Meet the team
Dan Jenkins – Head of Programme
Dan is Head of the Gatsby Plant Science Education Programme and directs the Science and Plants for Schools project, running strategy and implementation for all the support we offer for teachers and technicians. Dan implemented our programme working with PGCE students and their tutors, including the popular ‘Train the Trainer’ events. He hasn’t lost his ability for hands-on science though – Dan can still troubleshoot any query that comes in to the SAPS team. Dan was previously Project Manager for SAPS, and joined us from the Institute of Education, University College London, and the Science Learning Centre London. After an original degree in Botany, and a year working at Kew before specialising in science education, it’s no surprise that he’s a wizard with plant science practicals. Dan has strategic oversight over the Programme as a whole which includes the Gatsby Plant Science Summer School project and a plant science student engagement project ‘Plant Science Futures’.
Alex Jenkin – Project Manager (Schools)
As Project Manager, Alex is responsible for the Science and Plants for Schools project. She manages our training events, oversees SAPS’ attendance at the ASE Annual Conference and is reviewing and evaluating SAPS’ 300+ resources to ensure that everything we offer is relevant, useful and engaging.
Having been less than thrilled by plant science at school, Alex went on to complete her degree in Natural Sciences with a final year in plant science so has first-hand experience of the way in which attitudes can change! Alex went on to complete an MSc in Science Communication and has worked in the education sector for six years. She was delighted to return to plant science when she joined the SAPS team in 2017.
Jamie Biggs – Project Coordinator (Schools)
Jamie joined the team in July 2018. He coordinates and delivers events for teachers and teacher trainers as well as overseeing our virtual presence through coordination of our database, social media and our SAPS website. Having trained and taught as a Primary School Teacher, he is aware of the need to inspire budding botanists from an early age with the use of plant science resources.
Jamie has previously worked in Medical Education at King’s College London and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust coordinating training events for medics.
Gail Webdell – SAPS Laboratory Technician
Gail officially joined SAPS in March 2020 but has been a keen enthusiast and support to SAPS for many years. She has worked with the team during our Train the Trainer events and demonstrated with us at the Association for Science Education (ASE) annual conferences on numerous occasions. As a SAPS Ambassador Gail has advocated for plant science whilst demonstrating SAPS practicals and facilitated numerous ‘tech’ and ‘teach meets’. She now works with SAPS on a part-time basis testing practicals and supporting our development of new resources.
Gail’s main role is working at the University of Cambridge as a Senior Science Technician where she supports the training and development of trainee teachers studying for their PGCE.
Chris Graham – Head of Biology seconded to SAPS
Chris has been developing resources with SAPS for many years. He has now formally joined the team on secondment for one day a week from his role as Head of Biology at Hills Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge.
His undergraduate degree in Oxford, and PhD in Cambridge, were both entirely animal-based and it wasn’t until teaching undergraduates on field trips and attending their lectures on plant evolution during his PhD that his eyes were opened to the wonder of plants.
Following his PhD Chris did a PGCE in Cambridge and has been teaching A-level biology in Sixth Form Colleges since 2004. Throughout his time teaching he has sought to open the eyes of A-level students who are as naive about the wonder of plants as he was when he did his A-levels.
By working with SAPS and through his teaching, Chris aims to help both teachers and students see the elegance of plants’ solutions to life’s problems, the importance of plants to us all and, most importantly, how understanding plants and teachers using plant contexts in biology can make all students better biologists regardless of the future direction their studies take.
SAPS is a project that is a part of the Gatsby Plant Science Education Programme. For more information and to meet the rest of the team, click on the link provided.
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