Getting to know Sparky
Updated: May 12
RubyDuke would like to welcome Stacey Blease – aka Sparky – professional education and science writing enthusiast. In this – her inaugural blog – find out a bit about Sparky and why she’s such a great addition to the RubyDuke writing team.
Hello! I’d like to introduce myself, as I’ve recently joined the RubyDuke team. My name is Stacey Blease, however it didn’t take long before conversations started to become a tad confusing at RubyDuke HQ during our team calls with myself and Stacey Davidson sharing first names. This prompted the question of nicknames! I informed my
fellow RubyDukers that Sparky was a nickname I’d picked up from a previous role. I have fond memories of my
former colleagues referring to me as Sparky, so I am very happy for my Sparky nickname to continue!
I definitely fall into the portfolio career camp. I qualified as a Veterinary Surgeon from the University of Liverpool with an intercalated master’s by research degree from the University of Edinburgh. A couple of years after graduation, I was lured back into research and started a PhD at Harper Adams University looking at how dairy farmers use herd health plans. This was where I developed my love for collecting and analysing both quantitative and qualitative data, giving me a great foundation in understanding science.
But not content with furthering just my own education, during my time at Harper Adams I undertook an introduction to education training course enabling me to teach undergraduate students. It gave me a strong footing in creating engaging and impactful educational content for undergraduate lectures, conference presentations and workshops. It’s fair to say I’d been bitten by another bug, but this time of the educational variety. Oh, the irony! A vet who has spent a lot of time studying parasite control really should know better…
After my PhD, I worked for a company providing online continuing professional development (CPD) for the veterinary profession. In this diverse role, I designed and managed the clinical educational content, chaired webinars, coordinated the member newsletter, crafted written and video copy for emails, wrote blogs and provided overarching editorial support. It was a real opportunity to develop a sense of adaptability and flair in my writing style to increase appeal to different target audiences. And it gave me the opportunity to get my geek on by regularly reviewing email open and click-through rates to tweak the content and increase uptake against our KPIs.
In my most recent education-focused role, I was Head of Learning and Development for the British Veterinary Nursing Association. Day-to-day, managing the annual congress scientific programme, online and offline educational resources, and being Editor-In-Chief for the association’s peer-reviewed journal meant I developed a keen eye for detail, while also being able to step back and see the bigger picture. I thoroughly enjoyed the scope of this role because it combined aspects of both research and education, and provided me with the opportunity to further develop strategies for optimising the creation and delivery of high-quality CPD.
Never one to sit still, I am quite active in my spare time. I am a Trustee for the Animal Welfare Foundation and volunteer as a Befriender for Age UK. I play netball for a local team in Warrington (I play the position of centre – yep, I like being involved in all of the action on the court!) and dabble in multisport events. I do find time to relax on a long walk with my husband and our scruffy little terrier, followed by a pub lunch!
In a nutshell, I have experienced and witnessed those incredible lightbulb moments which arise from delivering robust educational content in an engaging manner. Knowledge – and the subsequent behavioural changes – can improve lives in a variety of ways, and this is my driving force in creating lightbulb moments. Perhaps that’s why Sparky is a fitting nickname?!
We have more blogs in the pipeline so keep an eye out for them. If you’d like to get in touch and discuss any upcoming projects you think RubyDuke could be a great collaborative fit for, please don’t hesitate to contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org