Going Places

A celebration of the talents and adventures of our students, both past and present. Prepare to be wowed!

Emma Gannon – Award-winning novelist and podcaster

Emma is not just an Old Maynardian but also a Sunday Times bestselling non-fiction author, an award-winning novelist and podcaster!

Her recent book ‘The Success Myth’ was chosen as a ‘best book of the month’ by Apple. Her debut novel ‘Olive’ was nominated for the Dublin Literary Award in 2022 and she has been called “one of the most influential thinkers on how we can work smarter” by Penguin Books and “the spokesperson for the internet generation” by the Evening Standard.  Not to mention being one of the Forbes ‘30 Under 30’ in media and marketing back in 2018! So how did it all start?

“I left The Maynard in 2007, loving the creative subjects and my teachers – Dr Le Gallez, Ms Martin and Mrs Colley – and went to Southampton University to study English and Film. I met such interesting people there and graduated with a 2:1 before heading to London. I got an internship at a big PR agency in Soho Square called Hill & Knowlton, who did all the public relations for the big Proctor and Gamble brands.

“The PR environment was a really exciting place to be in my twenties and it definitely gave me a pretty intense initiation into working life and the media industry (and I got to meet lots of journalists). I moved around a bit to see if I could find a better place for me. But, ultimately, my heart was in writing. I had a blog on the side since graduating and when people started reading about it and following me on Twitter, I realised that I had built a brand of my own and could start growing that properly.

“After working in PR, I got a job at Glamour magazine which launched me into the world of writing and magazines which was fun. My first book Ctrl Alt Delete was published off the back of the popularity of my blog. But the magazine world was starting to crumble a bit, and social media careers were really taking off properly. My blog became a place to experiment with writing and themes and connect with people online.

I’ve now written six books – five non-fiction and one novel – and I feel like I’m just getting started! I mainly write about work, wellbeing and creativity in my non-fiction, and in my novels I write about friendship, sisterhood and navigating life’s milestones (or not). I still blog via my Substack newsletter called The Hyphen.”

And her proudest moment of her life so far? “Probably recording a podcast in Buckingham Palace in 2018 (and the Queen even asked me what a podcast was)!”

Kitty Guinness – Medical student

As the daughter of two medics, Kitty was intent on doing something completely different to her parents until a medical emergency at home brought her own incredible strengths to the fore and led to her reconsidering her chosen career path.

However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing and with the fall-out from the pandemic leading to extremely limited places at Medical School, Kitty was forced into taking an unwanted gap year in order to retake the “horrible” UCAT exam in the hope of gaining a place at the second attempt. “My gap year turned out to be the best year ever! I spent time skiing in Switzerland, then I travelled around Costa Rica and Panama before spending three months working at an American summer camp. I made some amazing memories and friends for life. To anyone considering a gap year. Do it. You won’t get the opportunity again!”

Now at the end of her first year at Southampton Medical School, Kitty has certainly plunged herself into numerous activities on top of her heavy workload of lectures and assignments. “I am not going to sugar coat it – medicine is really difficult. But university is not just about the degree; it’s about the people you meet, the societies you join and the activities that you do. It is really important to have a work/life balance; I have joined the hockey team, go to the gym with friends and even did a dance for charity. I am loving the experience and it is really good fun!”

In terms of any specialisms she is eyeing up for the future: “I’m only in the first year so I’ve not had that much clinical experience. My plan at the moment is geared towards general practice with minor surgery. But this could change when I spend more time on placement in the future.”

Jessamy Sara – Development Manager

Having originally thought that she might like to be a vet, Jessamy changed her mind in favour of dropping Chemistry at A-level. However, thanks to her father who is a Chartered Surveyor and to some “fabulous” work experiences in the property world, she decided to choose a degree in Real Estate at Oxford Brookes where she had a “fantastic three years, learned a lot and made lifelong friends, despite it being very interrupted by the pandemic.”

Now a Development Manager for CNM Estates in London, Jessamy manages property development from the acquisition of the land, through design, planning, construction and exit; whether this be disposal of the asset or retaining it to manage as an income stream. “This primarily involves a lot of co-ordination and overseeing of professionals such as architects, planners, contractors and many other consultants who get the job done!”

“My company is also currently developing a modular construction arm of the business, mainly focusing on the delivery of serviced apartments. The latter are a fairly new and emerging market in the UK and, coupled with modular construction, it is going to be exciting to see where the business can go with this! As such, I recently returned from a work trip to Dubai where my colleagues and I visited the factory where the modules are produced and we even went out on location to the extremely famous location where they will end up (but I have to keep my lips sealed on where!).”

Jessamy is also in the process of becoming a qualified member of the RICS “as it will give me great credibility and a good backing if I ever want to move to consultancy”, with the ultimate goal of being able to work for herself on the basis that “I would love, love, love to renovate residential properties and do all the interiors as well!”

And if that isn’t enough, she’s just completed her first ever half Iron Man (1.9km swim, 88km cycle and a half marathon), remarking that “it turns out exercising for near enough seven hours is quite tiring” and “I should definitely have trained harder but it has proven tricky with a demanding job as well as trying to maintain a social life!”. Next on the list is another Olympic length triathlon and her name is also in the ballot for next year’s London Marathon. “I guess I like a challenge and to have something to aim towards!”

Anna Harries – Kitesurfer Extraordinaire

After leaving The Maynard with a clean sweep of four A*s in her A-levels last year, Anna is currently on the gap year of a lifetime. Travelling alone, her love of kitesurfing took her first to Paracas on the west coast of Peru where she was teaching the sport to fellow sea-lovers and “having the most amazing time”.

“It was a surreal experience kiting in deserted deserts with sea lions, whales, penguins and about a million jellyfish! I even managed to extend my stay to compete in my first international kitesurfing competition where I won the Women’s Freestyle Race and came third in the Women’s Big Air. Luckily, I also managed to escape Peru before all the riots kicked off – however, it was a close call. All my return travel had been cancelled so I had to smuggle myself out in a local’s car which was very squished with all my kitesurfing gear as well as her deeply disgruntled dog!”

From Peru, Anna travelled to Göreme in Turkey where she worked at the Little Prince Academy, a non-profit day school for children with disabilities. “I was surrounded by fairy chimneys, beautiful horses and was living in a cave house!”

Between popping back home to continue working at Edge Watersports in Exmouth, Anna hopes to continue her adventures with the aim being “to go somewhere where I don’t need to kitesurf in a wetsuit!” She’s also hoping to dedicate some time to the foiling discipline – the racing element of kitesurfing – and will be taking part in a series of ‘Foiling Futures’ training camps. With this element of the sport featuring for the first time at the next Olympics, we can’t help thinking that Anna could easily become our first ever Maynardian gold medallist!

“It’s been very strange having a whole year of freedom but I am so glad that I decided to embark on this adventure. I have made so many friends and had life-changing experience which I know will help me in the future.”

Henrietta Hearth – Venture Capitalist

Having left The Maynard in 2009, Henrietta started her career as a scientist working at Danone before spending several years in fast-moving global consumer goods organisations. She left her job three years ago to undertake an MBA at Insead Businesss School before being recruited to her role at Big Ideas Ventures.

“I work in impact investing and, more specifically, venture capital in the alternative proteins segment. I look for start-ups that have innovative ingredients and products that will help ensure a more sustainable food transition and I help them to grow by investing capital and supporting them with their business challenges. I am based in Paris, but I invest in companies around the world.

“I love working in a role where I feel like I’m having an impact and working with founders who want to change the world. 30% of global emissions come from the production of food and the biggest impact we, as individuals, can make on the climate is our diet. Whilst people are making changes and meat consumption is reducing, the impact has been slower than we need to protect the climate for future generations. I believe that by offering consumers alternatives to traditional meat and dairy products, we will help make the choice to change easier.

“I have always wanted to have an impact on the world and leave it in a better place than it was when I arrived. My ultimate career goal is to prove that impact investments can deliver the same returns as traditional investments so that more money is poured into impact and we can tip the balance towards investing for good, rather than investing to make the rich richer.”

Lucie Rising – Footwear Technology Assistant

“I had always had an interest in fashion from a young age, spurred on by my sister-in-law teaching me the basics of sewing and my brother gifting me a Vogue subscription (to this day, I still have every copy!),” says Lucie who left The Maynard in 2016. “However, it wasn’t until considering what I would like to study at university that I first considered fashion as a career.

“At the time, The Maynard didn’t offer any fashion-related courses, so my only outlet was Textiles Club with the wonderful Mrs Finnegan who encouraged me to apply for fashion design courses and helped me with my work and portfolio. I owe her a huge amount for her support during those tricky A-level times.”

A four-year Fashion Design course at the University of Leeds ensued, including a placement year in London working in the atelier at Temperley for six months and then at Jenny Packham. By which point the pandemic had hit and Lucie returned to finish her final year at Leeds from her basement bedroom. “Although this was a much less glamorous-than-hoped-for end to my degree, it was all worth it when a few weeks before my final hand in I was offered a job in production at Jenny Packham, which I accepted.”

From there, she was scouted by the high street brand, AllSaints, and went to work in their production team before choosing to move to the footwear department in search of the creativity and hands-on experience that she had experienced at university.

“My role now is to develop and commercialise shoes across both menswear and womenswear at AllSaints. I work closely with the designer from initial sketch and then review samples from our factories based in Spain and Portugal to make the shoe a reality, whilst also ensuring it is comfortable, practical and safe. I love that I get to see the product from the embryonic stage right up to checking it before approving bulk shipment.

“The goal is to one day be the head of product management for the footwear department and to be able to have a say on both the creative and strategic decisions for the brand.”

Alexandra Hearth – Music and DJ

After leaving school I went to Bristol University and studied Drama and English, becoming really involved in the various clubs and societies but, in particular, student radio and TV. I began working in advertising after graduation, creating TV adverts for brands including Samsung, Uber and Audi. I then went on to work for Nike in their marketing team, alongside which I founded a popular podcast ‘Hot Girls’ which looked to address the gender gap in the music industry. I was also DJ-ing and began producing my own music.

I left Nike in October to focus on my career as an artist and DJ. I live in Hackney in London with my Shiba Inu, Achilles, and last month was at the wedding of one of my best friends from Maynard!

My latest single ‘Candela’ was released in May. I also write a newsletter where I share inspiration and creative recommendations at lexonthedecks.substack.com

Amy Dickman – Big Cat Conservation

“I think a fascination with big cats – their beauty, power and wildness – has captivated people for as long as we have existed, and I have certainly always felt it. I think they are such magnificent animals and have held an incredibly important part in human culture as well as having vital ecological significance. The fact that such incredible animals are under such threat is terrible, and I want to do all that I can to help ensure they are conserved for many more generations to come,” says Old Maynardian, Dr Amy Dickman, who splits her time between the UK and the African bush.

“For as long as I can remember I have loved animals and always wanted to work with them. When I was growing up the main animal-related career was to become a vet, so I was focused on that for a long while. However, over time I realised that I was most interested in the wider area of conservation, more than even wild animal veterinary work. Therefore, although I was originally planning to study veterinary medicine, I changed that and decided to enrol on a Zoology course and see if I could make a career out of that.”

Following a BSc in Zoology at Liverpool University and then a scholarship to the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) as an intern, Amy ended up going to work for six years at the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia before then transferring to Tanzania’s Ruaha Landscape for her Masters and PhD. “After that ended, I got a Fellowship at Oxford to set up a conservation project, which I now jointly run with Alayne Cotterill as Lion Landscapes, on top of also being the Director of WildCRU. Which still feels amazing to me!”

Although initially motivated by her love for big cats, Amy admits that “over time, the needs of local people have motivated me just as much, so I am very focused on developing conservation models which help people as much as wildlife. Since having children, it has reinforced my motivation – they are as excited by wildlife as I was, and yet I fear they will grow up in a world with so little of it left. That makes me really sad and pushes me to do more.”

“I remember some mothers from the local village coming up to camp and giving me a gourd that they had embroidered, which contained six eggs, each representing one of their daughters who had finished secondary school through our scholarships, and hearing from them was incredibly moving. Feeling that you are making a difference – for people as much as animals – is definitely the best part of the job overall.

“There are many lows too – my job involves lots of travel, which seems glamorous, but isn’t at all, and means a lot of time away from my children, which I hate. There is a lot of admin, grant-writing etc, which takes a lot of time, and often it feels as if we are only making the tiniest difference in a world which is losing wildlife so fast. But we have to remain optimistic and celebrate even the small successes that we do have.”

Anna Broad – Embryologist

After leaving The Maynard with four A-levels (Biology, Chemistry, Maths and French) under her belt, Anna embarked on “one of the most memorable years of her life” during her gap year before taking her place studying Biomedical Science at Cardiff University. “This was an invaluable three years where I not only had the opportunity to develop my understanding of human biology through cadaveric dissection, but it was when I also began to realise the career path that I wanted to take.

“The pandemic came at a tricky time but it pointed me in the direction of continued study and I ended up completing an MSc in Reproductive Science and Women’s Health at University College London.” Following the publication of her research and then a stint working in Paediatric Admissions, Anna is now embarking on a career within Clinical Embryology as a Reproductive Science Practitioner at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London (“Fun fact: it is actually the oldest hospital in the UK, celebrating its 900th anniversary this year!”).

“The thing I love most about my job is that it combines the exact balance of scientific knowledge and laboratory techniques with the face-to-face discussions with patients that I always wanted. It is exciting to work in a relatively new field of healthcare with a supportive, caring and hardworking team of other embryologists, nurses, doctors and counsellors to provide meaningful healthcare for couples and individuals. I have been working in this role for just over a year now and I have learned so much. But there is still so much to learn and ways to develop my role within fertility that I can’t see myself doing anything different any time soon!”

Joanna Sanders – Trainee Solicitor

“I had never considered Law until my final year at university. All through school, I enjoyed science and played a lot of sport so always thought that I would become a physiotherapist,” says Joanna who left The Maynard in 2016.

However, during her professional placement year at Bath University (where she was reading Sports Science) she worked as a rugby Sports Medic and Physio Assistant and, although she enjoyed the year, she realised it wasn’t what she wanted to do long term. “After my undergraduate, I was looking into my next steps and my cousin suggested a masters in Law. So, I enrolled on the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) at the Bristol campus of the University of Law which I started full-time in 2021. At the same time, I was also applying for paralegal jobs and was fortunate enough to be offered a role fairly quickly at an international firm called DAC Beachcroft. I felt the role was too good to turn down, so I moved my GDL online and started working full-time as a paralegal, whilst also continuing my full-time degree. As tough as it was, it placed me in a good position when applying for future jobs, having already gained a year of legal experience.

“I now work at a globally ranked top 20 firm, CMS, in the Insurance Reinsurance Group. I have completed my Solicitors Qualifying Exams One and, later this year, I will complete my two years of Qualifying Work Experience needed to qualify as a solicitor.

“When I was at The Maynard, I never expected to have to re-take a year of my A-levels due to mental health, then I never expected to get three years into what I thought was going to be my career and decide it wasn’t for me. But I wouldn’t change any of it! My advice to anyone who is undecided about what they want to do is not to stress too much. Although it’s important to work hard, you really don’t need to have everything figured out yet (even though I know it can feel like everyone else around you does!).”

Sara Al-Seaidy – Pre-Sales Engineer

Sara (a 2020 leaver) is currently studying Computer Science at Royal Holloway University of London and just nearing the end of her year in industry working as a Junior Development Lead for a software company called Cyferd.

“Cyferd allows customers to build apps & business solutions with low code/no code tools, using a unified data model and storage in the cloud! We’ve incorporated some aspects of AI into our build processes, which has revolutionised the way we can develop our apps. We may be a start-up at the moment, but we are certainly working on some cool things.

“When I first joined the company, my role was more technical as I was building out a range of applications on our platform (eg. employee review apps, housing management systems etc) so that we have them ready to demo to potential customers, showing them what can be achieved with the platform.

“My role then moved onto creating the certification scheme – even though it is a no code platform, you still need to learn how to use the tools. Now, numerous members of our partner companies and clients have become modeller certified (meaning they can successfully build their data model on our platform), and developer certified (meaning they can create user interfaces and workflows in the platform) through using the training material that I created.

“It has been a brilliant year, and I have learnt so much! I will go back to university in September to finish up my degree but will carry on working part-time with the company. Being a pre-sales engineer involves the perfect blend of skills for me: I am required to have technical understanding of the product (not as much as a programmer requires, of course), but it very much remains a customer facing role. As such, it requires a lot of presenting and convincing, and it is a very dynamic job – I’ll be jumping from project to project, doing lots of travelling, and meeting lots of great people!”

“Often, I think back to the time when I was busy preparing for my A-Levels, only to be told they weren’t happening (pandemic and all), and I would be leaving school in a matter of days. It has been three years now, and it is certainly scary how fast time is moving – but I will always look back at my time at the Maynard so fondly.”

Tina Soh – Trader

Tina, a straight A* student (Maths, Further Maths & Economics), wasn’t initially sure what specific career she wanted to pursue when she left The Maynard in 2015, although she says that “my A-levels gave me a strong idea of the skill set that I wanted to use and develop, namely my analytical and problem-solving skills.

“During my postgraduate masters in Behavioural Science at LSE, I spoke to the careers service about what I was looking for in a role and they directed me towards trading. After then doing independent research and speaking to a trader, I realised that this career aligned with my goals and was in a field in which I was highly interested.

“I now work as a trader in GBP interest rate swaps at BNP Paribas. My job involves analysis of the financial market, the economy and current affairs to make judgement calls on the price of the financial product that I trade. As a market maker, I am also a liquidity provider to the market so anticipate client flow, facilitate client flow, and provide market updates to clients. A key part of my role is managing risk – the products that I trade go up and down in value and this risk must be managed to effectively facilitate client flow.

“Every day, I learn something new. The price movements in the financial product that I trade are constantly evolving and are rooted in current affairs and human behaviour. One day the moves could be driven by Swedish real estate developments, another by a regime shift in the Japanese central bank, and another by a change in UK pensions regulation. The changes happen fast, but I love being kept on my toes!

“The Maynard encouraged and motivated me in the classroom to bring my best and most authentic self to every interaction,” she added. “My years were filled with supportive friends and teachers, and the environment and atmosphere meant that I felt confident in pursuing my interests.”

Flora Niven – Studio Manager

“I never thought of myself being a jeweller and working for a jewellery business,” says Flora, “But ever since I started, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else!”

After five happy years at The Maynard, Flora left in 2016 with no particularly clear career aspirations, although a jockey or a chef had once topped the list when she was much younger. “My job title now is Studio Manager for Milly Maunder Ltd. We are a small business based in the heart of Devon and our studio runs out of a gorgeous old converted stable barn. We create timeless jewellery, all hand-made, using the techniques of granulation throughout.

“I began working for Milly part-time alongside my old job as a Lettings Agent, and shortly after became full time here and will never look back! I absolutely love the making and design parts of my job; my favourites are the engagement rings and bespoke reworking which I am currently in the process of learning. We are all a very close team which allows us to bring our ideas together and bounce off one another for inspiration.

“I never went to university, so I feel lucky to have found my passion without actually searching for it!”

Emma Murphy – Medical Student

For anyone who knows our indefatigable 2019/20 Head Girl, Emma, it will come as no surprise that she has enjoyed a typically unconventional route into Medicine: “Making the decision to leave university and head in completely the opposite decision has not been easy, particularly as the majority of my school friends are now finishing university and I haven’t even started! But I really don’t regret it!”

Admitting to having been “endlessly indecisive” as a 17-year-old choosing her university degree, and despite having picked her A-levels based on the aim of becoming a doctor, Emma opted instead for a place at the London School of Economics to study for a BSc in Law & Anthropology “because it was so broad and diverse” … but then decided to defer her place for a gap year during which she was “lucky enough” to escape lockdown in the UK whilst training as a ski instructor in Switzerland. On her return, and despite loving student life at LSE, she soon realised that she wasn’t enjoying her degree course. “I missed the sciences that I had studied at school and quickly decided that the corporate world wasn’t for me. So, it was back to the drawing board.

“I moved back home and began thinking about what my next move should be and kept circling back to medicine. Both of my parents are doctors and so it has always been on my radar as a career option, but it is a lifelong commitment and I really needed to be sure. I managed to gain some invaluable work experience in different areas of the hospital and began working as a healthcare assistant (HCA) in The Lodge Nursing Home opposite The Maynard. It was working as an HCA that really confirmed to me that working in healthcare was what I wanted to do. Despite leaving The Maynard two years earlier, Mr Hibberd helped and guided me through the process of medicine admissions. One UCAT exam and three offers later, I’ll be moving to Northern Ireland in September to study medicine at Queen’s Belfast University.

“Now I’m looking forward to a summer of travelling around South America with Maynard friends, before finally buckling down and rejoining the academic world!”

Georgina Hearth – Debt Capital Markets

“I left Maynard in 2014 and headed to Durham where I studied Economics. I’d already began working towards my career, interning before university and during my summers. After graduating I began working for BNP Paribas – a European bank based in London, where I was for three years. Alongside which I developed and nurtured a real love for reading and travel (preferably together). Last year I moved to HSBC where I am now, working in the Debt Capital Markets and exploring my interests in evolving traditional roles and approaches to banking.

I have a passion for interior design and spacial architecture which I’m lucky enough to now be applying to design my dream flat. I live in London but love coming back to Devon for weekends and to reset.”

Anastasia Bruce-Jones – Writer and Director

“Over the last few years, I’ve really learned that the greatest gift in life is to be able to keep doing the things you love, regardless of any accolades you might receive along the way. Those are pretty meaningless – just look at how many great works of cinema never got a sniff at the Academy Awards, and vice versa,” says 2015 leaver Anastasia, one the UK’s brightest stars in film and theatre.

“And in film it’s far from a given that you’ll get to keep making work, however successful you are. So really my goal is to be able to keep telling stories, both in film and theatre, as long as I physically can. I have no intention of retiring – I want to keep directing right up until I’m carted off to wherever. If I can look back on my life and be proud of the body of work I’ve made, that’d be all I could ever wish for. So, it’s really just about keeping going, keeping learning, keeping questioning – because art can’t be a static thing, it has to push forward.”

Having left The Maynard with A-levels in Chemistry, Biology, Maths and English, a career in film and theatre was not as surprising as it seems. “When I was very young, I spent a huge amount of time playing imaginary games – which effectively amounted to building stories in my head and picturing them play out in front of me. The process of discovering stories has always thrilled me. Even into my teenage years, I was writing so-called ‘novels’, coming home from school and staying up late into the night scribbling away.

“But I was also keen to do the ‘right thing’ at degree level, which in my mind meant both the most challenging thing and a degree that would give me a secure career. So, for a long time I felt I should probably study medicine. I loved the sciences and maths, and I’m good at exams, so it seemed like the logical choice. But when it came to applying for universities, my gut was pulling in a different direction. It sounds crazy now, but even without having ever done it, I knew I was going to be a director. So, I applied for English instead, and decided that whatever course I ended up on, my main focus wouldn’t be the degree itself, but spending as much time in student theatre as possible, learning how to direct.”

Fast forward a few years and Anastasia is currently raising funds for their next short film ‘Frostlands’ as well as developing their first feature film, False Positive, with a production company. “At the same time, I’m writing my next feature and co-writing several projects, including another feature, an opera and a musical. In between all that, I work as a production assistant for a film studio up North – earlier this year, I got to work with Lena Headey on her directorial debut. And then there are various other projects around all that, both theatre and film, which are at various stages of writing or fundraising. It’s a lot of juggling, but that’s part of the joy of it.”

And, as for their proudest moments in their career so far? “Watching the premiere of my first film in a cinema. Mostly because I was sitting between my parents, and for them to be able to watch my work on the big screen meant everything to me. That’s the biggest one. But there was another much earlier moment, on the closing night of my second student theatre show, Birdsong. It was a really high-quality production, even by professional standards, and the subject matter is really close to my heart. I remember having this overwhelming feeling that I was where I was meant to be, and that this was what I would spend my life doing – directing. That was a very special moment.”

Lauren Wood – Dentist

Huge congratulations to our newest doctor in the ranks, Dr Lauren Wood who, after five years of hard grind, has finally been awarded her BDS Dental Surgery degree (with a Distinction) at the University of Bristol! It’s been a very long stint in academia without a break since leaving The Maynard in 2018, but she has completely and utterly smashed it!

“We had LOTS of exams…particularly in the first two non-clinical years. This was especially challenging when they didn’t take place in the typical university ‘exam season’ and lots of my other friends weren’t revising! We also endured longer term dates in comparison to other degrees and even had Saturday clinics in our 5th year which were also a struggle – I very much did NOT enjoy my 7am alarm on a Saturday morning!

As a brilliant netballer who also particularly enjoyed A-level Biology and Art, Lauren was keen to pursue something medically related. “Dentistry seemed to be a good fit as I could challenge myself academically, whilst the large practical element of the profession would also allow me to implement my manual dexterity skills. After undertaking some work experience at different practices, I further realised how personable dentistry can be and how you can build great relationships with patients over time!”

So, the long road to qualifying began and the reality of now becoming a fully-fledged dentist still hasn’t fully sunk in: “My parents have always encouraged me to be the best person I can be and have inspired me to have big ambitions (as a little girl, I wanted to be in a girl band despite not being able to sing!). There have been so many hurdles to jump on this journey that I’ve tried to not think about it too much until I got there!”

In addition to her heavy dentistry workload, Lauren was also keen to keep up her sport and she has continued playing 1st team netball for Bristol University throughout the five years. “I’ve even been given the title of current longest serving member of the club!”

So, what’s next? “There are lots of interesting specialities and routes you can go down in dentistry, so I think the most exciting thing for me at the moment is that I have no clue what I will be doing or where I will be after next year!”

Gigi Hetherington – Undergraduate Food Technologist

Having left The Maynard in 2019, Gigi is currently coming to the end of a 12-month work placement as an Undergraduate Food Technologist at the Co-op before returning to her final year at Leeds University where she is studying Food Science.

“Both my parents worked in the food industry and I’m a massive foodie, too! Admittedly, I originally wanted to be a vet but changed my mind when I realised that I wanted to do Physics instead of Chemistry at A-level.”

Having moved to Manchester for her work placement, Gigi has had a great year making friends for life and enjoying the city’s famous food and drinks scene … whilst also gaining valuable transferable skills along the way!

“The overall aim of the technical team is to ensure that all Co-op products reaching our customers are safe and legal. I sit within the produce and horticulture team but have focused on herbs and flowers for the past six months. Probably the coolest part of my job has been visiting various food manufacturing sites. It’s a great company to work for and Co-op is also well renowned in the industry for its focus on ethical trading which is something to be proud of.”

In terms of what the future might hold, Gigi remains open-minded. “Post-university I hope to travel and then will either continue on my career path in the food industry or I might consider auditing or consulting, too. My end goal is to reach a senior management position where I can focus more on strategy.”

Pippa Black – Partner, Oliver Wyman

Pippa has certainly flown up the careers ladder since leaving The Maynard in 2007 and is now a Partner at Oliver Wyman, a leading international management consulting firm with officers all around the globe.

On leaving The Maynard in 2007, Pippa studied Maths & Philosophy at Oxford University during which time she completed an internship with Oliver Wyman. “I really enjoyed it and particularly loved working with the people that I met during my internship, so decided to join full-time. I now focus on risk and compliance in the financial services sector. I’ve stayed at the company as I have found the role very engaging – I like getting to solve hard problems for clients and working with smart people.

“It’s always evolving which keeps it interesting and I love forming relationships with clients and helping my teams to develop their careers. It’s also given me the opportunity to travel a lot; I’ve worked in the UK, USA, UAE, Mexico and Jordan, among others.”

Laura Kerr – Fiji Rugby Team Physio

Laura has landed quite possibly one of the coolest jobs in one of the most exotic places in the world (and we’re not at all jealous!). Having always known that she wanted to be a physiotherapist because “I realised how crucial rehabilitation is for individuals recovering from injury or disease”, she took a gap year after leaving The Maynard in 2019 before pursuing a degree in Physiotherapy at Manchester Metropolitan University.

“During my second year, I was given the chance to volunteer with Think Pacific in Fiji. My role involved educating the remote Fijian communities on various topics such as Public Health, environment, sport leadership and Mental Health. I happened to meet the physiotherapist for the Rugby 7s team during this time and was offered the opportunity to return for an elective placement in my final year of university.”

Now back in Fiji, in hugely exciting news, Laura has recently been offered a full-time placement working with the Head of Physio for the entire national Rugby Union team. “Coming from a very rugby-orientated family, I grew up watching the game. It’s a fast-paced sport with high risks and my role includes the assessment and treatment of injuries as well as pitch side first-aid.”

“Every day is different, assessing multiple injuries each time. But ultimately, elite sport allows me to travel and see the world, whilst learning so many different skills. And I can’t wait because I’ll be coming home for the England versus Fiji test match in August!”

Lilly M – Aspiring Campaigner and Journalist

Current student, Lilly, has just completed her first year in the Sixth Form and is loving all her A-level choices of German, History, Art and English. She also manages to maintain a hefty extra-curricular schedule of activities and was one of the spearheads behind our recent inaugural ‘Speak Out’ Conference, championing the debate around diversity, gender equality and intersectionality.

In June, Lilly was shortlisted for the Queer Student Role Model of the Year Award UK and she also became the women’s officer in the Exeter & District Young Labour Party, a position involving making sure the group is open to women and non-binary people whilst, hopefully, increasing their involvement. She’s also a member of the National Portrait Gallery Youth Forum and last year took part in a workshop to help create a piece of art which is being displayed in the gallery (number 52 on panel 3 – https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/reframing-narratives-women-in-portraiture/work-in-progress/panel-3).

“Last summer I went to New York for three weeks to attend a course at the School of the New York Times called ‘The City as Muse and Inspiration’ after achieving a scholarship for the programme. This was an incredible experience, with so many interesting conversations about what makes a city, the perceived permanence of our societies, and the sometimes invisible forces that shape the world around us. I also made some amazing friends who I am still in contact with! This summer, I am attending a language school in Germany to keep working on my German over the holidays, so it should be a really exciting trip! I am also planning to work on my EPQ, enter a few essay competitions and just take some time off!

“I am looking at a couple of different universities at the moment including Cambridge and UCL, both for courses involving Social and Political Sciences, which I find super exciting! In terms of career aspirations, I am currently pretty open-minded but am looking at something that links my interests in politics, writing, activism and journalism.”

One thing is for sure, with her diverse range of talents, burning passions and unequalled energy, Lilly certainly is one to watch!

Charlotte Miller – Graduate Project Manager

From a young age, Charlotte realised that she had a keen interest for understanding how things work which led her to taking STEM subjects at A-level and then Mechanical Engineering at Warwick University. Now a Graduate Project Manager at Atkins, she works within the highways sector and manages projects to ensure that time, quality and cost objectives are met.

“I’ve actually had Atkins on my radar ever since I was in Lower 5. We had an Old Maynardian come back to do a talk on her career at Atkins and ever since then I’ve had the company on my mind. When I was finishing my degree and I was wondering what to do, I realised that this was my dream job. I had been involved in a lot of extra-curricular things at university and became the president of a sports club. I think managing all the various elements of this gave me a love of being busy and juggling multi-disciplines – the perfect preparation to becoming a Project Manager in a big company (and, ironically, not something that I ever imagined that I would be doing before I went to university)!

“Sometimes I might be working on smaller road projects with the local councils, for instance adding a new cycling scheme or pedestrian crossing. But we also work nationally on much bigger projects such as motorways and A roads; the size of the project is directly proportionate to the number of people that I have to manage each time. Some of the bigger projects have just so many people involved from various disciplines such as the engineers who design the road, the environment agencies, drainage, traffic management, scheduling – there’s just a whole long list of people! It’s my job to liaise with them all and make sure everything is happening when they should and that everyone is working together. The major part of my role is, of course, managing the finance of the projects to make sure we don’t go over budget.

“I just love being able to oversee everything that is going on in every aspect – it just seems like the perfect match! I also owe so much to The Maynard as I was there for 11 years and it really did develop me as a person. It gave me so many opportunities and it really did get me to where I am now!”

Shweta Banerjee – Intern at Microsoft

Shweta left The Maynard in 2021 with an impressive A*, A*, A* and A in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry in addition to an A* in her Extended Project Qualification. Earlier that year, she had achieved a Maynard record by becoming the first to have a paper accepted for publication in a scientific journal when “Autonomous cars: A review of the ethical, social and economic implications of the AI revolution” was published in the International Journal of Intelligent Unmanned Systems (and subsequently received a Gold CREST award).

She is currently studying the 4-year MEng (with Honours) Computer Science course specialising in AI and machine learning at Imperial College, where one of her most recent individual projects was “creating an AI model to detects fake news, which does so with very high accuracy”.

“I also applied to Microsoft to become a Software Engineering intern and, after a series of interviews and assessments, I secured an offer to intern in Cambridge.”

On top of all of this, Shweta also plays competitive basketball as part of the Imperial women’s team and is working towards her Grade 8 piano with Mrs Higgins (one of The Maynard’s music teachers)!

“My ultimate career goal is still the same as it always has been. I want to become the CEO of a leading tech company, most likely Google.”

Jess Hill – Tennis Scholar

Top tennis superstar, Jess, left us after A-levels last year to take up a full scholarship at Weber State University in Utah, USA where she is pursuing a degree in Accounting … and we just had to find out how she is getting on!

“I am loving it! I wanted to go and study in America as I was told about the endless opportunities that sports women could have out there. A full scholarship means I’ll have no debt afterwards and I get to play the sport that I love on the side!

“I train for two hours a day and three times a week I’ll do fitness with a separate coach. Our team has done really well over the last year, and we won our Conference Tournament for the first time in 23 years which was such an amazing moment for us all. We then went on to play Stanford in the first round of the NCAA tournament which was just surreal!”

“I would say that going to America to study has been very challenging at times as it is a big change, but the people you meet and the places you see are so worth it. I also think that you learn so much about the world and make friends for life, as well as creating a community in a completely different country.”

Back in Devon for the summer holidays, Jess is enjoying catching up with friends and family whilst also looking forward to lots more tennis competitions this side of the Atlantic!

Antonia Mattos – Head of Energy Research

One of Antonia’s main criteria for any job is that it contributes positively to society and makes a difference, “in my case through climate change”.

Having left The Maynard in 2010 to study Physical Natural Sciences (specialising in Chemistry) at Cambridge, she initially took a year out after university to “travel and catch up with friends” before interning at BP and then moving to Mars Chocolate. “I wanted to be able to explore different roles and meet people to try and find the right fit for me. Mars was interesting, but I realised that I had spent two years making minor modifications to chocolate bars and wanted my work to have a more meaningful impact.”

Fast forward and for the past two years Antonia has been working in the UK Government’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. “My wider team funds and leads research and innovation into new low carbon technologies that will help the UK meet our net zero goals.

“I have been leading the £26m Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator innovation programme, which aims to develop clean hydrogen systems for industrial applications. My role entailed designing the fund to be most impactful, selecting the most promising technologies, managing the delivery of the innovation projects by the successful private companies, and then translating the findings to share the new evidence with government policy teams.

“I am now moving to Head of Energy Research, which is a team aiming to fill key information gaps around low carbon energy solutions to ensure we have the required evidence to develop robust policy around net zero. 

“This role will identify which technologies are the most promising and need government support to reach a stage where they can be deployed commercially to contribute to reducing emissions. Hence our team helps to build a lower carbon and more environmentally friendly energy system, reducing reliance on fossil fuels.”

Mimi Dudman – Condé Nast

We are so excited for 2019 leaver, Mimi, who recently fought off stiff competition to successfully land a much-coveted Graduate Scheme at Condé Nast in London. “I will be working on all of CN’s magazines – VOGUE, GQ, Tatler, Condé Nast Traveller etc. in the classified ads department to start with. I’m aiming to work my way up and maybe move to different areas of the business, but I know I want to stay working with clients and brands on ad campaigns. I’m most excited to be working on projects for CN Traveller, House and Garden and Vogue.

“I have read and collected the magazines published by CN throughout my whole life, and I found out about this job opening about three years ago, so I’ve been waiting a long time. I knew I wanted to work in the creative industry, may that be in fashion or interiors. I also knew that I wanted to follow a career which produced tangible outcomes. However, up until now I’ve never been able to be specific about the actual job I wanted to do. I sometimes envied those who followed a very set career path, such as those going into law and medicine. I did consider architecture and even dentistry, although Mr Hibberd quite rightly hinted that as he considered one of my greatest talents is my ability to chat, working with people unable to respond may not have been particularly rewarding!”

A self-confessed prolific traveller (“I did a ski season in Tignes during my gap year which was exhausting but SO much fun, and I had planned to travel after but covid meant I couldn’t get further than my local Tesco”), Mimi ultimately aims to live and work abroad in the next few years “hopefully, still with Condé Nast as they have office worldwide.

“I’ve always loved fashion and ‘aesthetic’ things, whether that’s clothes or interiors. And the magazines CN publish have fuelled this passion for as long as I can remember, so now being able to work for them is really incredible.”

Jess Ramsay – PhD Research

Having spent 11 happy years at The Maynard, Jess went on to study Physics at the University of Birmingham. During her final year there, she found a PhD opportunity at Exeter University which, by fortunate coincidence, focused on a research area known as the ‘quantum robin’. This was the exact same topic that a) fascinated Jess and b) she had presented upon for an assessment just a few months earlier. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of the PhD, she also didn’t require a Master’s degree and Jess successfully applied.

“My research focuses on magnetosensitivity in proteins. The main motivation is to understand the structural dynamics behind the protein, cryptochrome, which is known to be magnetically sensitive and is hypothesised to aid birds when navigating over long distances. Over the last couple of years, it is becoming clearer that many species are able to sense the magnetic fields and utilise it for different means.”

Working at the cutting-edge of experimental research, Jess enjoys a varied day-to-day in the workplace consisting of reading research papers, running experiments on the mass spectrometer and analysing any data collected, alongside working closely with her supervisors. “Throughout my physics degree, I was always interested in how science applies to nature, and I love the fact that I am continuing to learn throughout the course of my PhD. I’m not entirely sure where this will lead but I will be interested to find out!”

Lizzie Strachan – NHS Programme Manager

Following a degree in International Relations at Durham University, Lizzie – a leaver in 2015 – successfully applied for the NHS Graduate Management Scheme, despite never having heard of it before and “stupidly assuming that it was all science-based, which was never my strongest area (and a massive thank you to Mr Lodge for getting me through my Chemistry GCSE)!

“However, I looked into the scheme as I thought that HR might be a good career for me to try, and it is exceptionally highly rated as graduate schemes go, so I thought I should apply. However, as soon as I started, I quickly realised that pure-HR wasn’t for me, but I loved my roles in Organisational Development and Service Management.

“Some people would definitely say I was unlucky to begin my career in the NHS in September 2019, as when COVID-19 hit in March 2020, things understandably hit the proverbial fan. However, I think I was extremely lucky to be in the thick of it at this time. I did things I would never had a chance to do in a ‘more normal’ time, such as work in Intensive Care in one of the UK’s largest hospitals, supporting with rota coordination, infection control, and lost property. It has really made me fall in love with the NHS and I am such an NHS fan, which I am teased for by my non-NHS friends to no end.”

Upon finishing the scheme, Lizzie went on to manage the Clinical Genetics Service at the Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, supporting patients, implementing a new IT system and managing staff. Since then, she has moved to a more strategy-based role as the Programme Manager for Endoscopy with the South East London Acute Provider Collaborative where she works across a number of NHS trusts.

“We’re thinking about the long-term ways that we can support the population of South East London with increased access to endoscopy services, which are so vital in the early detection and diagnosis of upper and lower gastrointestinal cancers, and I love how much impact my work could have on that.

“I think for me, I always want to enjoy my work and know that my job is supporting people or making a difference. That’s why I love working in the NHS and it’s why I haven’t completely closed the door on teaching. I am very much open to any opportunities that come my way and have definitely adopted a ‘why not’ attitude to accepting new projects and roles.

“Equally, I have to say that I loved my time at The Maynard. You really take for granted how lovely it is to be surrounded by your friends all day every day, and that’s something I really miss. The teachers were extremely supportive, too. I met some amazing people, and although I don’t see some of them nearly as often as I would like, when we do all meet up it is immediately as if we’re back in the Sixth Form common room once more!”

Georgie Rutter – Automation Engineer

For the past three years Georgie has worked for GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) as an Automation Engineer on the Future Leaders Programme. “I love my job,” she says, “As it allows me to be challenged in an area that I find interesting, whilst also being able to continuously learn and deliver new projects.

“I’ve always had a keen interest in looking at how different things work and taking them apart, then (hopefully) putting them back together, and took a liking to robotics when I was around 16-years old, building simple robots in my free time. I also had an interest in medicine but always knew that I didn’t want to be a medical professional (doctor, nurse etc.). So, when I found out I could study Cybernetic Engineering at university where I could mix these two topics, I knew that was the right path for me.”

As part of her rotations on the graduate scheme at GSK, Georgie has worked in Secondary Automation (“where we package medication from its original form (power, liquid etc.) into the form you’d receive as a patient – tablet, inhalers, injectables etc.”), in Cell and Gene Therapy (a new form of treatment that works towards the goal of personalised medicine) and at Galvani Bioelectronics (working on creating implanted medical equipment to treat conditions – one they are currently focusing on is a treatment for Rheumatoid arthritis and this is done by stimulating the splenic nerve).

“Currently I’m working two part time roles. One in capital projects, requiring me to manage long term, high value projects on site that improve how the site runs or works. The other role I work in is in Central Automation where I work in two areas, one to improve attraction and retention of Automation talent and another to help create an Operational Technology (OT) HUB for Engineers to get all the information they need when working on new projects.

“I have really enjoyed my time working within the company; the roles I’ve worked in have challenged me in different ways and given me the opportunity to work on some cutting-edge projects, all with the patient in mind. The scheme ends in September, however, and I’m still weighing up my options on where I want to take my career next!”

Bridget Sissons – Sustainable Fashion

“For years I had this big plan of going to university, jumping straight into the fashion career ladder and becoming a Head Buyer by the time I was 35,” says Bridget who left The Maynard in 2015 and went on to read Fashion Buying and Merchandising BSc (Hons) at the University of Manchester. “I wanted to be part of creating a more inclusive world through fashion. Mrs. Fanous was a massive source of inspiration to me – creative, intelligent and inspiring, she showed me that you can follow your passions and turn them into a career!

“However, it was while studying, I realised that I didn’t want to work in Fashion, or at least in the traditional sense. Completing university modules on Sustainable Fashion and volunteering in my local charity shop, exposed to me the reality of retail. I started researching how I could work in Fashion without contributing to the overproduction and consumption of clothes. I found my true calling in pre-loved retail and am currently leading a number of projects for a charity to educate and encourage others to make the change to circular fashion. I am also working as a Freelance Creative so am often assisting on fashion shows and shoots, and I really enjoy creating sustainable fashion content for social media.

“My life in fashion looks completely different to what the 12-year old me had imagined. I thought I had to ‘let go’ of my dreams, but the slight deviation in my career path showed me that your dreams can be your reality, you might just have to reshape the narrative. As Heraclitus said, ‘change is the only constant in life’.

“I am currently planning to start my own business – something where I can be creative and inclusive. So, watch this space! Primarily, I plan to blend contentment with career success as, in the last few years, I have realised the important of protecting your peace and cultivating a happy environment. My ultimate goal is to be a positive female role model, like the women who inspired me when I was growing up.”

Bridget’s one piece of advice to others? “Remember your younger self would be so proud of the person you are today. Be Fearless; Keep Going; You’ve got this😊.”

Lucy Byles – Theoretical Physics PdD

“I loved Physics and Maths so much at school that I was always pretty certain I wanted to end up doing something where I would be actively using them still, but I just wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted to do that,” admits Lucy who left The Maynard in 2017 to study an integrated Masters in Theoretical Physics at the University of Birmingham.

“Being at university made me certain I wanted to keep learning and studying, so a PhD definitely felt like the natural next step to take.” Having just finished her second year at the University of Leeds, Lucy’s work so far has been looking at manipulating quantum entanglement in one-dimensional systems with, hopefully, some potential applications in quantum computation.

“I’ve loved having the chance to work more independently and have more control over the research I want to do. It’s also great to feel like I’m still using everything that I learned at school and throughout university on a day-to-day basis, as well as being encouraged to keep learning new things.

“I am hoping to complete my PhD in a couple of years. After that, I’m still not sure if I want to stay in academia but my main goal is to, hopefully, keep doing something where I can continue using the physics knowledge and skills from my studies so far.

“And I’m very grateful to Mr Ridler and Dr Merisi for their support and enthusiasm for my interest in Physics and Maths! I definitely have them to thank for not only teaching the courses so well but encouraging me to read further around things (and being patient with all my questions!).”

Venetia D’Arcy – Haematologist

Venetia left The Maynard in 2010 with five A*s in her A-levels (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Further Maths). “I don’t think I could have achieved this at another school. When I attended Sixth Form Open Days elsewhere, I was told by teachers that it was a silly idea to attempt five A-levels (especially in these subjects); whereas at The Maynard my teachers believed in my abilities and supported me through the process.”

Venetia then went on to study Medicine at Cambridge, gaining a first class honours in her pathology degree and a distinction in her medical finals, graduating in the top decile of her year group.

“I chose to specialise in Haematology after working on the Stem Cell Transplant ward at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in my first year as a qualified doctor. I was fascinated by the science of how this treatment works, harnessing the power of the donor’s immune system to fight the recipient’s cancer. I also really enjoyed establishing long-term relationships with my patients, gaining their trust and supporting them through one of the most difficult periods of their lives.

“A lot of the time, in Haematology, we have to deliver life-changing diagnoses and prescribe intensive treatments, but it can be rewarding to support patients through this journey. Of course, it is fantastic when we are able to achieve a cure, but it is also a privilege to compassionately care for someone as they come towards the end of their life. The worst part is probably the long hours or the paperwork.”

Currently pregnant with her first child and soon to go on maternity leave, Venetia has so much to look forward to both at home and professionally: “I’ve recently been awarded funding by the Wellcome Trust for a PhD at Cambridge University. I’ll be working on developing a new immune therapy for the treatment of TP53-mutated Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML). AML is a cancer of the blood, which still unfortunately carries a poor prognosis, and outcomes are particularly bad for patients with TP53-mutated disease, with a median survival of just two months. This particular type of disease is relatively resistant to conventional chemotherapy, so I am aiming to identify new surface proteins on these cells that we can target with an immune treatment. I plan to start this PhD in the summer of 2024, after my maternity leave.”

We asked how Venetia relaxes after what must always be tremendously gruelling days at work and it was no surprise to establish that she is also an extremely talented athlete! “I enjoy running, cycling and swimming, and have completed various local marathons and triathlons over the past few years. I was the second female to finish the Marriott’s Way trail marathon in Norfolk in 2022, and I won the Saffron Walden sprint triathlon in 2021.”

Pip Halpin -Senior Space Scientist

Pip is a Senior Space Scientist and the Space Environment Technical Lead at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory which, in turn, is a part of the Ministry of Defence. In her role, Pip provides support to MOD operations and designs future technologies to deliver high impact Science & Technology for the UK’s defence and security.

“After leaving The Maynard (in 2013, I did a Maths degree at the University of St Andrews and specialised in Applied Mathematics with a focus on Solar Physics. This then led me on to a doing a Space Science degree at UCL where I took that interest further and completed a pure masters in Space Science and Technology.”

Pip then joined the Dstl, where she now leads the Space Environmental work and was a key figure in the first-ever UK satellite launch that took place from Spaceport Cornwall earlier this year.

“Known as the Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction Cubesat Experiment (or CIRCE for short!), this mission comprised two spacecrafts the size of a box of cornflakes that were designed to fly in tandem and were going to study a region of the earth’s atmosphere called the Ionosphere. The area is full of charged particles and is known to cause havoc on a lot of different systems, be it ground systems or space systems (satellites) and it also impacts communication systems. Equally, space weather events can also affect power grids and transport lines, so this mission was all about improving the data collection of that area as it is currently so under-informed. For the most part our data comes from the ground up or from spacecraft that are sitting higher up above the Ionospehere and probing down – but we were planning to have satellites flying right in the centre to collect the missing data.

“However, it didn’t happen – we integrated the spacecraft onto the rocket last October and returned to Cornwall again in January for the actual flight. Emotions were running really high when the plane took off, knowing that our spacecraft were on their way (with the rocket strapped under the wing of a commercial aeroplane), however everything started to go quiet and we learned that, unfortunately, there had been a problem with the rocket and they hadn’t been able to deploy the spacecraft.

“It was incredibly disappointing, although the rocket and satellites did still make it into space (where they were, unfortunately, burned up in the atmosphere) so technically it was the UK’s first successful space launch. And we learned huge lessons from the process so, from that perspective, there have been some enormous wins for us at the Dstl and the wider UK space community.

“It’s an intriguing place to work and I’m constantly interacting with people on the front line whether that be space command, the RAF, Navy or the Army. I also love the travel and the sheer variety of the work – I’m not sitting in an office all day, but I’m out and about meeting people in the UK and abroad which I really enjoy.”

Yasmin Dyer – Talent Acquisition Partner

Yasmin spent 11 happy years at The Maynard before heading off to Cardiff University to study for a BA in English Literature and Archaeology. From there, she completed a Graduate Diploma in Law at the University of Law in Bristol “before deciding that law wasn’t for me.”

“I wanted to pursue a career that would give me the chance to move to London and potentially abroad in the long run, to work in a social environment and have the opportunity for long term progression, so I was very open to ideas when I started researching careers.

“I came across recruitment through a friend, and it ticked all my boxes, so I decided to give it a go. Eleven years later, here I am! I achieved my goal of living and working in New York for some time, although I decided to move back to London about six years ago for family. So, I’m now the Talent Acquisition Partner at a company called Oxford PharmaGenesis, a HealthScience consultancy in the medical communications sector.

“I manage a small team of Talent Acquisition Associates, managing recruitment processes and projects to improve those recruitment processes. A lot of my job is working closely with senior management and building relationships at all levels, both internally and externally, to ensure processes and change both go smoothly. I’m not a scientist myself, but I love working with scientists and being involved in the pharmaceutical industry, particularly during a time when it has been more crucial than ever. 

“I’m enjoying progressing through Talent Acquisition and getting involved with more projects and operational leadership at a senior level across the business. Ultimately, I would love to work my way up to Talent Acquisition Director! I’m also an avid reader, so one day I would love to write my own book!”

Favourite Maynard memory: “It would have to be the annual trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon to see the RSC! The fabulous English department really ignited my passion for all things Shakespeare and literature, so this school trip has always stuck with me as a real highlight of my time at Maynard.”

Kavisha Mandalia – Medicine

Like others we have featured in this ‘Going Places’ series, Kavisha (a leaver in 2015) has hit a crossroads in her career and is considering which way to turn, given there are just so many options and opportunities! These sorts of stories are the reality of our time, and refreshing to tell, given that the next generation of workers is destined to have several different careers in their lifetime. To use the old adage, sometimes a change is as good as a rest …

Having graduated from medical school in 2021 with an MBChB and an intercalated degree in biomedical science (“I was grateful for the year of research experience but it turns out research is not for me!”), Kavisha then started work as a foundation doctor in Gloucester and Cheltenham Hospitals.

“I’ve rotated through all sorts of jobs and can honestly say that Sexual Health has definitely been my favourite. I love having a natter with patients and finding out what makes them tick! Checking coils and talking about contraception seems to be right up my street!

“However, the past two years have been challenging too and not necessarily what I expected from working in medicine. So, I am going to take a couple of years out of full-time training as of October to think about what I want from the future. I would like to explore some of my hobbies and see if I can turn them into side hustles or even a career – particularly, creative writing and filmmaking which I have been dabbling in since I was 18. I’ve also just got an awesome two-day a week fellow job in the PostGrad Medical Education team working with doctors who are returning after long periods of time off, alongside doing a PGCert in Healthcare Leadership & Management. Hopefully, this will give me the chance to focus the rest of my time on my storytelling – and who knows what the future holds!

“Maybe it’s a career in TV, maybe it’s a training pathway in sexual health, maybe it’s having fingers in lots of pies, including pies I don’t know exist yet!”

“I’m at a phase where I’ve done some cool things but I’m not sure where I’m going next … but I am happy to take the pressure off myself for a bit and celebrate what I’ve done and give myself some time to fully lean into my creative side before thinking about further training as a doctor.”

Karla-Luise Herpoldt – Scientist – Gene Editing

Based in Seattle (“the beautiful Pacific Northwest, home of volcanoes, pine forests and Orca whales!”), Karla-Luise confesses that a lab session in biophysics during her final year reading Physics at Oxford changed her career plans forever. “I always wanted to work in the space industry, but I went through an identity crisis thanks to that lesson and became a biochemist instead which ultimately led me to my PhD at Imperial College London studying HIV and ways to diagnose it early! 

“After my PhD, I ended up working at the University of Washington as a postdoctoral fellow in the Institute for Protein Design. Proteins are amazing molecules which are responsible for almost everything living things can do. Being able to design ones from scratch (rather than waiting for nature to evolve them), will allow us to make enzymes to break down plastics, make new medicines etc. There’s so much work to do to save our planet and we’re just starting to unlock the power of proteins to help us do it! I spent seven years there working on building better vaccines, which was particularly interesting when Covid shut the world down! A project my lab was working on at the time is now a licensed Covid vaccine in South Korea.

“Today I’m a scientist working in gene editing for a company called 2seventy bio. 2seventy’s main goal is to make personalised cancer therapeutics for patients (called CAR-T cells). In this treatment, a cancer patient’s white blood cells are extracted from their blood and reprogrammed to recognise their cancer cells as foreign (the same way they usually recognise viruses to remove them from our bodies, making us better again after an illness). Those reprogrammed cells are then returned into the patient where they go and fight their cancer.

“It’s still a pretty new treatment method but one that’s super powerful, especially since it’s designed for each patient individually. As part of the reprogramming, sometimes we want to turn certain genes on or off, to supercharge the white blood cells to be as effective as they can possibly be. My team works on building enzymes (back to proteins!) which specifically target and cut certain parts of the DNA that we want to change. While this is firstly being developed for cancer treatment, we also have projects targeting rare genetic diseases like Haemophilia.

“It’s amazing to think that some of the proteins I’ve worked on in the lab are now out in the clinic, hopefully saving people’s lives. The cure for cancer is an elusive one and there’s still a long road ahead, but each patient who we can give more time to – to spend with their loved ones, and doing the little things that bring them joy each day – is another victory for me and the incredible people I work with!”

“When I was at The Maynard, Dr Ouldridge (who had her own PhD in vaccine science) tried really hard to get me to do Biology at A-Level. I remember telling her very firmly that biology wasn’t a “real” science and that physics was the only true path! Ironic then that my career is now firmly in biology and that I spent six years working on vaccines. She knew all along where I was headed!!”

Hannah Coates – Senior Beauty Editor at Vogue

“I have always enjoyed writing (and reading) but actually wanted to go into art or design,” says Hannah who read English at the University of Birmingham after leaving The Maynard in 2009. “I spent a year after university interning at different magazines during the week and then working in retail at the weekends – often with no days off. I interned a lot at Net-a-Porter, a women’s fashion website that, at the time, was about to launch a glossy called Porter. A lot of brilliant journalists worked there and happily they liked me! They eventually offered me a year-long paid internship which then became a full-time job. I learned a lot, worked hard and listened to what people had to teach me.”

Now the Senior Beauty and Wellness Editor at British Vogue, Hannah admits that “I never initially saw myself as a beauty girl, but the job has changed hugely. It was once just about make-up and hair but now it’s about how we feel, mental health, fitness and general wellbeing. I am a big fan of holistic treatments and working with the body to feel better (which often leads to looking better, too).

“I am lucky to be offered opportunities to meet and speak with talented people from all walks of life, and I love that. Lots of people look to Vogue to hear what the latest trends are and, alongside many talented colleagues, I am fortunate to be in a position to set them.

“In addition to interviewing famous and interesting people, I travel quite a lot – trips to Paris and other amazing places. I was lucky enough to visit the famous La Colombe D’Or – where Alexander Miro and Picasso used to hang out – earlier in the year, which was a real treat.

“I also receive hundreds of freebies every month. The pros are giving my sisters, mum and friends all the products that they are obsessed with, whilst trying the ones that I want, too. The cons are that most of the time it’s terrible for the environment, but we make sure to donate a lot of the samples we receive to different charities.

Asked whether she has the opportunity to attend lots of celebrity award ceremonies or parties, Hannah replied: “Sometimes but – and I’m sorry for the boring answer – I work a lot anyway so prefer to spend time with my friends and family.”

“I love what I do – it’s extremely busy, very social and exhausting. The ultimate career goal is to be happy, feel inspired and to keep challenging myself – when that stops, I’ll know to move on.”

Most interesting interviewee: “Oh, I love the glamorous older stars, like Lauren Hutton and Anjelica Huston. They don’t make them like these ladies anymore. So fabulous, eccentric and generally hilarious – it felt like talking to a friend. Jodie Comer also springs to mind as someone lovely and chatty, and lest we forget David Gandy, for obvious reasons.”