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Case Study: Helen

Personal details
Degree:Statistics Profile picture
School(s): School of Mathematics and Statistics
Year of Graduation:Jun-2006
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: The Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA)
Job title: Risk Analyst
Occupational Sector: Risk Management
What has been your route to getting your current position?

After finishing my MSc in September 2006, I started working as an actuary... and left one month later! I wanted to find a job that would make better use of the statistical skills that I had acquired during my degree, in particular the ecological statistics. I applied for my position at FERA in November and started work in January 2007.

What does your job involve ?

Probabilistic modelling of the risks associated with pesticides use and their effects on wildlife and humans. Developing software for quantitative risk-benefit analysis of foods that contain both contaminants and nutrients. Development of risk communication techniques for policy-makers or non-statistical audiences.

What are the best bits of your job ?

I enjoy the challenge of finding creative ways to explain complex ideas to non-technical audiences. I have also enjoyed the challenge of learning new programming languages 'on the job'.

Why were you successful?

Enthusiastic, wrote application carefully and prepared well for interview.

What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?

Statistical skills, organisational skills, presentational skills.

What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?

Sometimes the work can feel quite isolating, especially when you're working on small projects with only a few colleagues. Be sure to take regular coffee breaks and get involved in other activities at work e.g. sports or clubs. We work 'flexi-time' at Fera, which is both a blessing and a curse! Arriving late at the start of the day only means that you'll have to stay later at the end of the day!