The Bioengineering COVID-19 awards were developed to recognise the extraordinary efforts of students and staff in the Bioengineering department in the context of COVID-19.
Staff in the department were invited to nominate their colleagues and students for a Bioengineering Thank You Award. In their nomination, staff members had to state why they felt the work and actions of their nominee were so exceptional. These reasons could be: delivering critical departmental services despite challenging circumstances, working additional hours to ensure new processes were delivered, being involved in activities outside their role to support staff or students, or contributing to College and national COVID-19 related efforts.
I interviewed Dr Reiko Tanaka, Senior Lecturer, who was nominated for her exceptional efforts as Examinations Officer during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Kemi: How do you feel about being given a COVID-19 Thank You award?
Reiko: Absolutely honoured. THANK YOU for nominating me!
Kemi: How was adjusting to our “new normal” and juggling working from home while taking on the Examinations Officer role as well as managing your own welfare?
Reiko: It allowed me to clarify the priorities in my life even more than usual. The good weather and frequent video chats with my colleagues and with my group member helped me adjust to the new normal of juggling.
Kemi: How did your role change during the lockdown and what limitations did you face to your work?
Reiko: The introduction of remote assessments added critical work of urgency to my role as the exam officer. So many meetings, so many emails, and so many new procedure documents drafted! It was a rollercoaster ride, as everything was new for everyone and there were too many uncertainties. I’m glad to hear that our students were very happy overall – it is all that matters.
Kemi: What or who was inspiring your hard work and kept you going during the lockdown?
Reiko: Kudos to the Teaching COVRA team, a great team with trust, led by Professor Manos Drakakis. Also, a big thanks to my family as well. My children dragged me every night to do HIIT exercise together, and my husband baked cakes for me several times.
Kemi: What are you most looking forward to once things return to “normal”?
Reiko: Casual chats with our colleagues and students when we bump into each other in the Departmental corridor!