The Team

Meet the Team

Exeter Science Centre is a charity (CIO), dedicated to informing and inspiring the public about science. We are currently building our team of volunteers, collaborators and advisors – if you’d like to contribute, please contact us!

Natalie Whitehead

Dr Natalie Whitehead

Founder & Director

Natalie has recently completed her PhD in Physics at Exeter University, and is a resident at Kaleider Studios. She has been a passionate science communicator during her PhD and undergraduate Masters degree, leading many workshops, outreach events and giving talks to schools and the public. She has also taught, coached and mentored many students from A-Level to University level alongside her studies. Prior to this, she was a Trainee consulting engineer, studying part-time towards a BEng in Building Services Engineering, with a specialism in building physics and sustainability.

Alice Mills

Dr Alice Mills

Founder & Director

Alice has a PhD in Astrophysics from Durham University, and was the Science Outreach Officer for the University of Exeter from 2015-2020, developing and delivering workshops and talks across the South West, running large scale science events, building relationships with schools and local industry/organisations and working with academics to disseminate their research effectively to the public. Alice is passionate about making science more accessible and understandable for all, in particular in Devon, where she grew up.

Our Trustees

Justin Dilon

Prof. Justin Dillon

Chair of Trustees: Justin is professor of science and environmental education at the University of Exeter. He spent 10 years as a secondary school teacher and then moved into higher education. His research interests include learning and engagement in out-of-school settings. He is a Trustee of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.

Dr Sarah Usher

Sarah has over 20 years experience teaching Physics, Science and Maths. In addition to running a Physics Department in a top rated secondary school, Sarah has also been a Teacher Fellow for the Ogden Trust and ran a very successful Science Outreach program in East Devon for over 10 years. She is now an applications engineer for a large international optics company. 

Charlie Young

Charlie is an ex-rocket engineer, having spent the first decade of his career fuelling satellites, fixing launch tables and managing launch campaigns at the European Launchsite in French Guiana. Combined with subsequent careers in digital media and healthcare innovation, Charlie now works as a systems-led design strategist in healthcare, maritime and space industries.

Olya Petrakova

Olya Petrakova is an actor, director and creative industries practitioner with over fifteen years’ experience. With an emphasis on creative entrepreneurship, Olya specialises in transforming disused urban and rural spaces into performance venues. Olya is Director of MAKETANK, co-Artistic Director of ARTEL and Lecturer/MA Creativity at the University of Exeter.

Celia Butler

Dr Celia Butler

Celia is a Senior Applications Engineer at Synopsys; working with engineers, researchers and medical professionals to generate models used to solve complex problems. Celia has previous experience leading research projects and product development in commercial and academic teams. She is a Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Exeter.

David Solomides

David is an award-winning business mentor, Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Exeter, and board member of a number of educational companies and charities. He has great experience in establishing and running successful businesses in a range of disciplines, in the UK and abroad.

Prof Pete Vukusic

Pete is Associate Dean for Education and Professor of Physics at the University of Exeter. He is an internationally award-winning science communicator and a qualified and experienced schools teacher. He formed and leads the Natural Photonics Research group and delivers academic talks and runs outreach events across the UK, the EU, the US, China and Africa.

Our Advisors

Prof. Janet Anders

Janet is a professor of physics at the University of Exeter and leads the Quantum Non-Equilibrium group, whose work on the thermodynamics of nanoscale and quantum systems will be important for future science and technology. Janet has experience in communicating quantum physics to the public and advising on popular science newspaper articles and TV programmes.

Thor Mitchell

Thor Mitchell

Thor is an advisor and coach for tech startups, with over 25 years experience as an engineer and product leader at Sun Microsystems, Google, and Crowdcube. Thor holds a Master of Physics degree, is an Industry Advisor to the Saïd Business School, a co-organiser of ProductTank Exeter, and a scale coach for TechNation.

Robin Mudge

Robin Mudge

Robin is an ex secondary science teacher and award-winning TV producer, director and consultant specialising in the creation of educational content and platforms. He is a former BBC science producer, and his work documented part of the emergence of science centres in the UK in the 1980’s.

Alexandra Jellicoe

Dr Alexandra Jellicoe

Alex is an environmental engineer, scientist, writer and broadcaster, who has carried out research for the United Nations and worked with various aid agencies mitigating the effects of climate change on vulnerable populations. She holds a PhD in Environmental Health Science and has an honorary doctorate from the University of Exeter.

Our Volunteers

Eleanor King-Turner

Eleanor is contributing to our social media posts and public engagement activities including the “Knowledge Nibbles” series!

Eleanor is a final year BSc Physics student at the University of Exeter, with a passion for science communication. Alongside her studies she tutors and mentors students, has launched a social media campaign about climate change and writes a blog translating complex and topical science into accessible reads.