Former Student Profile – Eleanor Ralphs, Class of 2014

Guild Science

We look forward to welcoming Eleanor back to school for the Year 7 Inspire & Careel Talk & Networking Event P4 Thursday 10 October.

What years did you attend WHS? 2007-2014

What did you get up to at WHS in terms of study and extracurricular activities?

In terms of study, I did A-levels in Biology, Chemistry, Maths, and an AS in Latin. My optional GCSEs were: Textiles, Geography, French and Latin.  My extracurricular activities were all sports based. At some point during my WHS career, I represented the school at: Tennis, Netball, Hockey, Ultimate Frisbee, Rounders and Cricket.

Junior Ultimate Frisbee Team

Looking back, sport was surprisingly a great way to make new friends and for me it was the first time interacting with girls on the other side of the year, whose classes never overlapped with mine. Now, to this day, I still play Tennis and Ultimate Frisbee, and I have met great people and travelled to great places, all of which I would have never done if it wasn’t for enjoying hitting a ball around or throwing a plastic disc into the air.  

I also helped out as a Maths mentor, as I thought it would look good on my CV (which is actually did, as I got asked about it in some successful interviews). But in reality, I was subconsciously doing someone else’s homework…

Class photo Year 8 / 9

Do you have any fond memories you’d like to share?

• Mr Churchill running around the lab spraying water at everyone to prove that water droplets are in fact round, and not oval-shaped. 

• Anytime we would bump into Dr Palmer in the corridor is a fond memory - such a nice chap.

• English with Mr Haynes- I did not use to enjoy English, but he managed to make everything comical and I would end up looking forward to the lesson.


What did you do after school? Gap year, straight into business or Uni.

I decided to go straight to the Universityof Bristol University Year 13 to study Biology.  I wanted to study Medicine, but the idea of spending five to six years at university threw me of. So I chose Biology because I knew I wanted to do a Science, and I thought it would be the most interesting one that could open a variety of metaphoric doors. Ironically, Biology was actually my lowest grade at A-Levels.

What are you up to now?

During the start of my final year of my undergraduate degree, I started to look at jobs. I found the ones that looked most interesting, required a masters or paid more if I had a masters. So I applied and got into The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (Google it, it’s a pretty cool school), where I studied a masters in Epidemiology (the study of how to investigate disease). Doing a masters is very different to undergraduate study. Undergraduate is fun, and so is postgraduate study, but my postgraduate experience exposed me to more tailored learning and a much more diverse group of people.

Straight after handing in my Masters thesis, I started an internship at a Pharmaceutical Consultancy in London. I then got offered a permanent job off the back of the internship, and I have been working here for a year. I am in the Data Science team, as a cross between an Epidemiologist and a Statistician. 

At the moment I am working on Epilepsy, Lung Cancer and IVF projects. My role is to think about how we can study the disease-area of interest, how to do the statistical programming to produce the results, and then how to interpret and think about what the results mean to the patients. Although my job is office-based, it has also given me opportunities to travel. For instance, at the moment I am being sent out to Portugal on a monthly basis, to do analysis in a Cancer hospital there.

What do you know now that you didn’t in Year 13 that you’d like to share with current students?

• Lessons at school are different at university - don’t judge a subject on the curriculum. Schools often have to simplify the subject, and in the process of doing that, unfortunately there is the danger that the more interesting parts get left out.

• Get as much experience as you can, even if you don’t know what you want to do when you are older, you may meet someone who will plant a career seed in your head.



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