A Day in the Life of Heriot-Watt’s Mathematical and Computer Sciences Department

Welcome to Sanctuary Graduates’ ‘Day in the Life’ series. In this series, we sit down with our extensive on campus networks and connections to discuss their work, what projects they may be working on amidst COVID-19, as well as how they individually are doing during lockdown. We hope that through this series, you will gain a better insight into how our networks work, who they are, and what we do with them.
In this instalment, we sit down with June Maxwell for a day in the life of Heriot-Watt’s Mathematical and Computer Sciences Department to talk about what she’s working on and how she’s coping with the lockdown. 


What’s your role in your department and what does a typical day look like amidst COVID-19?


June is PA to the Head of School and Senior Administrative Assistant and in a typical day is responsible for updating student records to make sure they’re all ready for the next academic year (2020/2021). June is also responsible for responding to queries via email, and has been fulfilling her role from home since the lockdown started. 

June Maxwell for a day in the life of Heriot-Watt University's Mathematical and Computer Sciences Department

What’s your favourite part of your job? Has this element changed because of COVID-19?


When asked about her favourite part of her job, June highlighted the importance of maintaining connection and communication during COVID-19. 

“In a normal office environment it would be the interaction between staff, students and members of the public who come to the School office. [This] element has changed due to working remotely. [This] contact… is now by email, Skype or Teams.”

This is something we’re sure everyone can also relate to, as we all anticipate seeing our favourite colleagues in the office when it is deemed safe to do so. 


What’s the funniest thing a student has said/done during your time at Heriot-Watt?


When we asked for a funny, student anecdote, June told us that since she started at Heriot-Watt, her funniest student moment happened when a student turned the lift into a desert island!

“During my overall time at the University… [a] first year student at the University… made the lift look like a desert island. An uplighter as the sun, a lounge chair like a deckchair and fake grass on the floor. I never found out who did this until I saw the students final year book”.

We have no doubt it is these kinds of students everyone on campus is looking forward to seeing again!


How are you reaching your students and what’s the best way for employers to help you in delivering information/opportunities to your students during COVID-19?


Like many universities, June notes to us that the best way to get in contact with these, as well as all of their students to deliver information/opportunities is through their digital platforms. 

“Our University is using many ways to reach our students, staff and stakeholders; Internet, emails, Skype, Teams, Twitter, Facebook just to name a few”.

As such, to similarly use these digital platforms to get in contact with Heriot-Watt and it’s students about the roles you have available for them is best practice in the current climate.


What do you want all of your students to know right now?


“That we are doing everything possible to make student life return to some sort of normality.  This is still a work in progress to be ready for 2020/21 and finalising 2019/20”.


How are you personally staying sane during lockdown?


“For me, I have had a binge on the Star Wars collection and the new Mandalorian on the Disney channel”.

By no means is June the only one using this time to binge-watch movies and tv, but take this as Sanctuary Graduates’ and June’s seal of approval to do so guilt-free!


Do you have any questions on our department connections? Did this day in the life of Heriot-Watt’s Mathematical and Computer Sciences department give you a better insight in how to engage with them and their students? Get in contact or let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!