Athena SWAN and Women in Mathematical Sciences
"The Department of Mathematical Sciences is committed to promoting a positive and inclusive working environment for all our colleagues.
We aim for (gender) equality at all stages of careers, from undergraduates all the way to professors and senior management."
Professor Berthold Lausen, Head of Department
The Athena SWAN Charter
The Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEM) employment
in higher education and research.
The University of Essex was awarded the Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award in November 2013 in recognition
of its continuing work to support women in STEM. The Department of Mathematics submitted an application for a Bronze Department Award in November 2016.
Showcasing our staff, students and graduates
Dr Xinan Yang, Athena SWAN lead
Dr Xinan Yang is a Lecturer in Operational Research. She was
appointed as a lecturer in October 2013 (under probation) and recently came back from maternity leave. In addition to research and teaching, she is the Study Abroad Officer and supports graduate admission.
Xinan is a member of the University Parent Network and is a Parent Mentor. She is in a dual-career family with a 1 year old child, and brings the perspective of a female academic
managing childcare and full-time work. Xinan coordinated SAT activities and analysed data.
Dr Haslifah Hashim
Dr Haslifa Hashim is a lecturer
in Actuarial Science, teaching Financial Mathematics and Mathematics of Portfolio to undergraduate and postgraduate students.
She is married with a 5 year old son, and her husband is in full-time employment. She contributed to
the Women in Mathematical Sciences design.
Birsen Irem Selamoglu
Birsen Irem Selamoglu is a full time PhD student. Her research area is Operational Research and she is studying
on the Plant Propagation Algorithm, in particular, Strawberry Plant Propagation for Discrete Optimization Problems. She previously studied Industrial Engineering at Cukurova University, Adana,
Turkey, and MSc in Statistics and Operational Research at the University of Essex.
She also works as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the department. Irem contributes to the student data analysis section and the organisation and culture section.
Gokce Caylak is a third year PhD student. Her research interests are combinatorial
applications of computer science, cryptography and graph theory.
Gokce has a part-time job as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in department and she is married without children.
Gokce works on student data and department culture.
Amy Wenham, BSc Mathematics with year abroad
"I am currently a final year Maths undergraduate at Essex. In my first 2 years here I passed with scores of 80+ which helped me secure a place for my third year abroad at
California State University, Chico.
This was an amazing experience that Essex provided me with and has proved invaluable for my CV and personal development as well as giving
me connections all over the world. Now I am hoping to graduate from Essex in summer 2017 with a First in BSc Mathematics."
Brenda Maleco, BSc Mathematics and Humanities
"I’m Brenda Maleco and I am the proud owner of a website company called Lioness Studio. I am also a Life Coach and a Learning and Development Trainer. I completed my
undergraduate degree in BSc Mathematics and Humanities in 2014. During my time at Essex, I was heavily involved in different things. I was the President of the Maths Society for
2 years. I was the Social Media and Publicity Frontrunner for the department for a year, as well as an ambassador, and a Project Leader. All these activities allowed me
to develop great skills, which I now use as a business owner.
My time at Essex was wonderful because I was able to study but also get involved. The department was such
a great help in supporting me with this. For example, a handful of lecturers and professors would make themselves available for me to interview, some attended the events
I put on and others opened their office for advice. Essex played a great part in my success and I am very grateful for my time and experience there."
Resources for women in STEM
There is a wide range of opportunities, resources and support networks available for women in science, both within and outside our
University. Further information can be found below and on the Athena SWAN Moodle resources.
We have joined the WISE campaign to help us progress our gender equality work. Membership means we can raise the profile of our female STEM staff as WISE role models and link them to our community.
Training and funding opportunities
There is a range of funding opportunities of particular relevance to women in Maths. For information on these and other schemes
visit the University's
Athena SWAN page.
The University’s Learning and Development provides training and development
opportunities for staff at all stages of their careers. They offer workshops and short courses in
management, bespoke programmes for
researchers and postgraduates
as well as professional qualifications.
Learning and Development also run the Springboard Programme, an award-winning development course for women.
The department recognises the importance of mentorship and coaching. The department currently has mentorship task and finish group who are developing a mentorship system for academic and administrative staff.
Annual Review process
The department actively promotes academic and research staff applying for permanency and promotion.
Essex Women's Network
The University's Women's Network provides support, informal mentoring and networking opportunities to women of all career levels. The Essex Women’s Network is open to all staff who work at our University and also to PhD students.
Family friendly policies and occupational health
The department actively promotes a family friendly working environment for staff, implementing a range of family friendly policies to support working parents and parents to be. These include flexible working, compressed hours, childcare vouchers, flexible benefits, family leave and maternity keeping in touch days.
Further information on these opportunities, as well as information for pregnant staff, their managers and students can be found on the Human Resources policies page.
Support for working parents
The University has recently created a ‘support for working parents’ package, which includes a Parents’ Support Network, Parents Mentoring Scheme
and regular Parents-to-be Seminars. The School is supportive of staff with caring responsibilities and encourages working parents and parents to-be to
take advantage of these useful resources.
Good quality childcare is a key concern for working parents. The University has an
on-site nursery which offers exceptional day care
to children from 3 months to 5 years. In addition, the
Wivenhoe Park Holiday Club offers holiday childcare for primary school age children in its own
dedicated space within the Day Nursery.
CHUMS (Children's Holidays at the University of Essex Multi-activity Sports) offers a holiday activity camp for children, aged from eight
to fourteen, on-site at the University Sports Centre. The University operates the
flexible benefits (.pdf) and
childcare vouchers schemes to support
working parents with the costs of childcare. Essex County Council provides further
support for finding quality childcare in the Essex area.
Supporting our female academics
Professor Berthold Lausen, Head of Department
Professor Berthold Lausen is head of
department and professor of statistics. In addition to his roles in education, research and management of the department he is principal investigator of a knowledge transfer partnership funded
by Innovate UK between the University of Essex and the data science company Profusion in London and contributes to the ESRC BLG data research centre at Essex.
He serves as president-elect
of the International Federation of Classification Societies (IFCS), vice-president of the European Association for Data Science (EuADS) based in Luxembourg, president of the Gesellschaft
fuer Klassifikation (GfKl) Data Science Society registered in Frankfurt a. M.. He contributes to the data analysis in a perspective of senior academic staff and statistician.
Dr Spyridon Vrontos
Dr Spyridon Vrontos is a senior lecturer in Actuarial Science. In
addition to research and teaching, he is also Placement Officer.
Spyridon is living with his civil partner, Katerina, and has one child. Spyridon worked on key career transition points and career development.
Claire Watts is the Department Manager. Claire heads up the
administrative team in the Department of Mathematical Sciences.
Away from the University, she plays first violin in a professional-level chamber orchestra and string quartet. She worked
on key career transition points and career development.
Dr Gerald Williams
Dr Gerald Williams is a senior lecturer in
Mathematics. With research interests in pure mathematics, Gerald has taught across the range of the Mathematics curriculum.
He has held a range of administrative positions in the department
such as Director of Research, Admissions Selector, Study Abroad Officer and Exams Offices. He leads the part of the application that concerns supporting and advancing women’s careers.
Professor Edward Codling
Professor Edward Codling is a Professor of Mathematical Biology. As well
as being an active researcher with several ongoing funded projects and a number of PhD students, he is currently responsible within the department for developing undergraduate student
employability and also for undergraduate admissions.
He has four children (three at pre-school age) and supports his wife who is a full time mother. He brings direct experience of the difficulties of maintaining work-life balance while simultaneously
supporting a large family and maintaining an active research group.
Dr Alexei Vernitski
Dr Alexei Vernitski is a senior lecturer in Mathematics.
In addition to teaching and research, he is the department’s Exam Officer and Academic Offences Officer.
Alexei is in a dual-career marriage with a 4 year old child. He leads the organisation and culture part of the application.
Dr Christopher Saker
Dr Christopher Saker is a senior lecturer
in Mathematics. Chris is the Director of Education in the Department of Mathematical Sciences and also a Central Coordinator for the Further Mathematics Support Programme.
He is in a dual-career
marriage with two young children. Chris is jointly coordinating work on career transition and career development and on flexibility and career breaks.
Professor Abdellah Salhi
Professor Abdel Salhi is a professor of
Operational Research and our former Head of Department.
After nearly two mandates as HoD, Abdel is currently on study leave. He is research active with a number of ongoing funded research projects. He is married with three children, two
of whom are university graduates in work; the youngest in secondary education.
Both he and his wife worked while their children were growing up. During his first term as HoD, the low level of staffing in the DMS meant that he had to take on a full teaching
load and so he has first-hand experience of the challenges of balancing this with family life.
He nominated the Athena SWAN lead and supported several meetings in early stages.
The Maths self assessment team
Working on our Athena SWAN submission:
Our Maths SAT team in action.
- Dr Xinan Yang, Athena SWAN lead
- Dr Haslifah Hashim
- Professor Berthold Lausen, Head of Department
- Professor Edward Codling
- Dr Alexei Vernitski
- Dr Christopher Saker
- Dr Spyridon Vrontos
- Claire Watts
- Dr Gerald Williams
- Birsen Irem Selamoglu
- Gokce Caylak
- Professor Abdel Salhi