In 1981 I started a degree in mathematics at Leicester Polytechnic. I deliberately chose to go to a polytechnic because I wanted an applied degree (I had not studied any science subjects at A level and it was the applied aspects, particularly statistics, which interested me most). As part of my degree I undertook a year-long placement for the Medical Research Council Clinical Research Centre at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow. This placement year showed me the path I wanted to take when I graduated and I met many enthusiastic and inspirational statisticians while I was there. When I graduated I was awarded a studentship for the MSc in Medical Statistics & IT at the University of Leicester and learnt a lot over the next year. After the MSc I wanted to stay in Leicester until my partner had completed his studies so I spent a year as a part-time research assistant in the Dept. of Psychiatry at Leicester and a part-time teaching assistant in the Dept. of Mathematics, Statistics and Computing at Leicester Polytechnic.
During this year I decided that my passion was with teaching and fortunately I was successful in initially being appointed as a temporary lecturer for a year covering sabbatical leave and then on a permanent post at Leicester Polytechnic. Over the next 18 years I taught statistics and maths to a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate students both on maths courses and in other subjects areas such as biology, computing and business studies. Alongside the teaching I continued to do research and consultancy in medical statistics as there was a strong medical statistics group.
In 2005, a post as a Senior Teaching Fellow was advertised at Leicester with the key part of the role to manage and teach on the MSc in Medical Statistics. This came at an ideal time when the amount of statistics teaching required was reducing and my research interests did not align with changes taking place at De Montfort University (formerly Leicester Polytechnic). I started at Leicester in January 2006 on a 3-year temporary post which was changed to permanent after two years and I moved onto the academic scale. My teaching is now focussed on postgraduate level statistics and I lead the MSc in Medical Statistics. I have recently been awarded Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. I am based in the Dept. of Health Sciences in the Leicester Medical School. There are about 30 statisticians working in the department in both academic and research roles in Biostatistics and Genetic Epidemiology as well as lots of PhD students so there is always lots of interesting research taking place both methodological and applied.
During the 1990s I had three daughters but returned to work full-time each time. This took a lot of challenging time management and a lot of support from my husband to arrange where everyone needed to be every time of the day. My daughters are now grown up and have been to university themselves but I am still a volunteer coach twice a week, along with two of my daughters, at the gymnastics club at which they were all members.
In my role it is quite unusual to not have a PhD. I always said that I would undertake a PhD when I found an appropriate project and when my daughters were older, and in 2009 I registered on a part-time PhD for which I am now trying to complete the writing up (while working full-time it is not easy to find time). My PhD is looking at applying evidence synthesis and decision modelling methods developed for clinical trials to public health interventions with an application in home safety interventions to prevent accidents in the home in under 5s.