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!
Dr Natalie Whitehead
Founder & Director
Natalie finished her PhD in Physics at the University of Exeter in September 2019, and started setting up the Exeter Science Centre as soon as her thesis was submitted. 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.
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.
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 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.
Treasurer: Stephanie is a chartered accountant and qualified charity advisor, holding the ICAEW Diploma in Charity Accounting. She has great experience working with a range of organisations and particularly not-for-profit entities, and is passionate about helping charities with their accounting responsibilities so that they can operate transparently and effectively.
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 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.
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.
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.
Niall is a recent MSc Environmental Consultancy graduate from the University of Plymouth, with a particular interest in sustainability in the built environment and how this can help contribute to mitigating climate change. In this role, Niall will be investigating an environmentally-considerate plan for the Exeter Science Centre building.
This internship is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the University of Plymouth’s Low Carbon Devon Internship Scheme.
James K Myers
An American by birth, Jim is a charity fundraising author and publisher who has devoted his efforts over many years in Europe to creating and developing membership associations involving fundraising.
He is a partner in the charity publishing firm, Social Partnership Marketing. He looks forward to helping the Exeter Science Centre to achieve its vital goals which are crucially important in this changing world.
Danni has recently graduated from the University of Birmingham with a BA in Political Science and International Relations and is soon to start her MA in Contemporary Art Theory at Goldsmiths. Alongside her studies she has worked for a vertical farming company and recently helped complete a project funded by the Welsh Government introducing vertical farms into local communities.
She will be exploring the convergence of art, science and society in her studies and through volunteering for Exeter Science Centre.
A physics graduate from the University of Exeter, Patric is passionate about becoming a researcher and science communicator, and dreams of one day making a significant difference to the planet. Alongside his studies, Patric was a part of the Exeter iGEM team in 2020, in which he worked on modelling and video editing.
At the Exeter Science Centre, Patric will focus on video editing and exploring 3D modelling of designs for the Centre.
The different perspectives, experiences and skills that volunteers bring to our organisation are so valuable. We are really grateful to all our past volunteers and list them here:
Eleanor King-Turner – Knowledge Nibbles & social media assistance
Please do get in touch if you are interested in volunteering for us in the future!