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Meet The Team

The people that make it happen


Meet the Team

Mary De la Peña MBE


Born and educated in Bradford, Mary went on to take a degree in Spanish at Exeter University. Her career history has focused on roles involving collaboration between education and business, higher education and community outreach. Whilst working as Education Business Partnership Manager at Lincolnshire Training and Enterprise Council she completed an MA in Education and Industry through Warwick University.

She was Education Liaison Manager for The Boots Company, and spent five years as Director of Aimhigher Nottinghamshire, working with a range of partner organisations – schools, colleges, universities and businesses – to address the lower-than-average rates of progression to higher education that characterised many deprived communities in the region.

In May 2008 Mary was appointed as Head of Schools, Colleges and Community Outreach for Nottingham Trent University. Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Children’s University was one of NTU’s flagship initiatives. It was her experience of managing Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Children's University within Nottingham Trent University that led to the opportunity to develop and embed Children's University in Scotland. Mary was awarded an MBE for services to higher education in the 2014 New Year Honours List.

Renee Nelms

Renee Nelms


Renee started at Children’s University Scotland in December 2016. Originally from the United States, Renee and her husband and sons moved to Scotland in 2013. Renee’s career as a non-profit development and communications professional spans 20 years and includes roles at American Red Cross, American Diabetes Association, Special Olympics Texas, and several years as development director in the private school sector. In 2015, she joined the development team at V&A Museum of Design Dundee, where she worked for 18 months pursuing support from Scottish trusts for the museum’s education and outreach programmes. As Director of Development and Communications, Renee’s duties include securing support for Children’s University Scotland from trusts and corporations, and raising the profile of the organisation and its offerings across Scotland.

Roseanne Smith


Roseanne joined Children’s University Scotland as Project and Development Manager in September 2015. A graduate from the University of Edinburgh in Environmental Geoscience, Roseanne has worked as a science festival co-ordinator, science outreach assistant and science communicator for the Edinburgh International Science Festival’s Generation Science programme, so has first-hand experience of creating and delivering interactive, engaging workshops to children from 4 to 18. Roseanne has a variety of roles within the charity, from implementing our communications strategy and developing our online presence, to identifying and validating new national and local learning destinations and providing support to new local centres to help them get up and running.

Christine Norval


Christine joined the team in November 2016 as a Business & Learning Support Officer. After studying Psychology at The University of Dundee, she graduated in 2015.  After developing her experience in various part time and voluntary roles, Christine worked full time as an operations administrator within financial services after graduating. In her previous roles, she has developed experience of using office systems, supporting digital projects and providing financial administration and customer support. Christine’s role within Children's University Scotland varies, and includes office and financial administration for the central team, supporting organisational development projects, updating the organisation's website and social media channels and providing hands on support to local centres.


We're only a small part of the story...

The Children's University Scotland team work with a wide range of partner organisations, including local authorities, universities and colleges, schools and learning venues. These organisations make up our local CU centres.

The managers of each local centre, the teachers and co-ordinators in each school, the activity providers in each local learning destination - these are the people that make Children's University work for children in Scotland. We are enormously grateful for their support and dedication.

To find out more about our local centres and the people behind them, visit the Our Centres page below.

Our Centres