Written by Nathan Richie (Doctoral Researcher Co-President)
Unlike in previous academic years, our representatives may not be as physically visible around campus. Many are working remotely, but still helping and representing their community from afar. In response to this challenge, the Presidential Team want to make our Lead Representatives as visible online as possible. One way this can be achieved is through a short blog post in which each representative introduces themselves.
Before that, I want to quickly describe why our Lead Representatives are so essential to our community and their roles and responsibilities. The Lead Representative is the most senior rep in your school. They are responsible for overseeing a team of reps in their school and ensuring each rep feels comfortable and equipped to represent their community. Lead Representatives are also often the first point of contact for Director of Doctoral Programmes when they want to consult with doctoral researchers (DRs). Lead reps are also required to attend Lead Representative Committee meetings three times a year. In these meetings Lead Reps will summarise the positive changes in their school and the key concerns of DRs.
This year, the Presidential Team will work closer than ever before with our Lead Reps. We want to make sure we are a close unit, and we are able to rely on each other for advice and guidance. We think this will be the best way to guarantee that our Lead Reps are informed and can represent their community to the best of their ability.
So without further delay! Here is our wonderful Lead Representative Team for this academic year!
Ursula Davis (School of Business and Economics)
I’m Ursula and the Lead Representative for the School of Business and Economics. I became a DR rep after having been a DR in the Business School for a couple of years and being dissatisfied with current representation. As a rep, I am passionate about raising key issues experienced by myself and my colleagues. So much so that I applied for the position of SBE Lead Rep 20/21. I have at my core, the best interests of my DR colleagues, and I have made every effort to ensure they know I am here to listen, and to speak on their behalf to improve the DR experience. Now more than ever it is important that individual DRs know they are part of a community of supportive DR colleagues, I hope to provide strong, fair and proactive representation to my DR community.
Angelina Pan (School of Design & Creative Arts)
I was awarded an MA in Graphic Design and Visualisation at Loughborough University back in 2018. And currently in my first year as a doctoral researcher, based at the School of Design and Creative Arts. The area that I am researching on, is about the multilinguistic landscape from a graphic design perspective, which contributes to sustainable urbanisation. As an international student myself, I would like to create a connection to promote a sense of belonging for all doctoral researcher, during this long journey of doctoral research. Working closely with the school staffs, representatives, student union officers and researchers, we would very much like to hear your opinions to improve the academic experience. Just remember, I will always be here if you want to chat!
Tymele Deydier (School of Aeronautical, Automotive and Chemical Engineering)
Hi everyone! I’m Tymele, the Lead Rep for the School of Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering (AACME) and I’m a final year PhD Student from Chemical Engineering. I’m passionate about all things sustainability and health related and love spending time exercising, reading and listening to podcasts.
I’m really looking forward to working with the DR Reps from my school and collaborating with all the Lead Rep to improve DRs experience at Loughborough and make sure that our concerns are listened to. I think it’s important to mention that communication should work both ways: we, as representatives, should keep you posted about any decisions being made higher up, but we can only properly represent you and create change if you provide us with your feedback, own experiences as well as any sort of constructive criticism for us, and the university, to do better. So, don’t be shy and come chat to us if you have any questions, concerns or uncertainties.
Guy Tallentire (School of Social Sciences and Humanities)
Hi everyone – my name is Guy Tallentire and I’m the new Lead Doctoral Researcher Representative for the School of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH), taking over from the ever-dependable Nathan Ritchie (DR Co-President). This will be my third year representing my fellow DRs, having been a unit representative for Geography and Environment, where I am based, during the last two years.
By trade I am a glacial geomorphologist, interested in how glaciers and ice sheets sculpt our landscapes; grinding down rock on the Earth’s surface and moving these materials from one location to another – this has its perks, as I have been lucky enough to visit some pretty cool (yes, that is a bad pun) places during my studies. I am now in the third year of a 3.5 year NERC/UKRI funded PhD where I’m studying sediment plumes in the Norwegian Arctic (Svalbard) using satellite imagery and by collecting field data – sadly I wasn’t able to go this year due to COVID-19, but recently I received some funding which means I will be able to get out into the field next summer, all being well (fingers crossed!)
Thoughts on the year ahead: as part of my application to become Lead Rep I mentioned that communication between staff and DRs at the school level is something that I think could be improved, be this through a monthly newsletter or email sent by the School’s Senior Management Team (e.g. Dean, Associate Dean for Research). SSH is also quite a disparate school, with multiple themes of study amongst our five units. This means there are great opportunities for interdisciplinary research, but means there also some challenges. Along with the rep team and the staff on our SSLC it would be good to plan a way to harness these opportunities and improve the research culture amongst DRs across the school.
Peter Wang (School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences)
I am Xinpu Wang, and you can call me Peter. I did my master’s degree at The University of Edinburgh in 2012. After five years of teaching at Beijing Normal University, I started my PhD in October of 2018 at Loughborough. My research focuses on sports sociology, especially applying globalisation and globalisation theories looking at the transnational football fandom. Since April 2019, I started the Rep role in SSEHS and went on serving the DR community as a lead Rep this year. I am happy to build a bridge between DRs and our school, to deliver students’ voice, and to make efforts building our DRs community with respect and support to each other. While the COVID-19 brings us a huge challenge to be socially active and connected, we keep searching multiple and the best ways to keep everyone engaged and supportive of one another. Working alongside with Loughborough Student Union and Doctoral College, we dedicate to give support as much as possible to all DRs.
Erica Fletcher (Loughborough London)
My name is Erica Fletcher, and I am a second-year PhD student in the Institute for Media and Creative Industries, researching performed poetry communities. I have been in the role of Lead Rep of Loughborough London (LUL) since January. It has been great working with the other Reps from London and from other Schools to help provide the best experience as possible for all students and researchers. Even though times have been difficult for many this year I think we have still achieved some great things and I look forward to seeing what the new London Reps achieve when they take on their roles in January.
Brett Friskney (Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering)
I am a third year DR in the Wolfson School, working in the Dynamics Research Group on vibration, lubrication and failure behaviour in high-performance gear transmission systems. I graduated from the Mechanical Engineering course here in 2018, so I’m pretty much part of the furniture! Away from campus, I love hockey, cricket, cooking and my two greyhounds.
This is my second year as Lead Rep in the Wolfson School. We are a diverse and multi-disciplinary department covering everything from control systems to renewable energy to biomimicry. Following the most recent PRES and Research Culture report, this year I am keen on building on a framework we started to develop last year for bringing our research community together and better understanding our needs. Being spread out across West Park, this is a challenge! I am also excited about playing our part in the fantastic work the Presidents’ Team and Doctoral College are doing towards DR mental health, by growing researcher-led peer support in our school. Here’s to a challenging but rewarding year ahead!
Percy Reyes (School of Science)
PhD Candidate in Computer Science (Cryptography) at Loughborough University. Master (with Distinction) in Advanced Computer Science at Loughborough University, England, UK (2018-2019). I won the MSc project prize with the highest mark. Bachelor (with Distinction) in Systems Engineering at National University of Trujillo, Peru (2003-2007). I am a Senior Microsoft SQL Server Database Administrator (DBA) with over 15+ years of extensive experience managing critical database servers.
Besides my passion for database query processing and distributed database systems, I am mad keen on cryptography, algorithmic cryptanalysis, number theory, and algebraic aspects of cryptography. Nowadays, cryptography is the most important subject I am really interested in and what I am going to be working on for years to come. I am doing research on cryptographic Boolean functions to work out solutions to make Boolean function properties resistant to attacks.
Particularly, I am most comfortable in environments where things are constantly changing and evolving, and also personal freedom and achievement are emphasised. Likewise, my approach to work and life is driven by advancement, curiosity and solutions since I am an optimistic thinker who constantly adapts to new expectations. Thinking big, going global, questioning, and being open to change are part of my personality.
Jose Salazar-Vela (School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering)
Hi, I’m Jose Salazar-Vela, but most of the people call me Pepe. I am a PhD student at the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering. My research focuses on Social Value and Digitalised Construction. I’m starting my third year, and besides my role as PGR, I’m also chairing the HUB Committee of my school.
I love rock and blues music, mostly from the 70s. In my free time, I play guitar and bass, play video games, play chess and read (I don’t have a lot of free time, by the way). In my first year, I joined the Fencing Sports Group; it was my first time to practise this sport, and I’m looking to come back next year.