Professor Mennell is a Physics and Mathematics graduate of the University of Leeds. Prior to becoming Vice Chancellor at the University of Cumbria, Professor Mennell held the positions of Deputy Vice Chancellor (Development) and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) for the University of Sunderland, leading on portfolio and partnership development, academic and research provision, student experience and outcomes.  Professor Mennell’s academic field of interest is in forensic and crime scene science, having made significant contributions to forensic science strategy, education and workforce development in the UK and overseas, including her serving on the Home Office Forensic Science Advisory Council and the Skills for Justice Forensic Science Occupational Skills Committee. She was also co-convenor of the Higher Education Academy’s DVC network and has held senior positions at Northumbria and Teesside Universities.

She is a director of the Cumbria LEP Board, a member of the Barrow and Carlisle Town Deal Boards, Carlisle airport consultative committee, a Tullie House trustee and a member of the Cathedrals’ group executive.