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Technician Story: Olga Rowe

Posted on 14 June 2019

Olga Rowe is a Senior Teaching Laboratory Technician in the Department of Physics

Olga Rowe - Senior Teaching Laboratory Technician, Department of Physics

Olga was born, raised and educated in Russia, graduating from the Kirov Pedagogical University with a combined degree in General Physics and Teacher training. This training offered her the opportunity to work in a school teaching Physics for 17 years.

Typical of most Russian schools, teachers were expected to be their own technicians, which meant Olga was also responsible for setting up demonstrations and practical sessions as well as maintaining the equipment, something that was to prove invaluable in the next stage of her career.

Leaving Russia to move to the UK for family reasons but still wishing work in a science educational environment, Olga commenced looking for a suitable position. Having enjoyed the practical side of her teaching career, when a general science technician position became available at Lincoln City Community college, Olga applied and was successful in obtaining the post.

This new role required expertise in all major science disciplines, so Olga began to undertake a number of training courses to expand her technical knowledge in Biology and Chemistry as well as reinforcing her Physics experience to meet the differing needs of a UK education system. Many of these STEM courses were provided at the York Science Learning Centre, allowing Olga to become familiar with the University of York, so when a technical post became available in the Department of Physics she jumped at the chance, applied and was appointed in 2010.

Olga has now worked as a Senior Technician in the teaching laboratories for nine years and enjoys working as part of a small team delivering laboratory sessions for all year groups, but has specific responsibility for Foundation and First year laboratories. Further in-house and external training courses have allowed her to gain additional qualifications as well as contributing to her professional development.

This role is of mutual benefit to both her and the students. Olga considers the best and most enjoyable part of the role is working and communicating with students, using her technical and teaching skills to enhance their learning experience. The students appreciate her friendly and professional approach, which has no doubt contributed to her winning a number of Department Support staff awards over the last few years.

Olga’s manager Ian Helliwell adds:

'Olga is a superb example to aspiring Technicians as to what is possible if you recognise and embrace the need for continual personal development. To leave a long career, move to another country with its different language, culture and working environment is incredibly daunting, but to embrace that challenge, retrain and forge a new fulfilling career speaks volumes about her as a person'.