sparqs currently has a team of seven staff members plus one external consultant, all based in our office in Edinburgh, hosted by NUS Scotland.
We also employ a number of Associate Trainers each year on a part-time basis, a team of students who mainly deliver course rep training for us.
If you wish to contact any of our team, please call the sparqs office on 0131 622 6599 or by the mobile numbers listed.
To email a member of staff use the following format: email@example.com
Main staff team
Director: Eve Lewis (she/her)
Mobile: 07813 014679
As Director of sparqs, Eve is responsible for managing the SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation) on behalf of the sparqs Trustee Board. She provides strategic direction and management support to the sparqs team, and maintains close links with other sector agencies in Scotland, across the rest of the UK and internationally. Eve took up her post within sparqs in July 2010. Previously, she was Education and Welfare Manager at Heriot-Watt University Students’ Association for eighteen years, managing their non-commercial activities including their extensive work on academic representation.
Development Consultant: Megan Brown (she/her)
Mobile: 07469 354245
Normal work days: Monday to Friday
Megan’s main area of work is supporting students to engage in national policy developments in learning and teaching, most recently the SFC’s Review of Coherent Provision and Sustainability and the SQA and Education Scotland Review. She is the sparqs' lead for the QAA Scotland Enhancement Themes, including co-delivery of the Student-led Project alongside QAA. Megan oversees sparqs’ equality, diversity and inclusion work, including specific remit for supporting student engagement in BSL Plans and working with the sector to develop effective student engagement for articulating students. She is also responsible for supporting sector projects related to microcredentials and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Megan is a former member of QAA UK’s Student Strategic Advisory Committee and sparqs’ University Advisory Group. She is a graduate of The University of Edinburgh and the University of East Anglia and previously worked at Edinburgh University Students’ Association. Megan joined sparqs in September 2019.
Megan is the sparqs contact for the following institutions:
Colleges - Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Newbattle, SRUC and all of the UHI colleges.
Universities - Dundee, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, Glasgow, St Andrews, SRUC, UHI and The Open University.
Development Consultant: Justin Walker (he/him)
Mobile: 07880 192722
Normal work days: Monday to Friday
Justin is heavily involved in Course Rep Training, including the development and dissemination of our introductory training materials. He also leads the training and preparation of our team of Associate Trainers. He has resumed our project related to Apprentice Voice, exploring representational structures for apprentices and work-based learners. Justin also coordinates sparqs’ support for the work of SQA, helping college students contribute to SQA decision-making, including decisions made in response to the circumstances of the pandemic. He also analyses the anonymous data we receive from course reps within our project Monitoring the Diversity of Course Reps, and continues to review our communications for course reps that were initiated at the start of the pandemic. He is also developing a set of metrics to monitor the progress of the Developing College Students Associations project, and liaises with sector partners in relation to Learning for and through Sustainability. Justin has a rich background in educational leadership and quality management, having served as teacher, headteacher and consultant in the UK, The Gambia, and Chile. He is a graduate of the University of Birmingham and the University of Sheffield. He also holds the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) and the MSc in Development Management from the Open University. Justin joined sparqs in August 2019.
Justin is the sparqs contact for the following institutions:
Colleges - Ayrshire, Edinburgh, NESCol, New College Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, West College Scotland and West Lothian.
Universities - Aberdeen, Abertay, Heriot-Watt, Robert Gordon and Stirling.
Development Consultant: Gloria Laurini (she/her)
Mobile: 07513 712586
Normal work days: Monday to Friday
Gloria’s work areas focus on supporting all Scottish institutions and students’ associations in keeping up-to-date with the current quality arrangements for the sector, including leading on the Tertiary Enhancement Topic project. She oversees work around Student Mental Health and Wellbeing and is a member of the Scottish Government Student Mental Health and Wellbeing working group; she is also the co-ordinator of the Student Engagement Staff Network (SESN) and the National Education Officers' Network (NEON). Gloria has a background in student engagement in colleges, with focus on representation structures, in the capacity of Student Engagement Co-ordinator within Fife College Students’ Association. She is a 2022 graduate of the University of Winchester’s postgraduate MA in Student Engagement in Higher Education. Previously she worked as a trainer, delivering transferrable skills courses, mainly in the private sector, and has a degree in English and German translation and interpretation. Gloria started working for sparqs in September 2021.
Gloria is the sparqs contact for the following institutions:
Colleges - City of Glasgow College, Glasgow Clyde, Glasgow Kelvin, Dundee & Angus, Fife and Forth Valley.
Universities - GCU, Strathclyde, QMU, UWS, Glasgow School of Art and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Business Manager: Nicola Cameron (nee McIntosh) (she/her)
Mobile: 07785 626159
Normal work days: Monday-Thursday
Nicola manages the Central Support Team, which involves ensuring everything in the office runs efficiently and effectively. She also monitors the finances and deals with recruitment and human resources. Prior to sparqs, Nicola has worked in the finance sector and the civil service. She has worked with sparqs since 2006.
Communications Co-ordinator: Ali McDade (she/her)
Mobile: 07585 969882
Normal work days: Monday to Friday
Ali's role includes data management and communications, including sparqs' publications, database management and maintenance of the website. She is also responsible for co-ordinating attendance at sector meetings for sparqs, NUS Scotland and student reps. Ali is a graduate of Edinburgh Napier University and her background is in learning and development co-ordination and project co-ordination. She joined sparqs in November 2010.
Central Support Team Co-ordinator: Sarah Davidson (she/her)
Mobile: 07585 969881
Normal work days: Monday to Wednesday
Sarah is responsible for the sparqs Course Representative Training bookings system. Managing events and processing finances are also other key areas of her role. Before joining sparqs, Sarah worked in the finance sector. She is our longest serving employee, having been with sparqs since its inception in 2003.
Our team of Associate Trainers for 2023-24 continue to bring a wealth of experience from their studies and course rep activity within their institutions. We are delighted to have seven returners from previous years and eight newly-recruited trainers in the team! You can view their biographies below.
You can find out more here about the Associate Trainer scheme generally and how it works.
To email an Associate Trainer use the following format, unless noted otherwise: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clare Hunter (she/her)
Clare is currently completing her Masters in Careers Guidance and Development at the University of the West of Scotland. She hopes to progress to PhD study this year, and has been a student at UWS for nine years. In this time, she has held the post of Vice President Student Development with SAUWS for two years. Her career goal is to become a lecturer in HE/FE and she feels that her role as an AT adds to her already varied skills and employment experience. Clare has also worked as a student guide, a student mentor and as a registry assistant, so she is very student orientated, with a particular interest around widening access and articulation. 2023-24 is her seventh year as a sparqs Associate Trainer.
Lane Deamant (they/them)
Lane is a student on the MSc International Health Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science. During their undergrad in Social Policy and Politics at The University of Edinburgh, they served as a programme representative and a peer tutor, valuing the opportunity to deepen connections between students and staff. Lane has interned with several organisations covering a range of policy issues, most recently working on health care policy with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They also volunteer with Marie Curie Hospice. Lane is thrilled to be in their third year as an Associate Trainer with sparqs.
Beth Macphee (she/her)
Beth is in her fourth and final year at City of Glasgow College, studying Travel & Tourism at HND degree. She was a dedicated and enthusiastic Institutional Associate Trainer at the college during academic year 2021-22 and is a returning sparqs associate trainer from the academic year 2022-23 . She embellished her passion for student representation by exploring a variety of student movement positions. She was the volunteering officer in the student parliament team and volunteered as an ESOL peer mentor over a 12-week academic period. In her first year of studying, she was a devoted class rep, and her determination did not go unnoticed when she was acknowledged as class representative of the year in 2021. She has also attended conferences in relation to her parliamentary role and excelled her skills by committing her time as an active convenor of the creative writing society. This is Beth’s second year as a sparqs Associate Trainer and she is thrilled to be a part of the journey again, which she feels will enhance her passion for teaching and resilience skills.
Finn Link (he/him)
Finn is in his third year of his Game Design and Production studies at Abertay University, where he was course rep during his first and second years. His main focus and passion in his studies are 2D character and gameplay design. He is secretary of the committee of Abertay's Pokétay society, and has been since his first year. His main goal as a course rep is to create a productive space for students and lecturers where communication is key. This is his second year as a sparqs Associate Trainer.
Kirsten Koss (she/her)
Kirsten is in her third year at the University of Aberdeen, studying History and Politics. This will be her second year at the University after graduating with an HND in Social Sciences from North East Scotland College in 2022. Kirsten began her work in the student movement as a course rep herself, before she stood for election to the position of Depute President at her college’s Students’ Association. As a student officer, Kirsten was a member of the NESCol Regional Board. She was asked to attend the Scottish Parliament as a witness to a committee hearing and was a member of an SQA strategic group. Kirsten is keenly versed in the student movement and strongly believes in empowering other students to become effective members of it too. Whilst she is a university student, she is passionate about the benefits of Scotland’s colleges and widening participation more generally and as such, she has been volunteering with the University of Aberdeen’s Access Aberdeen team, supporting articulating students. Furthermore, Kirsten also works as a Student Team Member at Education Scotland and is part of college inspections across Scotland. She also works part time and volunteers as an elected member of NUS Scotland’s Steering Committee. This is her second year as a sparqs Associate Trainer.
Manuela Davies-Vengoechea (she/her)
Manuela is in her fourth and final year of Fine Art at the Glasgow School of Art. She is currently the Lead Rep for the School of Fine Art, and has been a class rep for the past few years. She was also a class rep throughout high school, focussed on improving the student learning experience and social environment. Manuela led the International Committee at the Edinburgh Academy, organising cultural events and public speaking opportunities. She participated in the Confucius Institute regional public speaking competition in Edinburgh, and became well known within the Edinburgh Academy for leading the discussion on student wellbeing and current social issues. She also led the CCF RAF (cadets) section as Flight Sergeant, responsible for a group of 20 younger cadets completing cadet exams, during which time, she completed the Methods of Instructor Training (MoIT) course. This is Manuela’s second year as a sparqs Associate Trainer, a position to which she brings lots of enthusiasm and an openness to learning.
Sarah Calder (she/her)
Sarah has graduated with an Honours Degree in Painting from Grays School of Art, Robert Gordon University and is now studying at University West of Scotland, doing her PGDE in Secondary School Art Teaching. Sarah has dedicated four years at university to the course rep system, including a year as Student School Officer. Including Sarah’s prior experience as a course rep at North East Scotland College, she has six years’ experience overall within rep systems. Sarah is enthusiastic and passionate about making a difference, enabling everyone to have a voice and improve the quality of learning and teaching through communication and mutual understanding. In Sarah’s course work, she paints traditional objects in a digital age, creating talking points and bringing together different generations through art. Sarah aspires to use her dedication to art and inspiring others by teaching at secondary level. This is her second year as an Associate Trainer.
Danielle Higginson (she/her)
Danielle is currently in the final year of her BA (Hons.) Rural Business Management course at SRUC Barony Campus. Danielle completed her HNC & HND Business at Dumfries & Galloway College and during this time she took on roles as Class Rep and Students’ Association Vice President, going on to the full-time role of Students’ Association President while completing the third year of her degree. While working within D&G College Students’ Association, Danielle’s work was recognised by two Bridge 2 Business Awards, an NUS Scotland Award and she was finalist for a Herald Higher Education Award. This year is Danielle’s first year as an Associate Trainer. Alongside her role with sparqs and her studies, Danielle also works as a Student Journey Assistant at Dumfries & Galloway College and is keen to continue supporting students to progress and to have their voice heard.
Duncan Weatherston (he/him)
Duncan is undertaking the first year of a Physics Master’s degree at the University of Strathclyde and hopes to become an astrophysicist. His long-term goal is to obtain a PhD in the subject and contribute directly to the field. He was a class rep for the Access to STEM course at Glasgow Kelvin College. He’s very approachable and can explain almost anything in easy-to-understand terms. He enjoys fantasy, sci-fi, video games, and writing. This is Duncan’s first year as a sparqs Associate Trainer.
Elspeth Nicol (she/they)
Elspeth is currently in her fourth year of her degree in Computer Arts at Abertay University. She was a course representative for her first two years at university, as well as during a previous one-year course at Edinburgh College. They have been on the council of Abertay's Game Development and Roleplaying societies in the past, and are Treasurer of the Game Development Society this year. Outside of her studies, she works with games industry outreach events both online and in-person, and takes on various volunteering work around Dundee. This is their first year as a sparqs Associate Trainer.
Eve King (she/her)
After graduating from The Glasgow School of Art with a first-class degree in Sound for the Moving Image, Eve is about to embark on a research-based post-graduate career. Her work focuses on the intersections between sonic art, science and research, focusing on the preservation of information by using data as a material and compositional tool. It is Eve's first year as an Associate Trainer with sparqs, after a total of four years as a student council representative. She is passionate about accessibility and ensuring all walks of life have an equal voice in academic environments. As a musician and artist, she has several years of experience in the creative industries and hopes to apply an innovative mind set to her new role with sparqs.
Indre Lostyte (she/her)
Indre is from Lithuania and is in her second year of HND Social Science at Glasgow Clyde College. She relocated to Glasgow in 2017 and is a mature student, who began her academic journey with Introduction to Social Science and has since progressed to her current degree course. Indre acted as a class representative for her course and was an active member of the college students' association. During the Covid-19 pandemic, she actively advocated for equal access to resources and learning inclusion, as Indre believes that every student, regardless of background, level, or type of study, deserves the best possible educational experience and the opportunities that education provides. Indre is really excited for her first year as a sparqs Associate Trainer.
Madeleine Brown (she/her)
Madeleine is studying at the University of Strathclyde Business School, as of September 2023, having recently obtained an HNC in Business from the University of the Highlands & Islands. She has been involved in the student movement for the past two years, being elected as the Perth Vice President of Activities & Welfare, before becoming HISA’s first ever Regional Vice President of Communities. Prior to her return to education, she had the privilege of serving as an MSYP for three consecutive terms (2014-19) and is a former national spokesperson for Girlguiding Scotland. This is her first year as an Associate Trainer for sparqs.
Thelma Adaeze Munonye (she/her) [email format: thelmaadaeze.munonye@...]
Thelma is a dedicated third-year PhD student at the University of Stirling, where she is researching the intricacies of workplace bullying. Her commitment to academic excellence and depth of understanding in her field positions her as a knowledgeable scholar, a trait that extends to her role as the Faculty Officer for the Stirling Management School. Thelma's impressive academic journey traces back to the University of Bedfordshire, where she served as the course representative for International Human Resource Management students, demonstrating an early penchant for leadership and student representation. Her rich experience in HR further adds a practical dimension to her academic pursuits, enhancing her understanding and analysis of workplace dynamics. Known for her dedication, Thelma continues to contribute significantly to academia and the wider HR field, leveraging her knowledge and skills to foster a better understanding of contemporary workplace issues. Thelma looks forward to embracing her first year in the role of an Associate Trainer with sparqs.
Ari Badr (he/they) [email format: aj.badr@...]
Ari (known as AJ) is a fourth-year student at the University of Glasgow studying Sociology and Religious Studies. They served as a class representative for Holocaust Narratives in the 2021/22 academic year, and intends on pursuing a position in their last year. They also serve as an International Student Mentor and Student Ambassador, as well as board member for the GU Hispanic Society, Kelvin Ensemble Symphony Orchestra, and Theology/Religious Studies Community on campus. This is AJ's first year at sparqs and they cannot wait to start forming valuable relationships within the organisation and in class!