Meet the newest member of the EMBL-EBI training team, Sophie Spencer. She joined the team in October 2021 with a focus on the on-site and virtual training programme.
We sat down with Sophie to get to know her and find out about some of the other career paths she could have taken.
Welcome to the team, Sophie. Now that you have been able to visit the EMBL-EBI campus, what is your favourite place in the area?
The campus is absolutely amazing, and I have to say Hinxton Hall is a fantastic venue. I can’t wait to run an event there once restrictions allow.
As an experienced events organiser, what is the first thing you do before a course starts and the first thing you do after a course finishes?
Just before a course starts, I take a deep breath and visualise how the day will run. It might sound odd, but it helps me to work through my on-the-day checklist. The first thing I do after a course finishes is to take another deep breath and smile!
Changing tact, if you weren’t an events organiser what would you be?
I absolutely love working in events, but I do have a dream of running an alpaca farm with a cute little café when I retire. Of course, I will need to learn about how to care for alpacas first…
What is the funniest thing that has ever happened in an event?
That’s a tricky one! I’d have to go with this time I was running a virtual conference a year or so ago. During the event, we had some unforeseen technical issues which, unfortunately, disrupted the entire event. I managed to fix the issue and came on screen to explain to the audience what had happened and to apologise for the disruption. A little while later I was running a session with our keynote speaker who happened to be a polar explorer. He proceeded to invite me to join his next polar exploration because of how calm I am under pressure! Can’t see myself traversing the Antarctic any time soon but nice to know I’ve got options if my event organiser career doesn’t work out.
We think events organisers are already superheroes, but if you were a fictional superhero what power would you like to have?
It would be wonderful to be able to talk to animals, imagine if you could know what your pets are thinking!
And finally, tell us, what is your favourite book?
I’m going to cheat and give a series rather than a single book… I’ve just revisited “His Dark Materials” by Philip Pullman which I loved as a child, and still do today!
You can connect with Sophie on LinkedIn or join her at the following events she is currently working on:
- Single-cell RNA-seq analysis using Galaxy – applications open until 7 January 2022.
- Managing a bioinformatics core facility – register your interest.
- Bioinformatics for T-cell immunology – register your interest.
- Genome bioinformatics: resequencing and variant calling – register your interest.