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CLES Cornwall Inclusivity Committee

Annette Broderick 

Chair of the Inclusivity Committee

I am Chair of the Inclusivity Committee for CLES Cornwall and Professor of Marine Conservation. Originally established as the Athena Swan panel, the Inclusivity Committee now has a much broader reach and aims to ensure we are inclusive towards all our staff and students.

I joined the University of Exeter in 2003 as a Research Fellow and worked part-time until 2017 which allowed me to spend time with my children. It is always a struggle to achieve a good work/life balance and I feel very fortunate to work for an organisation that provides flexibility for parents and carers, to be a member of a department of fantastic colleagues who all share the love of the natural world and to live and raise my children in such an amazing place as Cornwall.

I believe it is really important to be an inclusive department, we are all different, regardless of sex, ethnicity and beliefs, and we bring different ideas and opinions to the table. If we do not use these in decision-making, we may not be making the right choices, and we are probably not representing the population for whom we are making decisions.

I am very happy to discuss any issues relating to inclusivity with staff or students. Please email me:

Sally Bennett

I am the Senior College Administrator for CLES Cornwall and act as secretary to the Committee. I joined the University in 2009 and have seen the Penryn campus grow considerably over the years and become very successful. However the campus maintains its friendly, relaxed feel and is still a place where you will see someone you know every time you leave your office. It’s a great place to work. Serving on this committee is one of the ways we can make sure it remains a great place to work.

Megan Hart

I am a third year undergraduate studying Marine Biology. Since joining university I’ve struggled with my mental health which at times has impeded on my studies. The invaluable support I’ve received from the university has allowed me to continue my learning undisturbed, and inspired me to ensure others have the same accessibility to a safe and inclusive learning environment.

Additionally, following the Black Lives Matter movement, I’ve further educated myself on the importance of intersectional environmentalism for a sustainable future. The relationship between social justice and environmentalism is something I hope to continue to educate myself on, as well as implement through joining the inclusivity committee.

Dave Hodgson

I am Professor of Ecology, Head of Department and Member of the Inclusivity Committee for the College of Life and Environmental Sciences in Cornwall. I am Director of the Ecology and Conservation, and Vice President of the British Ecological Society.

I joined the University of Exeter in 2002 as a Lecturer on a 2-year contract. Progressing to a permanent faculty position was perhaps the most stressful phase of my career. I joined the Centre for Ecology and Conservation in 2004, and am deeply proud of the vibrant, collaborative and inclusive department that we have become. I believe passionately in equality of opportunity for all academics, without prejudice. I also believe that success requires talent and diligence. Inclusivity principles mean that the Department should provide opportunities for talent and diligence to flourish and be rewarded. I am pleased that career progression at the University of Exeter now recognises academic citizenship alongside research and educational excellence. I accept that I have unconscious biases and professional weaknesses, and rely on critical friends to help me understand and conquer them.

I am married with two sons (currently 9 and 11). I try hard to compress my workload into the working day (although science is a clingy beast that rarely lets me relax). In my spare time I coach youth football; tend the family garden; walk the family dog; enjoy natural history; play and listen to music; do cryptic crosswords; foster my sons’ interests; binge on fantasy and magical realism.

Sandra Johnson

I have been working as the Associate HR Business Partner Cornwall since May 2018 and am lucky to work for all the Colleges, Schools and Professional Services Directorates here in Penryn and Truro. For me, Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity means much more than complying with the letter of the law, it’s about making a positive difference by taking action to change policy, practices and behaviours. As a single parent to my four children, I am aware of the pressures on those with caring responsibilities. I have become more attuned to the needs of those with visual impairments since my father became blind in later life. Being alongside my youngest daughter who is gay has shown me her perspective of the younger generation and what it means to be part of the LGBTQ+ community. I hope these personal experiences add to my knowledge of the issues being faced across the generations and coupled with my professional HR understanding of equalities laws, help me make a constructive contribution to the CLES Inclusivity Committee.

Laura Kelley

I joined the Inclusivity Committee at the start of 2017 as the Early Career Researcher (ECR) representative. I am passionate about helping to make an inclusive and diverse working environment that supports staff and students. I recently returned to work part time after maternity leave and the Athena Swan initiative has helped me to balance my career alongside my caring responsibilities. I look forward to helping maintain the momentum of positive change in gender equality and diversity in our workplace.

Shari Mang

I started a PhD in Biosciences in September 2017 after completing my masters in the department. I joined the Inclusivity Committee in 2017 as a postgraduate representative. I am keen to be involved in women in science initiatives and aims to help reduce harassment and inequality from the academic environment. I am the point of contact for postgraduate students who have any issues or concerns and can be contacted at any time.

Molly Kressler

I joined the University of Exeter in 2020 as a PhD student in Biosciences and joined the Inclusivity Committee in 2021 as a postgraduate representative. Hailing originally from the United States, I did my undergraduate degree at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, before working in Berlin, Germany, and Bimini, The Bahamas.

From my own experiences with a physical disability and struggles with mental health I am driven to ensure all students and staff have an inclusive and safe experience – we do our best work when supported, unequivocally. Furthermore, following a life changing accident, where he sustained an incomplete spinal cord injury to the C5 and C6, my younger brother is a quadriplegic. Since the accident, my family has received a fast-tracked education on the physiology and daily challenges of life after spinal injury. From this, I have learned just how inaccessible this world can be. As a member of the Inclusivity Committee I hope to provide a voice to these challenges, and work with CLES to continue to strive for greater and greater degrees of accessibility, and therefore inclusion.

I am always willing and keen to chat about accessibility, inclusivity, and mental health; so please do contact me if you’d like to chat:

Nick Royle

I joined the Centre for Ecology and Conservation in 2007 on a NERC fellowship and am currently a senior lecturer in behavioural ecology. After a long stint as Chair of the CLES Penryn Ethics Committee I have recently joined the Inclusivity Committee in my new role as Director of Postgraduate Research for CLES Cornwall Biosciences. My primary focus is to ensure that all CLES postgraduate research students - MbyRes and PhD - experience a positive, supportive and inclusive academic environment that enables them to flourish to the best of their abilities.

Eric Postma

After completing my PhD in The Netherlands, I spent over a decade as a postdoc in Sydney and Zurich, until I joined the Centre for Ecology and Conservation in 2017 as a senior lecturer in evolutionary biology. In 2019, I became the ECR officer for CLES Cornwall, and in this role I joined the Inclusivity Committee. Together with the ECR representatives, I am dedicated to making the ECR experience at CLES Cornwall the best it can be for all researchers that consider themselves to be at the beginning of their career as a researcher.

MD Sharma

I first came to CLES Cornwall as a PhD student in 2007 and am now a research fellow here. In addition to being an early career researcher, I am also a parent of twins and part of a working family. In my time here, I have seen first-hand how the College’s commitment towards equality, diversity, representation, progression and success for all has evolved over the years. We still have challenges to overcome and improvements to make, however, the fact that there is a strong desire and support to make positive changes in our work culture makes it a good place to be! Our considerate and nurturing working environment makes me feel very comfortable with my full-time job and busy parenting life.

I joined the committee to help address equality more broadly (not just barriers to progression that affect women), and I bring with me, a multivariate perspective of someone who has progressed from being a student to staff within CLES; is at the early stages of their research career and a parent (of twins). I am aware that sometimes work-life balance cannot be achieved unless the working culture is flexible and integrates the reality of dual career partnerships. I look forward to providing a balancing perspective to equality and diversity initiatives across the board.

I joined the committee because I wanted to ensure that everyone in the department, at each stage of their career, knows what wellbeing support services they can access and how those services can support them.

Ruth Thurstan

Having recently joined CLES Cornwall as a lecturer in Biosciences, I am delighted to be a part of the Inclusivity Committee. I strongly believe that if we are to remove the systemic biases within academia and research we need to foster a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Diverse perspectives are also vital if we are to tackle the world’s most pressing environmental issues. I look forward to working with the rest of the committee and members of the wider department to foster a more diverse and inclusive work environment within CLES Cornwall.

Lindsay Walker

I started my University of Exeter journey in 2011 and have held various roles over the years across two CLES departments and two campuses. In 2019, I became a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at CLES Cornwall. I joined the Inclusivity Committee in 2020 to help support the department’s continued progress towards a more inclusive, collaborative and diverse community. As part of the Committee, I aim to help ensure equal and meaningful opportunities for people with different backgrounds and experiences to be part of the academic community.

Jennifer Watts

I am a first year PhD student in the Geography department. I am part of the inclusivity panel because I strongly believe in the importance of discussing and actively challenging systemic and explicit bias in academia. This is in order to provide a positive working environment for all by ensuring the research community at Exeter is diverse and free from inequality.