Athena SWAN and Women in Mathematical Sciences

Maths Athena SWAN team "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

Athena Swan 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

    Xinan YangDr 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

    Haslifah HashimDr 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 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

    Gokce CaylakGokce 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

    Amy Wenham"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

    Brenda Maleco"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.

WISE membership

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.

Career development

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

    Berthold LausenProfessor 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

    Spyridon VrontosDr 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

    Claire WattsClaire 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

    Gerald WilliamsDr 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

    Edward CodlingProfessor 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

    Alexei VernitskiDr 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

    Christopher SakerDr 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

    Abdel SalhiProfessor 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:

the Maths SAT team in action

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