Chaucer and Medieval Romance, via studying Medieval Literature at LMH, Oxford as an undergraduate, then an MA in Medieval Literatures at York, and a PhD at Birmingham. She came to The Brilliant Club via being a tutor on her own course ‘Reading and Writing Medieval Women’ about the (surprisingly many) women writers of the Middle Ages. In her free time, Claire likes long walks, going to the theatre and taking selfies with her cat, Chaucer.

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Charlie Talbot Rice

Programme Officer

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Maria Crawford

Programme Officer

Maria previously worked in Outreach at Aston University, University of Birmingham and with Aimhigher West Midlands, running programmes for schools from disadvantaged backgrounds. Prior to that, she studied Music at University of Southampton where she was involved in the STEM Roadshow, taking researchers work out into the wider community in accessible and interactive formats.

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Abby Cakebread-Andrews

Programme Officer

Abby joined The Brilliant Club in March 2018 as Programme Officer for the East of England. She graduated from Lancaster University in 2015, where she studied French and History including spending a year living and working in Paris. Prior to joining The Brilliant Club, Abby worked at a high school in North Wales having completed the Teach First Leadership Development Programme. At the same time, she was involved in a variety of volunteering opportunities and experiences with other charities. Outside of work, Abby has interests in travel, fitness and food.

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Siri Minsaas

Programme Officer

Siri joined The Brilliant Club in August 2018 as a Programme Officer. She graduated with a degree in international relations from Durham University in 2014, and then spent a year as Junior Common Room President at her college in Durham.  Siri then did her teacher training with Teach First, working as an English teacher at Dyke House Sports and Technology College, Hartlepool. After moving to London, Siri worked as an English and media studies teacher at Highlands School in Enfield. Prior to joining The Brilliant Club, she completed her MA in Educational Leadership at the University of Warwick, focusing on the value of aspiration in schools. Outside work, Siri enjoys travelling and baking.

Catherine Mansfield

Catherine Mansfield

Programme Officer

Catherine joined The Brilliant Club in October 2018 as a Programme Officer for London and the South East. Prior to joining the charity, Catherine completed a PhD in Plant Sciences at the John Innes Centre in Norwich focussing on the development of leaves. Alongside her PhD, Catherine was a PhD Tutor for multiple Scholars Programme placements including her own course titled ‘How does your garden grow?’. Catherine has a strong interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and is passionate about helping pupils progress into STEM related fields. During her PhD, she has undertaken teaching and outreach work at the University of East Anglia and is an Associate Fellow of The Higher Education Academy. Catherine graduated from Robinson College, Cambridge having studied Biological Natural Sciences. Outside of work, Catherine enjoys walks in the countryside and playing the cello.

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Lydia Wiles

Programme Officer

Lydia joined The Scholars Programme as a Programme Officer in September 2017. She gained a BA (hons) History degree from the University of Birmingham before completing the Teach First leadership development programme, where she taught History at a secondary school on the Isle of Dogs. During her time teaching, Lydia was Head of Holocaust Education and KS3 History.

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Victoria Symons

Programme Officer

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Dr Helen Carr

Programme Officer

Helen joined The Brilliant Club in February 2018 after completing a PhD in History at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her undergraduate degree was in Modern History at the University of St Andrews. After graduating, she trained to teach and worked for 9 years as a secondary history teacher, initially in Hull and then in Cairo. Whilst teaching, she completed a Masters in Education which investigated pupils’ responses to learning about the Holocaust. Whilst working on her PhD, she also worked at the Holocaust Educational Trust, firstly on the Trust’s outreach programme and then on the teacher training programme.

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Fern Gibbons

Teaching and Learning Manager

Fern joined The Brilliant Club in October 2017 following six years teaching science in London. Fern trained to teach through Teach First following her graduation from Imperial College London in 2011 with a degree in Biomedical Science. Fern was Head of Sixth Form at a secondary school in South-East London and is passionate about working with young people and helping them progress to higher education.

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Programme Officer

Lauren Grunwell

Programme Officer

Lauren joined The Brilliant Club as a Programme Officer for the North Team in September 2017. Before joining the charity, she was conducting a research project which explored creative pedagogies in Finland and, before that, she worked as an English Teacher at a secondary school in Leeds. Lauren graduated with a BA (hons) in English Language and Literature from the University of Leeds in 2009, and qualified as an English Teacher in 2012. Outside of work, Lauren enjoys playing guitar, surfing and dancing.

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Maryam Akhtar

Team Administrator, West of England

Maryam joined the Brilliant Club in October 2017 as a Programme Administrator for the West of England. As a recent graduate from the University of Birmingham, where she studied BA Policy, Politics and Economics, Maryam has obtained roles as a Campaigns Advisor/committee member for the Black and Ethnic Minority Association, Student Ambassador and course Representative. She has further worked as a Clerical Assistant for the Birmingham International Academy, Inside Sales Support Assistant with a customer experience management company called InMoment and interned with the Institute of Research into Superdiversity. Dedicated to tackling inequality particularly along racial, class and gendered lines, Maryam is passionate about facilitating The Brilliant Club’s vision of supporting students who have often been excluded from participating in higher education culture.

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Amy Simkin

Team Administrator, North of England

Amy joined The Brilliant Club in July 2018 as Programme Administrator for the North of England. She studied Mathematics at the University of York, where she received a First Class BSc. During her time at university, she spent nine months living and studying Mathematics in Bordeaux. Outside of work, Amy enjoys yoga, reading and travelling both within the UK and abroad.

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Polly Mason

Programme Administrator, East of England

Polly joined The Brilliant Club in September 2018 as Programme Administrator for the East of England team. Prior to this, she graduated from the University of Oxford, where she studied French and Spanish, before moving to Santiago de Chile for a year to work as an English teacher. She also has experience in journalism and has spent time living and working in France and Spain. Outside of work, Polly’s interests include cooking (and, more importantly, eating), reading and writing, perusing Apple’s podcast store, and travelling.

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Hannah Dodgson

Programme Administrator, South of England

Hannah joined The Brilliant Club in 2018 as Programme Administrator for the South team. Prior to joining the organisation she interned at an international development charity and worked as communications and administration assistant for The Hextol Foundation; a charity which provides working opportunities for individuals with disabilities. She graduated from The University of Liverpool with a BA Geography degree. During her time at university she held a position as course representative, was a member of the committee for the Amnesty International Society and worked on school outreach programmes. Hannah is passionate about gender empowerment, human rights and reducing inequality. She spent time volunteering in Zambia on a project reducing the stigma and prevalence of HIV and AIDS. In her spare time she likes to travel, read and listen to podcasts.

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Farzana Lodhi

Programme Administrator, Teaching and Learning

Farzana joined The Brilliant Club in September 2018 as Programme Administrator for the Teaching and Learning Team. She graduated from SOAS university in 2018, where she studied Arabic and International Relations including spending a year living and studying in Fez, Morocco. Prior to joining The Brilliant Club, Farzana worked as an administrator for the Widening Participation team at SOAS university, was a senior Student Ambassador, and worked with Debate Mate as a debate coach in primary schools. She has also been involved in advocating for women’s rights through volunteering opportunities abroad in Egypt and Morocco. Outside of work, Farzana has interests in travel, food, and post-colonial literature.

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Jenny Paterson

School Programme Director

Jenny joined The Brilliant Club as School Programme Director in March 2018, where she oversees the Researchers in Schools programme participants and their progress on the programme.  Before joining the charity, she was a teacher for over 20 years, as a Head of Department for Drama and Media, Assistant Headteacher for teaching and learning and Head of Sixth Form.  She recently graduated from the University of York with a Masters in Social Justice and Education where her studies included Higher Education access and the impact of gender on educational choices.  Outside of work, she is a keen playwright and traveller.

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Nicholas Cater

Recruitment Director

Nicholas is responsible for all aspects of the programme’s recruitment processes, from initial attraction and advertising, through to assessment and placement. Since graduating from Durham University with a degree in Modern Languages and a Masters in Translation, Nicholas worked initially as an Accountant, then freelance translator, before finally settling on recruitment. He worked at a boutique recruitment firm in Central London where he was responsible for the delivery of several national graduate schemes. Outside of work, Nicholas enjoys keeping his languages up to scratch and is a keen traveller, particularly around Europe and Russia.

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Jessy Ahluwalia

Recruitment and Assessment Officer

Jessy joined The Brilliant Club as Recruitment and Assessment Officer in January 2018, where she works to advertise and market the Researchers in Schools Programme, and recruit participants for the upcoming year. Before joining the charity she worked at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, as the Schools Liaison Officer working in outreach and widening participation with target state schools. Jessy graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2016 with a BA in Education and Religious Studies. Outside of work Jessy enjoys dog walking, international travel and listening to feminist podcasts. Jessy moved to London for her current role, and is enjoying exploring all the city has to offer.

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Amy Broom

School Partnerships Manager

Amy is driven by a desire to increase the number of subject experts teaching in non-selective schools. Having completed her Masters in Engineering at the University of Cambridge in 2008, she undertook teacher training in South East London through the Graduate Teacher Programme. As Head of Physics at a new build academy Amy focussed on developing metacognitive approaches and promoting practical and thinking skills in science through evidence-based strategies. Prior to joining Researchers in Schools Amy was Director of STEM at a UTC in Kent, overseeing an enhanced curriculum in Engineering and Construction, employer engagement and CEIAG. Outside of work Amy is a keen equestrienne.

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Alexandra Tanner

Programme Officer

Alex joined as one of the first RIS Programme Officers in August 2016. Alex joined the Teach First Programme in 2013, which involved teaching science in Manchester and following this was a Year 8 science teacher at a school in South London. Alex graduated with a Bachelors degree in bioveterinary sciences from the University of Liverpool and is particularly interested in STEM education and extra-curricular opportunities for students. In her spare time, she enjoys attending science lectures and events, fencing and running.

 

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Rosa Smith

Programme Officer

Rosa joined the RIS team as Programme Officer in September 2017. She studied English (BA) at the University of Exeter, and became interested in Widening Participation whilst working in local schools as part of their student ambassador programme. She then worked for CRUK before completing the Teach First programme as part of the 2012 cohort. She taught English for five years, progressing to become KS5 lead and then Head of 6th Form at a secondary school in South-East London. Whilst there, she also mentored trainee teachers and NQTs. She remains committed to improving access to selective universities and raising student aspirations.

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Joanna Clark

Programme Officer

Joanna joined the RIS team as Programme Officer in October 2017. In 2008, she spent the summer working in California as a Camp Counsellor with 9-17 year olds, and it was here that she decided she wanted to pursue a career working with young people. After graduating from Queen Mary, University of London with a BA in English, Jo worked as a Teaching Assistant, before training as an English teacher through the Graduate Teaching Programme in 2011. She joined the English department at Morpeth Secondary School in Bethnal Green as an NQT, and later became the Deputy Head of English and KS3 Coordinator. Outside of work, Jo enjoys travel, live music and keeping fit.

Fabienne Crocket

Programme Officer

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Carys Taylor

Curriculum and Development Officer

Carys joined the RIS team as Curriculum & Development Officer in October 2018. She studied Education (BEd) at the University of Auckland. Carys taught in New Zealand for over 7 years and was also part of the leadership team at her school. As part of her leadership responsibilities she researched and implemented innovative teaching practices and focused on teacher development through coaching and mentoring programmes. Outside of work, Carys is interested in travel, food and reading.

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Dr Richard Branch

Curriculum and Development Consultant

Richard joined The Brilliant Club in September 2017 as a member of the Researchers in Schools team, where he serves as Curriculum and Development Consultant. Before joining the charity he was a physics teacher on the Researchers in Schools programme at Lampton School in west London, where he continues teaching three days a week. Prior to training on the programme, he was a postdoctoral research fellow in biophysics at Harvard University.

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Beth Collier

Programme Administrator

Beth joined the Researchers in Schools team in September 2017 as the Programme Administrator. Prior to this Beth completed a Linguistics degree at University College London, where she gained an interest in sign language and completed a level one BSL qualification. Following this, Beth worked as the Assistant Director of a children’s maths and English tuition centre. Working within a low socio-economic area, Beth gained experience of the difficulties children can face throughout their primary education and is excited to continue improving their success through to university level. Outside of work Beth enjoys running and baking.

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Claire Ross

Finance Manager

Claire joined The Brilliant Club in September 2016 as The Finance Officer.  Claire graduated with a Bachelor of Business Studies (Finance) from Sligo Institute of Technology before becoming an ACCA affiliate in 2011.  Before joining The Brilliant Club Claire worked for Musica Viva Australia, a not-for-profit performing arts organisation and on her return to the northern hemisphere was keen to continue her career in the charitable sector.  When not crunching numbers, Claire enjoys theatre both as a participant and spectator.

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Anna Aleksandrowicz

HR Manager

Anna is the HR Manager at The Brilliant Club and joined in September 2017. Her role is to support all who work for the charity with various initiatives including recruitment and ongoing professional development. Having completed a degree in European Politics and International Relations at Cardiff University, Anna moved into a career in HR in early 2010 and gained much of her experience working across various educational and non-profit organisations. In 2016 Anna completed an MA in Human Resource Management at Westminster Business School, which gained her a professionally recognised CIPD qualification.

Having completed her studies, Anna spends her free time travelling widely and frequently. Having proudly completed a whistle-stop tour of six continents in six months, Anna enjoys documenting her excursions as a keen hobbyist travel photographer.

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Michelle Langley

Personal Assistant to the CEO

Michelle joined The Brilliant Club as Personal Assistant to the CEO in January 2018. Prior to joining the charity, she interned and worked in publishing for a number of years, supporting a team of literary agents at an international literary agency in her role as Receptionist and Contracts Assistant. Michelle graduated with an MA (hons) in English Literature from the University of Glasgow in 2012. Outside of work, Michelle is a keen reader and runner, volunteering as a Run Leader for A Mile in Her Shoes, a charity which encourages women who are at risk of homelessness or affected by related issues to try running as a way of exercising, socialising, lifting confidence and boosting self-esteem.

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Nikki Labrum

Technology and Product Director

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Iqbal Ali

IT Support Officer

Iqbal joined The Brilliant Club in February 2018 taking on the role of IT Support Officer. Having studied at the University of Westminster and attained a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, he is passionate about IT and computing, specifically design, development and cyber security.

In his spare time, he enjoys reading, creative arts, playing sport and discovery through learning and experiences.

Mike Garthwaite

Senior Web Developer

Mike joined The Brilliant Club in September 2018 taking on the role of Senior Web Developer. Having studied at the University of Huddersfield and attaining a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, he moved into a career as a freelance web developer, specifically using tools such as PHP and javascript. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking, music and watching football.

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Holly Hinks

Personal Assistant to Chief Programmes Officer and National Programme Directors

Holly joined The Brilliant Club in December 2017 as the Personal Assistant to the Chief Programmes Officer and National Programme Directors. Holly graduated from the University of Nottingham with a BSc in Psychology. At university, Holly worked as a student ambassador for the Widening Participation team and was a Social Secretary for the University Trampolining Club. Before joining The Brilliant Club, she worked as a Team Leader for the National Citizen Service summer programme and then as a Product Support Assistant for a learning journal software company.

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Chloe Hayes

HR Administrator and PA to the COO

Chloe joined The Brilliant Club in May 2017 as the Operations Team Administrator, after completing a three-month internship with The Scholars Programme. She graduated from the University of Warwick in 2016, where she studied German and History. As part of her degree she lived in Germany for nine months, where she worked as a Foreign Languages Assistant, teaching English in a comprehensive school. Outside of work, Chloe enjoys art, travel and being a tourist in cities around the UK.

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Jessica Blazek

Finance and Operations Administrator

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Maddy Maloney

Fundraising Officer

Maddy studied English and Theatre Studies at the University of Warwick, spending a year at the Université Paris-Sorbonne. Whilst at university she acted as a writer, actor and contributor to Radio Warwick, was a member of Warwick Repertory Theatre Company and also acted as Social Secretary for the university’s Shakespeare Society. She worked for the Widening Patricipation Team and was  an English Ambassador for the Warwick Transformations Project. Before joining The Brilliant Club Midlands team as a Programme Administrator, Maddy completed work experience at BBC Radio 4 and worked at Gwyn James Solicitors. Maddy assumed a new role as Partnerships Officer in January 2018.

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Jordanna Knight

External Affairs Administrator

Jordanna joined The Brilliant Club in 2015 after completing her A-Levels in History, Sociology and Philosophy and Ethics. Although she loved learning, upon leaving Sixth Form, she believed it was essential to gain experience in the world of work and develop invaluable skills and confidence. She completed an apprenticeship programme in Business Administration with The Scholars Programme. Jordanna is passionate about the charity’s mission and therefore committed to increasing access to these amazing opportunities for all pupils, as she too attended a non-selective state school. Increasing her knowledge within the sector has encouraged her to want to contribute more to the charity to make a difference and has therefore carried out multiple roles during her time at the charity. She is now the External Affairs Administrator.

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Sally Holt

Policy Officer

Sally first worked as The Brilliant Club Conference and Events Intern in 2016 before joining full time October 2017 after finishing her Masters in Education Policy at UCL. Previous to this, Sally had worked for three years at Dyke House College in Hartlepool, firstly as part of the team setting up the Sixth Form and latterly, as the Aspirations Coordinator creating a whole school progression programme which works with pupils from Year 5 to Year 13. Sally is an education nerd who enjoys reading policy in her spare time, as well as running and skiing. 

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Zoë Whitford

Communications and Marketing Manager

As Communications and Marketing Manager, Zoë looks after marketing, branding and both internal and external communications. She joined The Brilliant Club in October 2018 from Perform Group, where she had spent five years working as a Business Analyst and Customer Marketing Manager. Prior to that, Zoë spent six happy seasons working in various Marketing roles at Lancashire County Cricket Club.

Having attended state schools in Norfolk and Yorkshire, Zoë studied at Clare College, Cambridge, where she attained her MA in Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic. She also achieved a master’s degree in Communications from the University of Leeds in 2007.

Outside work, Zoë watches a lot of sport and is a season ticket holder at Norwich City where she also writes for the matchday programme. She also enjoys cooking, travelling and comedy.

Research and Impact Department

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Dr Chris Wilson

Dr Chris Wilson is the CEO at The Brilliant Club, an education charity committed to supporting the progression of under-represented pupils to university by mobilising the research community to work with schools. During his time at The Brilliant Club, Chris has been a PhD tutor, rolled out the charity’s provision across the UK, co-founded the teacher training programme Researchers in Schools, and launched the charity’s five-year strategy, The Path to Outcomes. Chris trained as a medieval historian at the universities of Cambridge and Exeter.

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Ciara Lynch

Chief Operating Officer

Ciara joined as Operations Director in August 2016, where she oversees Finance, HR, IT, Marketing and Communications. Prior to joining the charity, she was Vice President of Operations at a financial services firm, where she worked for five years. During this time, she managed a team of analysts delivering research to credit investors and was responsible for business change and new strategic initiatives. Ciara graduated with a Master’s Degree in the History of International Relations from University College Dublin and a BA (hons) in History and Politics, also from University College Dublin, with one year spent at Sciences Po in Paris. She also has a Graduate Diploma in Law. Outside of work, she enjoys running and travelling.

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Richard Eyre

Chief Programmes Officer

Richard leads the Programmes Division, which encompasses The Brilliant Club’s two programmes for schools and our Research and Impact Department. Before joining The Brilliant Club, Richard worked as a public policy and strategy consultant, advising education system leaders in the UK and internationally. From 2014-2016 he worked in Washington DC as strategy director at the US Education Delivery Institute. A graduate of the Civil Service Fast Steam, Richard spent the first nine years of his career in the Department for Education and then the Home Office, serving in a range of high-profile policy and delivery roles spanning education, children’s policy and policing and security. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge, where he studied law. Richard is proud to have attended a state comprehensive school and is passionate about giving more young people fair access to the best that higher education, and life, has to offer.

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Dr Lauren Bellaera

Research and Impact Director

Lauren Bellaera is the Director of Research and Impact at The Brilliant Club. She is responsible for evaluating the impact of the charity’s programmes on pupil outcomes. Lauren has also recently been appointed as a part-time Associate Lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London, and will be teaching a module on ‘Approaches to Applied Research’.

Lauren completed her PhD in cognitive psychology at the University of Warwick, where she investigated the effect of fear and sadness on spatial and temporal attention. She was then awarded an Early Career Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Study (Warwick), and as part of her fellowship she examined the role of the internet in classroom teaching and the role of open-space learning in master’s level teaching. In 2014 Lauren was appointed as a Research Associate at the University of Cambridge, where she oversaw a project evaluating the impact of a set of online educational resources on university students’ conceptual understanding and critical thinking skills.  Through her research, Lauren has worked with a number of educational organisations including IGGY and Macat.

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Susie Whigham

National Programme Director, The Scholars Programme

As National Programme Director Susie oversees the impact, growth and development of The Scholars Programme. Susie has been committed to tackling educational disadvantage throughout her career and ensuring that young people from deprived backgrounds have the opportunities and support to reach their potential. As part of the first cohort of Teach First Susie taught English in a secondary school in South-West London. During this time she set up a charity, Trust Youth, to support Year 10 pupils to develop the skills and experience to run fundraising campaigns for national charities. She subsequently worked as a Literacy Consultant for the government’s National Strategies programme in schools. As Executive Director of Services at School-Home Support, Susie has more recently had responsibility for a range of programmes tackling the underlying barriers to learning within the home, including the Troubled Families and the Parent Support Advisor initiatives.

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Leanne Adamson

National Programme Director, The Scholars Programme

Leanne studied Joint Honours in Chemistry and Physics at Durham University, where she received a First Class BSc and MSci. Upon graduating in 2011, she joined the Teach First programme where she taught Science at Churchill Community College in Newcastle for two years. Leanne has a strong interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and is passionate about helping more pupils progress into STEM related fields. She joined The Brilliant Club as a Programme Officer in 2013 and became National Programme Director for The Scholars Programme in 2017.

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Kike Agunbiade

National Programme Director, Researchers in Schools

Kike joined The Brilliant Club as National Programme Director for Researchers in Schools in October 2017. Prior to this, Kike was a Senior Education Lead at SSAT, the Schools, Students and Teachers Network, where she led on a number of high profile projects including middle and senior leadership programmes, Teaching Schools and their school improvement framework. Kike spent five years working at Teach First, where she was North London Manager, and has also worked for a range of charities in roles to support and develop teachers. Kike completed the Teach First Programme as Science Teacher in North London. She holds an MBA (Education) from Keele University and a post graduate certificate in Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education from the University of Edinburgh. Kike graduated from Merton College, University of Oxford, with an MChem in Chemistry.

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Angel-Ann D'Souza

Finance Director

Angel-Ann joined The Brilliant Club in February 2016 as The Finance Manager. Angel-Ann graduated from Trent university in Canada, where she studied Business and has her CPA, CMA designation in Canada. Prior to working at The Brilliant Club, Angel-Ann worked at Safran Electronics Canada in the Finance department.

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Rachel Lawrence

Curriculum and Development Director

Rachel read Theology at Trinity College Oxford, before doing a PGCE at St. Mary’s University College Twickenham. She later completed a Masters in Teaching at the Institute of Education, and is currently in her second year of an Educational Doctorate at Kings College London. Rachel worked as an Advanced Skills teacher for Hounslow LEA and London Challenge. She worked with primary and secondary teachers and in various subject areas including Humanities, Maths and Science. As part of her work as an AST she also worked as a visiting lecturer at St. Mary’s University College, Twickenham. She became Head of Religious Studies at Lampton School in 2011 and in 2012 led the department in their application to be one of the pilot schools for the national RE Quality Mark. The department was awarded the Gold Award which recognised the work of the department as consistently outstanding. Rachel is an Associate Senior Leader at Lampton School.

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Sabrina Luisi

External Affairs Director

Sabrina joined The Brilliant Club in July 2018, as Director of External Affairs. Sabrina is responsible for The Brilliant Club’s fundraising, communications, public affairs and building an alumni network; in short, helping people to understand, believe in and support the great work of The Brilliant Club.

Sabrina studied French and English at Leeds University, including a year in France working as a secondary school teacher. This sparked her interest in education and people development, which has been a common theme throughout her career. Sabrina grew up in an illiterate household, and this first-hand experience of educational inequality reminds her daily of the importance of supporting young people from all backgrounds to access education.

Sabrina’s experience includes the design and delivery of international development programmes and global communications within a leading IT company, before moving into the education charity sector when she joined Teach First in 2015. During her time at Teach First, Sabrina led the Teach First Access Department, expanded and developed the Higher Education Access programme, ‘Futures’, and established the Learning and Development team within Teach First.

Outside of work, Sabrina enjoys the theatre as both a spectator and performer, learning languages and is a member of two comedy improvisation groups.

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Dr Natalie Day

Area Director, North of England

Natalie joined the Brilliant Club in April 2016 as a Programme Officer for the North of England. Prior to joining the charity, Natalie completed an ESRC-funded PhD in Sociology at Newcastle University, exploring the formal and informal sexual learning processes of young heterosexual women in Northeast Brazil.

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Joe Loudon

Area Director, West of England

Joe joined The Brilliant Club in August 2014 as a Programme Officer, becoming Midlands Regional Director in January 2016. Whilst studying History and Hispanic Studies at the University of Sheffield, he worked for a Guatemalan NGO – developing the interest in education and teaching which led him to join the Teach First programme in Yorkshire after graduating where he taught History and English in Bradford. Before joining The Brilliant Club. Joe then spent a year teaching in a Japanese high school.

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Steph Hamilton

Area Director, South of England

Steph joined The Brilliant Club in August 2015 as The East of England Regional Director. She graduated from Durham University in 2012, where she studied Anthropology. Prior to working at The Brilliant Club, Steph was Head of Biology and Aspirations Coordinator at Dyke House Sports and Technology College, Hartlepool, where she taught for three years, after training with Teach First. As part of her role Steph was also the Lead teacher for The Scholars’ Programme at Dyke House, seeing many of her own pupils through the programme. Steph is passionate about extending access opportunities to rural and coastal communities, an interest which has grown out of her work in the North East and which prompted her to join and lead The Brilliant Club’s expanding of the South of England team.

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Lucy Preston

Area Director, East of England

Lucy joined The Brilliant Club in March 2016 as Programme Officer for the East of England. She graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2012. Prior to joining The Brilliant Club Lucy volunteered with City Year London before training as a Maths Teacher through Teach First in the West Midlands.

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David Jones

Teaching and Learning Director

David joined The Brilliant Club in 2015 as a Programme Officer before becoming the Teaching and Learning Manager for The Scholars Programme in March 2016. David graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2010, where he studied Modern History. Prior to working at The Brilliant Club, David worked at an educational charity running supplementary schools before going to complete his PGCE at the University of Bath. David then worked as a Year 5 class teacher at Belleville Primary School in south London.

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Greg Scannell

National Manager for Wales

Greg joined as National Manager for Wales, in January 2017, overseeing the growth and running of The Scholars Programme following its launch in Wales in Autumn 2016. Prior to joining the charity, he was a Leadership Development Officer for Teach First Cymru supporting new teachers entering the profession with both their practice and their well-being. Greg also worked for 5 years as a Humanities teacher at a large South West Wales Comprehensive school and as an Access Assistant Coordinator at the University of Oxford. He graduated from the University of Cambridge with a Master’s Degree in Education and a BA (Hons) in Theology from the University of Oxford. Outside of work, Greg enjoys spending time with his young family and attending live music and sports events.

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Dr Andrew Fleming

Regional Manager, London

Andy joined the Brilliant Club in March 2016 as a Programme Officer for London and the South East. Prior to joining the charity, Andy completed an AHRC-funded DPhil in History at St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford, looking at sainthood and politics in medieval England. He has also worked as teacher in Indonesia and the Bahamas.

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Dr Katrina Williams

Regional Manager, North of England

Katrina joined as Programme Officer for the North of England in August 2016. Prior to joining the charity, Katrina graduated from The University of Sheffield, where she studied a PhD in Reproductive Biology and Genetics at undergraduate. Katrina’s PhD research project involved investigating the interactions between a common herpesvirus and human sperm.

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Annabel Marcuse

Regional Manager, East of England

Annabel joined The Brilliant Club in February 2017. As Regional Manager, she oversees programme delivery and partnerships for The Scholars Programme in the East of England. Upon graduating from the University of Durham in 2013, where she studied Modern Foreign Languages, Annabel completed the Teach First Leadership Development Programme. She taught French, Spanish and Latin, and was Head of French in two London secondary schools prior to joining The Brilliant Club.  Outside of work, Annabel is a keen supporter of Watford Football Club.

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Emily Battey

Regional Manager, London

Emily joined the Scholars Programme team as Regional Manager in July 2017. She studied French and Spanish at the University of Exeter before training to teach through the Teach First Programme as part of the 2013 cohort. She taught for three years in a school in Haringey, first as a Languages teacher and then as Head of French. She then worked at Accenture, designing and delivering education and social impact projects to a range of clients across sectors.

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Dr Anna-Marie Linnell

Regional Manager, West of England

Anna-Marie joined The Brilliant Club in October 2016 as a Programme Officer for the London region. She studied an undergraduate and masters degree at the University of Exeter, before completing a PhD as part of the AHRC Stuart Successions Project. While working on her doctorate, Anna-Marie also established and led a community history project called Staging Exeter, which was funded by RCUK. She is passionate about helping researchers create impact from their research.

Claire Harrill

Dr Claire Harrill

Programme Officer

Claire joined The Brilliant Club in November 2017 as the first Programme Officer for Wales and the South West. In her previous life she was a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, lecturing on Chaucer and Medieval Romance, via studying Medieval Literature at LMH, Oxford as an undergraduate, then an MA in Medieval Literatures at York, and a PhD at Birmingham. She came to The Brilliant Club via being a tutor on her own course ‘Reading and Writing Medieval Women’ about the (surprisingly many) women writers of the Middle Ages. In her free time, Claire likes long walks, going to the theatre and taking selfies with her cat, Chaucer.

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Charlie Talbot Rice

Programme Officer

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Maria Crawford

Programme Officer

Maria previously worked in Outreach at Aston University, University of Birmingham and with Aimhigher West Midlands, running programmes for schools from disadvantaged backgrounds. Prior to that, she studied Music at University of Southampton where she was involved in the STEM Roadshow, taking researchers work out into the wider community in accessible and interactive formats.

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Abby Cakebread-Andrews

Programme Officer

Abby joined The Brilliant Club in March 2018 as Programme Officer for the East of England. She graduated from Lancaster University in 2015, where she studied French and History including spending a year living and working in Paris. Prior to joining The Brilliant Club, Abby worked at a high school in North Wales having completed the Teach First Leadership Development Programme. At the same time, she was involved in a variety of volunteering opportunities and experiences with other charities. Outside of work, Abby has interests in travel, fitness and food.

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Siri Minsaas

Programme Officer

Siri joined The Brilliant Club in August 2018 as a Programme Officer. She graduated with a degree in international relations from Durham University in 2014, and then spent a year as Junior Common Room President at her college in Durham.  Siri then did her teacher training with Teach First, working as an English teacher at Dyke House Sports and Technology College, Hartlepool. After moving to London, Siri worked as an English and media studies teacher at Highlands School in Enfield. Prior to joining The Brilliant Club, she completed her MA in Educational Leadership at the University of Warwick, focusing on the value of aspiration in schools. Outside work, Siri enjoys travelling and baking.

Catherine Mansfield

Catherine Mansfield

Programme Officer

Catherine joined The Brilliant Club in October 2018 as a Programme Officer for London and the South East. Prior to joining the charity, Catherine completed a PhD in Plant Sciences at the John Innes Centre in Norwich focussing on the development of leaves. Alongside her PhD, Catherine was a PhD Tutor for multiple Scholars Programme placements including her own course titled ‘How does your garden grow?’. Catherine has a strong interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and is passionate about helping pupils progress into STEM related fields. During her PhD, she has undertaken teaching and outreach work at the University of East Anglia and is an Associate Fellow of The Higher Education Academy. Catherine graduated from Robinson College, Cambridge having studied Biological Natural Sciences. Outside of work, Catherine enjoys walks in the countryside and playing the cello.

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Lydia Wiles

Programme Officer

Lydia joined The Scholars Programme as a Programme Officer in September 2017. She gained a BA (hons) History degree from the University of Birmingham before completing the Teach First leadership development programme, where she taught History at a secondary school on the Isle of Dogs. During her time teaching, Lydia was Head of Holocaust Education and KS3 History.

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Victoria Symons

Programme Officer

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Dr Helen Carr

Programme Officer

Helen joined The Brilliant Club in February 2018 after completing a PhD in History at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her undergraduate degree was in Modern History at the University of St Andrews. After graduating, she trained to teach and worked for 9 years as a secondary history teacher, initially in Hull and then in Cairo. Whilst teaching, she completed a Masters in Education which investigated pupils’ responses to learning about the Holocaust. Whilst working on her PhD, she also worked at the Holocaust Educational Trust, firstly on the Trust’s outreach programme and then on the teacher training programme.

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Fern Gibbons

Teaching and Learning Manager

Fern joined The Brilliant Club in October 2017 following six years teaching science in London. Fern trained to teach through Teach First following her graduation from Imperial College London in 2011 with a degree in Biomedical Science. Fern was Head of Sixth Form at a secondary school in South-East London and is passionate about working with young people and helping them progress to higher education.

Sophie Callin

Programme Officer

Lauren Grunwell

Programme Officer

Lauren joined The Brilliant Club as a Programme Officer for the North Team in September 2017. Before joining the charity, she was conducting a research project which explored creative pedagogies in Finland and, before that, she worked as an English Teacher at a secondary school in Leeds. Lauren graduated with a BA (hons) in English Language and Literature from the University of Leeds in 2009, and qualified as an English Teacher in 2012. Outside of work, Lauren enjoys playing guitar, surfing and dancing.

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Maryam Akhtar

Team Administrator, West of England

Maryam joined the Brilliant Club in October 2017 as a Programme Administrator for the West of England. As a recent graduate from the University of Birmingham, where she studied BA Policy, Politics and Economics, Maryam has obtained roles as a Campaigns Advisor/committee member for the Black and Ethnic Minority Association, Student Ambassador and course Representative. She has further worked as a Clerical Assistant for the Birmingham International Academy, Inside Sales Support Assistant with a customer experience management company called InMoment and interned with the Institute of Research into Superdiversity. Dedicated to tackling inequality particularly along racial, class and gendered lines, Maryam is passionate about facilitating The Brilliant Club’s vision of supporting students who have often been excluded from participating in higher education culture.

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Amy Simkin

Team Administrator, North of England

Amy joined The Brilliant Club in July 2018 as Programme Administrator for the North of England. She studied Mathematics at the University of York, where she received a First Class BSc. During her time at university, she spent nine months living and studying Mathematics in Bordeaux. Outside of work, Amy enjoys yoga, reading and travelling both within the UK and abroad.

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Polly Mason

Programme Administrator, East of England

Polly joined The Brilliant Club in September 2018 as Programme Administrator for the East of England team. Prior to this, she graduated from the University of Oxford, where she studied French and Spanish, before moving to Santiago de Chile for a year to work as an English teacher. She also has experience in journalism and has spent time living and working in France and Spain. Outside of work, Polly’s interests include cooking (and, more importantly, eating), reading and writing, perusing Apple’s podcast store, and travelling.

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Hannah Dodgson

Programme Administrator, South of England

Hannah joined The Brilliant Club in 2018 as Programme Administrator for the South team. Prior to joining the organisation she interned at an international development charity and worked as communications and administration assistant for The Hextol Foundation; a charity which provides working opportunities for individuals with disabilities. She graduated from The University of Liverpool with a BA Geography degree. During her time at university she held a position as course representative, was a member of the committee for the Amnesty International Society and worked on school outreach programmes. Hannah is passionate about gender empowerment, human rights and reducing inequality. She spent time volunteering in Zambia on a project reducing the stigma and prevalence of HIV and AIDS. In her spare time she likes to travel, read and listen to podcasts.

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Farzana Lodhi

Programme Administrator, Teaching and Learning

Farzana joined The Brilliant Club in September 2018 as Programme Administrator for the Teaching and Learning Team. She graduated from SOAS university in 2018, where she studied Arabic and International Relations including spending a year living and studying in Fez, Morocco. Prior to joining The Brilliant Club, Farzana worked as an administrator for the Widening Participation team at SOAS university, was a senior Student Ambassador, and worked with Debate Mate as a debate coach in primary schools. She has also been involved in advocating for women’s rights through volunteering opportunities abroad in Egypt and Morocco. Outside of work, Farzana has interests in travel, food, and post-colonial literature.

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Jenny Paterson

School Programme Director

Jenny joined The Brilliant Club as School Programme Director in March 2018, where she oversees the Researchers in Schools programme participants and their progress on the programme.  Before joining the charity, she was a teacher for over 20 years, as a Head of Department for Drama and Media, Assistant Headteacher for teaching and learning and Head of Sixth Form.  She recently graduated from the University of York with a Masters in Social Justice and Education where her studies included Higher Education access and the impact of gender on educational choices.  Outside of work, she is a keen playwright and traveller.

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Nicholas Cater

Recruitment Director

Nicholas is responsible for all aspects of the programme’s recruitment processes, from initial attraction and advertising, through to assessment and placement. Since graduating from Durham University with a degree in Modern Languages and a Masters in Translation, Nicholas worked initially as an Accountant, then freelance translator, before finally settling on recruitment. He worked at a boutique recruitment firm in Central London where he was responsible for the delivery of several national graduate schemes. Outside of work, Nicholas enjoys keeping his languages up to scratch and is a keen traveller, particularly around Europe and Russia.

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Jessy Ahluwalia

Recruitment and Assessment Officer

Jessy joined The Brilliant Club as Recruitment and Assessment Officer in January 2018, where she works to advertise and market the Researchers in Schools Programme, and recruit participants for the upcoming year. Before joining the charity she worked at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, as the Schools Liaison Officer working in outreach and widening participation with target state schools. Jessy graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2016 with a BA in Education and Religious Studies. Outside of work Jessy enjoys dog walking, international travel and listening to feminist podcasts. Jessy moved to London for her current role, and is enjoying exploring all the city has to offer.

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Amy Broom

School Partnerships Manager

Amy is driven by a desire to increase the number of subject experts teaching in non-selective schools. Having completed her Masters in Engineering at the University of Cambridge in 2008, she undertook teacher training in South East London through the Graduate Teacher Programme. As Head of Physics at a new build academy Amy focussed on developing metacognitive approaches and promoting practical and thinking skills in science through evidence-based strategies. Prior to joining Researchers in Schools Amy was Director of STEM at a UTC in Kent, overseeing an enhanced curriculum in Engineering and Construction, employer engagement and CEIAG. Outside of work Amy is a keen equestrienne.

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Alexandra Tanner

Programme Officer

Alex joined as one of the first RIS Programme Officers in August 2016. Alex joined the Teach First Programme in 2013, which involved teaching science in Manchester and following this was a Year 8 science teacher at a school in South London. Alex graduated with a Bachelors degree in bioveterinary sciences from the University of Liverpool and is particularly interested in STEM education and extra-curricular opportunities for students. In her spare time, she enjoys attending science lectures and events, fencing and running.

 

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Rosa Smith

Programme Officer

Rosa joined the RIS team as Programme Officer in September 2017. She studied English (BA) at the University of Exeter, and became interested in Widening Participation whilst working in local schools as part of their student ambassador programme. She then worked for CRUK before completing the Teach First programme as part of the 2012 cohort. She taught English for five years, progressing to become KS5 lead and then Head of 6th Form at a secondary school in South-East London. Whilst there, she also mentored trainee teachers and NQTs. She remains committed to improving access to selective universities and raising student aspirations.

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Joanna Clark

Programme Officer

Joanna joined the RIS team as Programme Officer in October 2017. In 2008, she spent the summer working in California as a Camp Counsellor with 9-17 year olds, and it was here that she decided she wanted to pursue a career working with young people. After graduating from Queen Mary, University of London with a BA in English, Jo worked as a Teaching Assistant, before training as an English teacher through the Graduate Teaching Programme in 2011. She joined the English department at Morpeth Secondary School in Bethnal Green as an NQT, and later became the Deputy Head of English and KS3 Coordinator. Outside of work, Jo enjoys travel, live music and keeping fit.

Fabienne Crocket

Programme Officer

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Carys Taylor

Curriculum and Development Officer

Carys joined the RIS team as Curriculum & Development Officer in October 2018. She studied Education (BEd) at the University of Auckland. Carys taught in New Zealand for over 7 years and was also part of the leadership team at her school. As part of her leadership responsibilities she researched and implemented innovative teaching practices and focused on teacher development through coaching and mentoring programmes. Outside of work, Carys is interested in travel, food and reading.

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Dr Richard Branch

Curriculum and Development Consultant

Richard joined The Brilliant Club in September 2017 as a member of the Researchers in Schools team, where he serves as Curriculum and Development Consultant. Before joining the charity he was a physics teacher on the Researchers in Schools programme at Lampton School in west London, where he continues teaching three days a week. Prior to training on the programme, he was a postdoctoral research fellow in biophysics at Harvard University.

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Beth Collier

Programme Administrator

Beth joined the Researchers in Schools team in September 2017 as the Programme Administrator. Prior to this Beth completed a Linguistics degree at University College London, where she gained an interest in sign language and completed a level one BSL qualification. Following this, Beth worked as the Assistant Director of a children’s maths and English tuition centre. Working within a low socio-economic area, Beth gained experience of the difficulties children can face throughout their primary education and is excited to continue improving their success through to university level. Outside of work Beth enjoys running and baking.

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Claire Ross

Finance Manager

Claire joined The Brilliant Club in September 2016 as The Finance Officer.  Claire graduated with a Bachelor of Business Studies (Finance) from Sligo Institute of Technology before becoming an ACCA affiliate in 2011.  Before joining The Brilliant Club Claire worked for Musica Viva Australia, a not-for-profit performing arts organisation and on her return to the northern hemisphere was keen to continue her career in the charitable sector.  When not crunching numbers, Claire enjoys theatre both as a participant and spectator.

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Anna Aleksandrowicz

HR Manager

Anna is the HR Manager at The Brilliant Club and joined in September 2017. Her role is to support all who work for the charity with various initiatives including recruitment and ongoing professional development. Having completed a degree in European Politics and International Relations at Cardiff University, Anna moved into a career in HR in early 2010 and gained much of her experience working across various educational and non-profit organisations. In 2016 Anna completed an MA in Human Resource Management at Westminster Business School, which gained her a professionally recognised CIPD qualification.

Having completed her studies, Anna spends her free time travelling widely and frequently. Having proudly completed a whistle-stop tour of six continents in six months, Anna enjoys documenting her excursions as a keen hobbyist travel photographer.

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Michelle Langley

Personal Assistant to the CEO

Michelle joined The Brilliant Club as Personal Assistant to the CEO in January 2018. Prior to joining the charity, she interned and worked in publishing for a number of years, supporting a team of literary agents at an international literary agency in her role as Receptionist and Contracts Assistant. Michelle graduated with an MA (hons) in English Literature from the University of Glasgow in 2012. Outside of work, Michelle is a keen reader and runner, volunteering as a Run Leader for A Mile in Her Shoes, a charity which encourages women who are at risk of homelessness or affected by related issues to try running as a way of exercising, socialising, lifting confidence and boosting self-esteem.

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Nikki Labrum

Technology and Product Director

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Iqbal Ali

IT Support Officer

Iqbal joined The Brilliant Club in February 2018 taking on the role of IT Support Officer. Having studied at the University of Westminster and attained a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, he is passionate about IT and computing, specifically design, development and cyber security.

In his spare time, he enjoys reading, creative arts, playing sport and discovery through learning and experiences.

Mike Garthwaite

Senior Web Developer

Mike joined The Brilliant Club in September 2018 taking on the role of Senior Web Developer. Having studied at the University of Huddersfield and attaining a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, he moved into a career as a freelance web developer, specifically using tools such as PHP and javascript. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking, music and watching football.

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Holly Hinks

Personal Assistant to Chief Programmes Officer and National Programme Directors

Holly joined The Brilliant Club in December 2017 as the Personal Assistant to the Chief Programmes Officer and National Programme Directors. Holly graduated from the University of Nottingham with a BSc in Psychology. At university, Holly worked as a student ambassador for the Widening Participation team and was a Social Secretary for the University Trampolining Club. Before joining The Brilliant Club, she worked as a Team Leader for the National Citizen Service summer programme and then as a Product Support Assistant for a learning journal software company.

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Chloe Hayes

HR Administrator and PA to the COO

Chloe joined The Brilliant Club in May 2017 as the Operations Team Administrator, after completing a three-month internship with The Scholars Programme. She graduated from the University of Warwick in 2016, where she studied German and History. As part of her degree she lived in Germany for nine months, where she worked as a Foreign Languages Assistant, teaching English in a comprehensive school. Outside of work, Chloe enjoys art, travel and being a tourist in cities around the UK.

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Jessica Blazek

Finance and Operations Administrator

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Maddy Maloney

Fundraising Officer

Maddy studied English and Theatre Studies at the University of Warwick, spending a year at the Université Paris-Sorbonne. Whilst at university she acted as a writer, actor and contributor to Radio Warwick, was a member of Warwick Repertory Theatre Company and also acted as Social Secretary for the university’s Shakespeare Society. She worked for the Widening Patricipation Team and was  an English Ambassador for the Warwick Transformations Project. Before joining The Brilliant Club Midlands team as a Programme Administrator, Maddy completed work experience at BBC Radio 4 and worked at Gwyn James Solicitors. Maddy assumed a new role as Partnerships Officer in January 2018.

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Jordanna Knight

External Affairs Administrator

Jordanna joined The Brilliant Club in 2015 after completing her A-Levels in History, Sociology and Philosophy and Ethics. Although she loved learning, upon leaving Sixth Form, she believed it was essential to gain experience in the world of work and develop invaluable skills and confidence. She completed an apprenticeship programme in Business Administration with The Scholars Programme. Jordanna is passionate about the charity’s mission and therefore committed to increasing access to these amazing opportunities for all pupils, as she too attended a non-selective state school. Increasing her knowledge within the sector has encouraged her to want to contribute more to the charity to make a difference and has therefore carried out multiple roles during her time at the charity. She is now the External Affairs Administrator.

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Sally Holt

Policy Officer

Sally first worked as The Brilliant Club Conference and Events Intern in 2016 before joining full time October 2017 after finishing her Masters in Education Policy at UCL. Previous to this, Sally had worked for three years at Dyke House College in Hartlepool, firstly as part of the team setting up the Sixth Form and latterly, as the Aspirations Coordinator creating a whole school progression programme which works with pupils from Year 5 to Year 13. Sally is an education nerd who enjoys reading policy in her spare time, as well as running and skiing. 

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Zoë Whitford

Communications and Marketing Manager

As Communications and Marketing Manager, Zoë looks after marketing, branding and both internal and external communications. She joined The Brilliant Club in October 2018 from Perform Group, where she had spent five years working as a Business Analyst and Customer Marketing Manager. Prior to that, Zoë spent six happy seasons working in various Marketing roles at Lancashire County Cricket Club.

Having attended state schools in Norfolk and Yorkshire, Zoë studied at Clare College, Cambridge, where she attained her MA in Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic. She also achieved a master’s degree in Communications from the University of Leeds in 2007.

Outside work, Zoë watches a lot of sport and is a season ticket holder at Norwich City where she also writes for the matchday programme. She also enjoys cooking, travelling and comedy.

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Paul Rünz

Impact and Reporting Manager

Paul joined The Brilliant Club in September 2016. Prior to being the Impact and Reporting Manager, he was the charity’s Data Analysis Officer. Before joining The Brilliant Club, Paul worked as a researcher in the Department for Research and Development at the Federal Statistical Office of Germany. Paul studied Political Science at the University of Mainz, Germany and holds a Masters degree in Public Policy from UCL. Outside of work Paul has been a long-time member of the Bringing Europeans Together Association (BETA), where he has helped organise educational projects for young Europeans about EU politics.

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Dr Irina Sirbu

Data Analysis Officer

Dr Irina Sirbu joined The Brilliant Club in September 2017 as a Data Analysis Officer. Prior to this, Dr Sirbu completed her PhD in social work, where she explored the separation and reunification experiences of young people from residential care and their families in Moldova. Irina holds an MSc in Early Child Development from the University of Oxford. Dr Sirbu has worked in a variety of secondary and higher education institutions in Moldova, Belarus and the UK. She is an Associate Fellow of The Higher Education Academy. Her research and professional interests focus on improving the life chances of children from disadvantaged backgrounds, including looked-after children and children from the developing world.