University of Dundee

Carol Urquhart Q&A

Carol Urquhart is the Personal Assistant (PA) to Professors Angus Lamond and Doreen Cantrell in the School of Life Sciences. Usually, she is based within the newest building in our research complex, the Discovery Centre. Now she is working from home.


What’s your typical day now and what was it like beforehand?


The focus of my workload has notably changed, before lockdown a significant amount of my time was spent organising national and international trips and meetings, however, both Doreen and Angus continue to be as busy as ever. We have had numerous grant applications to prepare and submit (Covid-19 applications as well as longer term projects) and there have been lots of online meetings and discussions taking place via daily emails, telephone or video calls.  


The obvious differences of working from home is the lack of face to face interaction with colleagues, my workload has not really changed but the way in which I work has.  I think I am quite resilient to change and so have adapted to my new daily routine well.  I no longer need to commute but I continue to work regular hours with regular breaks. I try hard to maintain a good work-life balance and it’s nice to be able to get outside more, especially in the recent good weather. As a team the PA’s and Secretaries are still in regular contact, for both work related issues and socially and we are all helping each other to keep up moral.   


How does it feel to be able to support the scientists working on Covid-19?


Both Doreen and Angus have been heavily involved with Covid-19 research projects. It has been extremely interesting providing support to the scientists working on COVID projects and getting an insight into the work that is being carried out. I’m proud of my colleagues and proud to be associated with Life Sciences in Dundee.   


What’s it like to work in the School of Life Sciences?


I feel that it is a friendly community and although it can be difficult at times, everyone continues to be supportive via emails, WhatsApp, Teams and video calls. 


What activities are you undertaking to de-stress?


I like walking (although it’s not the same when there are no pub stops along the way!) and also enjoy body balance which I have been doing with online courses during lockdown.  I don’t think listing drinking wine would come as a surprise for those who know me!



What can’t you wait to get back to once lockdown is lifted?


In all honesty, I am looking forward to going for a nice meal with friends and family and celebrating all the milestone birthdays that we have had during lockdown.


Quick fire questions:

  • Tea or Coffee? Tea
  • Morning or Afternoon?  Afternoon
  • Animal Crossing or Tiger King? Neither