Science Skills Academy team in navy uniform

Meet the team

The Science Skills Academy is run by an experienced and skilled team in the Highlands and Islands. Everyone involved is passionate about STEM subjects and our sessions are all about bringing these subjects to life, inspiring our students to want to find out more. 

We love science, technology, engineering and maths. Let's learn together.

Dr Emma Robertson project manager with the Science Skills Academy

Dr Emma Robertson - Project manager

When I was in primary 7 at Muirtown Primary School in Inverness, I got the opportunity to go on a week-long field trip to an outdoor education centre, where I learnt all about environmental science. Those few days got me hooked on biology, and from 11 years old all I wanted to do was become a scientist. And I did!

I have a degree in Biomedical Sciences and a PhD in Molecular Biology. I want to be able to give the opportunity that I had to as many children in the Highlands and Islands as possible, and help to inspire another generation of scientists.

Contact Emma

Sharne Sanderson project co-ordinator at Science Skills Academy

Sharne Sanderson - Project Co-ordinator

I moved to the Highlands when I fell in love with this beautiful part of the world and how much it has to offer. I have a huge passion for the outdoors and being able to live and work here with the growing opportunities the Highlands and Islands has, which is why I have stayed up here the last 10 years.

I also love interacting with people and have always had an interest in technology, so when I had the fantastic opportunity to become part of the Science Skills Academy team I was thrilled to be able to support and promote our project by using technology to share our ever growing devotion for STEM. 

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April Conroy - STEM engagement manager

Technology and maths are my thing. I've always liked maths, computers and carrying out practical tasks. When I left school I studied computer science with management science. This led me to a career in IT consulting and more recently, I set up Scotland’s first Digital Demonstration Centre in Inverness called #hellodigital. I brought big names like Google, Microsoft and IBM up to business events across the Highlands.

As part of the Science Skills Academy team, I am excited to help bring state-of-the art equipment and hands-on STEM activities to the region. As a true tech enthusiast, I love to show people how we can tinker, discover and explore with technology, engineering and maths.

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Fionnadh Carroll - STEM engagement officer, Dingwall

When I was at Golspie High School I enjoyed science but I never imagined that my career would include helping make a vaccines for Malaria at Oxford University. When I left Golspie I was very unsure about what I wanted to do but I knew I loved biology, chemistry and modern studies. I chose to study 'Biotechnology' at Agricultural College and then a degree in Applied Plant and Animal Science at Glasgow University.

I got my first job down south working for a big pharmaceutical company making a live attenuated animal vaccine. I progressed into academia, latterly working at Oxford University researching gene delivery. I have lived and worked abroad but am pleased to be back home in the Highlands now. Since coming back I see the growth in industries here and its exciting; space, renewables and healthcare to name a few. I want to share my experiences, if I can be a scientist, anyone can!

Contact Fionnadh


Aileen Simmonite Sciences Skills Academy

Aileen Simmonite - STEM engagement officer, Thurso

I studied Sport and Exercise Science at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh. I graduated in 2008 with a BSc Honours degree. This eventually let me to move back home to Caithness where I took up the position of Active Schools Coordinator for the Wick area. Through my work as an active schools coordinator, as well as through my own personal interests, I've gained a lot of experience in delivering both sporting and scientific activities as courses to pupils of all ages.

Watching children learning new skills and gaining knowledge in a fun and interactive environment is very rewarding. I 'm looking forward to introducing children to a fun, new way of learning where they can find a love of STEM subjects and possibly go on to have a career in one of these areas.

Contact Aileen

Scott O'Hara of science skills academy

Scott O'Hara - STEM engagement officer, Pop-Up Newton Room

I’ve always been passionate about wildlife and at school I had some fantastic teachers who enthused me about the sciences, however it wasn’t until after I’d left school that I discovered that I could take my interest in the environment further.

I went on to study Countryside Management at the Scottish Agricultural College and subsequently have worked in a number of roles across conservation, environmental education and ecology. Most recently I have been leading birding tours across the Highlands and Islands, as well as overseas; visiting some stunning locations and seeing some truly amazing wildlife!

Now that I’m in the Highlands on a more permanent basis I’m thrilled to be part of the Science Skills Academy, showing students across the region how accessible STEM subjects really are and that there a lots of ways to get into STEM careers!

Contact Scott



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