Kathryn O'Brien Skerry

Meet...Kathryn O’Brien Skerry

Professional and support services

We work among extraordinary people doing extraordinary things; get to know some of them by reading these quick-fire interviews.

Name: Kathryn O’Brien Skerry
Job title: Physics Access Officer

What are you currently working on?
My big project at the moment is the Preparing for the PAT course which we run from June until October. The course is a mixture of webinars, problem sets and assignments and is delivered by me, our undergraduate ambassadors and some Year 13 teachers who we work closely with.

Describe a typical day
This is tricky one as it varies so much depending on what I am working on! Some days I will be out in schools delivering workshops, some days I will be presenting online and some days are far more admin based, getting the behind-the-scenes work done of organising our events and programmes and responding to emails. I also work closely with our undergraduate ambassadors, developing their communication and presentation skills, and with our graduate students who are taking part in the Public Engagement with Research course. This is always great fun as I get to hear about their research and help them to develop workshops and talks to present it to young people.

If you had an entire day at your disposal (not at work), what would be your ideal way to spend it? 
I very rarely have large chunks of time to myself so I would absolutely take the chance to go to a museum exhibition with no pressure on my time. I would probably follow this with lunch during which I would read a book that I don’t actually have to read for any particular purpose. I would then go for a walk in the sunshine. I am pretty easily pleased.

What is your favourite place in Oxford?
Without a doubt, it is the Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museums. Admittedly, there is a long list of places that I love, but these two museums come top every time. Everything about them makes me happy. From the architecture to the dinosaurs, to the insanely tricky kids' mouse trail in the Pitt Rivers and the weird taxidermy on the top balcony. I find something new every time I visit and am happy just taking in the view from the café.

Plan B: what would you be if you weren’t doing the job you are currently doing? 
I have been involved in physics education in some capacity since I graduated so it is hard to imagine what I would do that would be completely different! I suspect I would be doing something else that embraces my tendency to be aggressively cheerful in the face of provocation and small children –probably music classes or forest school.