A cup of coffee with JRS Knowhow’s board member Mahlea Babjak

Mahlea is a board member of JRS Knowhow, and works for the Open University as Scholarship and Innovation Manager. We interviewed Mahlea to find out more about her passion for open education, her role as a board member, and who her training inspiration is.

What is your favourite hot drink beside your work laptop?

Chicory which is similar to coffee but has no caffeine.

What is your favourite digital tool?

Canva, it makes graphic design so easy.

If you had to give one piece of advice to a digital trainer or learner, what would it be?

Know your audience. That was a game changer to me for speaking publicly.

What was your favourite moment in an online training over the past year?

If I’m going to an advocacy training as a learner, I like when the views and lived experiences of people who are affected by policies are included in the training design.

What is your one online training pet peeve?

When the trainer forgets to mute participants.

What does a typical day as a scholarship and innovation manager look like?

Generally, I look at the critical study of teaching and learning, and researchers submit proposals about research on scholarship. We review proposals and provide feedback and funding. We extend the reach of the university, sometimes by meeting with stakeholders or linking up people with similar research interests. We might feed into policy changes or create tools based on the research of the university. There is also some admin and budgeting too.

What inspired you to work in open education?

Just my passion for wanting to see education as inclusive and accessible as possible.

How did you get to know and become a board member of JRS Knowhow?

Practically, I knew about JustRight Scotland from my previous job in migration. I lived in Scotland for 10 years and was keen to continue to positively influence the sector. JRS Knowhow marries my interests and belief in advocacy and policy change and open education.

What is your favourite tip to keep board meetings engaging and fun?

Keep it short and sweet and (if you meet in person) have snacks nearby!

If you could spend a training session with anyone in the world, who would it be?

Michelle Obama.


Find out more about Mahlea on our board page.

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