Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Behind the scenes with Gerrie Keene

Hear from colleagues who volunteered to contribute to the International Biology Olympiad (IBO), find out about their role and what they enjoyed about it. It's a chance to see some of the activity that went on behind the scenes to help make the IBO a success.

Behind the scenes with...
Gerrie Keene
Senior Lab Technician, Teaching Labs
School of Life Sciences

Role for the International Biology Olympiad: Technical Support

My usual job involves…
primarily preparing 1st year undergraduate laboratory classes, and assisting with labs for other years (working with a Teaching Lab team of six staff). Planning, ordering, laying out and clearing up, maintenance of an array of equipment plus a multitude of administration type roles.

In advance of the International Biology Olympiad I...
assisted by preparing solutions for the academic staff to trial the Biochemistry practical exam element. Prepared (with the team) packets of tissues, slides, coverslips, waste pots/sharps pots and stuck Minutien pins into silicon plates. Labelled, labelled and labelled... Drove the van to shift load after load of equipment to Physics and Chemistry and then onto trolleys and around the buildings. Checked the microscopes were a) clean and b) working! (hugely helped by a solid 8 hour stint by Ian Hands-Portman). Helped build the card cubicles (using precuts made by Dave Vaughan).

During the International Biology Olympiad I… 
laid out the 1st practical exam session from 5am on the day, assisting the academics and organising the volunteers. On the following clean up days, I helped the team pack/sort/collect/tear down the card and clear away the exam practicals using trollies/lifts and vans again.

I really enjoyed being involved with…
everything actually, being a trusted member of an even larger team than usual.

The International Biology Olympiad is unique because…
some of the students are possibly smarter than the staff organising it. Scary.

Hear from other colleagues behind the scenes

Laying out exam flags