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Meet the Enhancement team: Home

(Widening Participation and Social Mobility)

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Dr Emma Thompson

Head of Enhancement

Emma leads the team responsible for academic skills at the university and has been here longer than she cares to admit (because then she’d have to reveal how old she is!). Emma freely admits that she struggled with the transition to university, as the first in her family to get a degree, feeling like she didn’t know what she was doing!  As a result, Emma has committed herself, throughout her PhD and subsequent career, to supporting students develop the skills to help them to succeed. She’ll always try to help with any query, so always feel free to say hello!

Katrina Lueddeke

Academic Skills Manager

Katrina joined Enhancement in May 2023 and leads the continuing development of pre-entry academic skills for the Learn with US Transition team. Katrina and the team facilitate the access of students from under-represented backgrounds to aid the transition to Higher Education. Katrina’s primary focus is on shaping the University’s academic skills support with pre-entry research-based qualifications such as the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).

Prior to joining the Enhancement team, Katrina worked for over a decade teaching A-level Psychology in Further Education. This experience gave her a sound understanding of the challenges and barriers students can face when transitioning to university.

Katrina is an alumnus after studying an MSc in Education at the University of Southampton. Her research explored the impact of positive teacher-student relationships and student engagement on academic achievement and retention.

Dr Victoria Yukaitis

Academic Skills Officer (pre-entry)

Victoria is an Academic Skills Officer in the Learn with US Transition Team. She delivers interactive workshops and taster lectures to Sixth Form students, targeted to the research skills required for EPQ projects (or other research-based qualifications). In addition, Victoria hosts library visits and student 1:1 sessions, providing bespoke advice for students undertaking EPQ projects. A medieval historian and archaeologist, Victoria draws on her own experience completing MA and PhD research in advising students. She enjoys making her own research applicable to varied audiences, and especially supporting students in their individual research journeys.  

Becky Naylor-Teece

Academic Skills Officer (pre-entry)

Becky joined Enhancement in April 2024 as an Academic Skills Officer in the Learn with US Transition Team. She delivers interactive workshops and taster lectures to Sixth Form students, aimed at developing the research skills required for EPQ projects (or other research-based qualifications). In addition, Becky hosts library visits and student 1:1 sessions, providing bespoke advice for students undertaking EPQ projects.

A former secondary Science teacher, Becky draws on several years of teaching experience to make her sessions interactive and engaging. During her teaching career, Becky worked specifically with students from disadvantaged backgrounds, raising their aspirations and encouraging their participation in HE. This experience gave her an in-depth understanding of the challenges and barriers students from WP backgrounds can face.

Becky graduated from Durham University in 2016 with a BSc in Psychology. She entered teaching through TeachFirst, meanwhile completing a PGDE teaching qualification. Afterwards, Becky completed a MEd in education. Her research explored teachers’ motivations for transitioning out of the profession.

Emma Mansfield

Peer Assisted Learning Scheme (PALS) Coordinator

Emma is a Southampton Alumnus who studied in Social Sciences. She has worked at the University since 2012 and has a background in education development. She has extensive experience delivering student mentoring or Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) schemes. Currently she is the Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) Coordinator for the university in Widening Participation and Social Mobility (WPSM). Emma is available for students to talk to about Peer Learning (via and @uospal on Instagram!) and is a Mental Health First Aider for staff and students. Emma is able to help students find their way through the variety of support systems and opportunities we have at Southampton. Being first from her family to come to university, her goal is to make sure students feel supported and can get the most from their time studying with us, whatever their background and experience.


Nicola Hunt

Post-entry Academic Skills Lead

Nicola leads the Post-entry Academic Skills Team supporting students across all levels at university, covering skills including critical thinking, time management, writing and research skills. Besides running drop-in sessions, she creates learning resources, presents skills workshops and runs events at our sites throughout the year. She is a chartered librarian with an MA in Popular Culture and a Diploma in Art History whose varied career includes working in public libraries, national collections and further and higher education settings.

Outside of work Nicola enjoys spending time with family, long walks, art shows, reviewing a good novel and putting the world to rights with her book group! As a school governor she is also passionate about ensuring students fulfil their potential in education and beyond.

Dr Alison Daniell

Academic Skills Officer (post-entry)

Dr Alison Daniell is the Academic Skills Officer for the University of Southampton. She helps students  achieve their full academic potential by supporting them in a wide range of key skills including critical thinking, academic writing and presentation techniques. Alison has an inter-disciplinary PhD in eighteenth-century English literature, history and law and worked as both a lawyer and an author before returning to university in 2016 as a mature student. 

Beth Kimber-Bradshaw

Academic Skills Enquiries Supervisor

Beth is an Academic Skills Enquiries Supervisor, who you will find in the Academic Skills Hub in the Hartley Library for drop in sessions (come say hi!). She is Southampton Alumnus, where she studied Education. Being the first in her family to go to university, she wants to support students develop their skills and have a positive time throughout their studies.


Dr Elliott Nikdel

Specialist Writing Tutor

Elliott has been the University’s Specialist Writing Tutor since January 2018. This involves working with colleagues to develop resources and webinars on writing and collaborating with different module and programme leads to support specific groups with their writing. The most rewarding part is working with you, students, and seeing you develop your confidence with writing. Whether it’s a report on management strategies and corporate governance or an essay on dystopian fiction, he’s perhaps most obsessive about structure and argumentation. He's always honest and direct, but he’s also entirely empathetic to the challenges of writing.

He's got a PhD from the University of Southampton, and he’s taught Film and Media Studies. Away from work, and when time permits, he’s either writing, reading or watching something.

Dr Julia O'Connell

Academic Skills and Writing Officer (post-entry)

In her role, Julia supports undergraduate and postgraduate students to develop and enhance their academic and writing skills. She designs and delivers writing workshops, offers embedded writing support for academic programmes and provides one-to-one writing appointments for students. Students can also come and see her for advice on general academic skills, including time-management, presentations skills and exam support.

Before joining Southampton, she studied at universities in Glasgow, Boston, Durham and Dublin. Her academic adventures finally culminated in a PhD in English Literature from Trinity College, Dublin. She’s also had a variety of different roles in education, having worked with students with special educational needs and taught on a range of English literature courses at universities in Ireland.

Dr Alice Stinetorf

Writing Skills Officer (post-entry)

Alice joined the team as a Writing Skills Officer in January 2023. Her favourite part of the role is being permitted—in fact, encouraged!—to ‘nerd out’ over all things writing, whether developing online resources, supporting a drop-in event, or meeting students one-to-one to talk through their practices and projects. Given how frustrating the writing process can be, Alice particularly likes to explore with students the techniques and approaches that best suit their individual needs.  

Alice moved to England from the United States in 2016. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas and a PhD in English from the University of Southampton. Her prior roles have included teaching fiction and poetry, leading modules on academic composition, and managing a library. Outside of work, Alice enjoys (even more) writing, live music and theatre, video games, cats, and the valiant struggle to keep houseplants alive. 

Laura Lister

Maths and Statistics Skills Officer

As of January 2023, Laura is the Mathematics and Statistics Skills Officer in the Enhancement team, providing support to undergraduate and postgraduate students for their understandings and applications of their mathematical and statistical course content. This includes, but is not limited to, providing help with coursework understanding, data processing, hypothesis testing and building confidence around mathematical concepts and proofs. Mathematics can be an intimidating subject, and students are always welcome to approach her with any kind of mathematical query.   She is a University of Southampton alumnus and holds a Master’s degree in Mathematics.

Introducing the Academic Skills Service

The Academic Skills Service seeks to support students in their transition to and throughout university, working with students, pre-entry in years 12 and 13 and post-entry from their first year, throughout their education with us. Our key aims include contributing to Widening Participation and Social Mobility’s (WPSM) strategic priorities, reducing access and awarding gaps for students from underrepresented backgrounds, as part of our Access and Participation Plan (APP).

About the team

Our pre-entry team works with targeted schools and colleges to support students in the development of the research and academic skills they will need in order to succeed at university. We work closely with qualifications like the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) as a popular example of research-based learning that can facilitate the acquisition of such skills.

Our post-entry team works with students currently studying at the university, supporting them to develop their writing proficiency, mathematics and statistics knowledge and application and to also improve their study skills which is complementary to the excellent research skills teaching offered by the Engagement team in the Library. Students will find the Academic Skills team delivering a hybrid service to students, offering online learning to those who prefer it and an on campus service that can be accessed through the Academic Skills Hub based in the Hartley Library. We are keen to take the service to students as much as possible, so that we can reach them in the multiple locations they occupy. This has seen us adopt a ‘hub on tour’ approach, most recently offering dissertation pop-up sessions across Highfield, NOCS, Avenue and WSA. We are also offering an increasingly embedded Academic Skills Service, where we are developing a pilot project working with academic staff to support their teaching of academic skills through the curriculum itself. We are also excited to be launching a pilot Peer Assisted Learning Support (PALS) scheme in 2022/23 which will see peer leaders support their fellow students develop their approach to studying in Higher Education.

If you are interested in the work that we do or would like to collaborate with us, please ask any one of the team for more information or contact us via