Meet the Widening Access Team

Nick Howell - Widening Access Manager

I am passionate about supporting students at every stage of their educational journey. As an ex-primary school teacher I understand the importance of early intervention to support the aspirations of young people and provide enriching experiences to those who need it most. Outside of work I am a school governor and active Scout Leader.

Shannen Rock - Widening Access Officer

Hi All, my role is to work closely with local schools, teachers and students to ensure that you have all the information you need to make the best choice for yourselves and your futures. I love delivering sessions in your schools, but I also enjoy the large events I run like our Children Looked After Summer School and the Joy of Reading for primary schools. I look forward to meeting you whether that be virtually at the moment or in person in the (hopefully) near future!

Jonathan Sage - Widening Access Manager

As a Widening Access Manager I enjoy working closely with our partner schools to support their students' learner journeys. Coming from a coaching and teaching background, I am particularly passionate about helping students with their study skills and promoting better understanding of what opportunities their achievements can open for them.

Emma Pearce - Widening Access Officer

I work closely with staff and students at our partner schools to support students' through their educational journey and to help them make the right choices for their future. I also work with the other institutions in the Uni Connect Aspire Higher partnership to bring resources and outreach to local schools through our online hub. I come from a teaching and museum background and am particularly passionate about the EPQ qualification and the great skills and experience it enables students to develop.

Maria Moss - Administrative Assistant

I’m an Admin Assistant for Uni Connect and work part-time. Outside of work I’m a mum to two girls (Secondary school/University) and feel I can help the team from a ‘Parent’ perspective. I enjoy Pilates, baking and gardening

Matthew Maddock - Administrative Assistant

I help the team prepare the foundation of the events they run, from arranging the logistics of activities to helping analyse the outcomes of those events. I also act as one of the first points of contact in the team, answering phone and email queries from in and out of the university.

Lucy O'Shea - Data and Evaluation Officer

As the Data and Evaluation Officer for the team I help to ensure that we are always gathering student and pupil voice, so that we can develop the best support for their learner journeys. I also support the team with reporting, both internally, externally and to the Office for Students.

Dr Stéphane Farenga

I'm originally from Los Angeles but have lived in the UK since 2005 (funny enough I don't miss the weather that much!). As part of a career change, I completed a master's degree in Higher Education, which led me to focus on widening participation and joining the University of Hertfordshire's Widening Access and Student Success team in 2013, as a Research and Evaluation Officer. I became the team's Deputy Head in 2018 to lead our Data and Evaluation and Student Success portfolios. I'm very proud of our impact in helping transform lives at the University by supporting the aspirations and success of our students, be it removing financial barriers or helping students develop their skills, confidence and goals. In 2019, I completed my doctorate in education, having researched the student experience using collaborative staff-student engagement styles. I hope to bring this co-creation approach to staff-student networks across the University, the UK and beyond. When I'm not at work, you can find me campervan-ning around the UK with my wife and husky!