Marianne Bergeron: Finding my path
After discovering her love for Classics, Marianne pursued her academic interests and completed her PhD at Reading. Now she is achieving her career goals and works in Oxford's Ashmolean Museum.
"I was doing a Theatre degree in Canada, when I took an "Introduction to classical archaeology" module in my third year of undergraduate studies. It hit me like a ton of bricks that this was what I was supposed to study. So as I was finishing one degree, I began a second in Classical Studies. I loved the Classical world so much, I chose to continue my studies to PhD level, and came to the University of Reading for my PhD due to the strong reputation of their Classics Department."
Academic and personal support
Marianne appreciated the support she received during and after her PhD studies:
"I received excellent support from the academics in the Classics Department at Reading. The first two weeks of my studies consisted of seminars and lectures for Doctoral students to help us make the most of our experience at Reading. I attended a seminar on how to overcome anxiety when giving presentations and I also made use of computer workshops. When needed, the Classics Department also helped cover my costs for attending conferences."
"My lecturers were also incredibly supportive and understanding of personal matters - by the time I submitted my thesis I was six months pregnant. I was offered the opportunity to defer my submission - I refused, but I appreciated the offer and it was good to know the flexibility was there if I needed it."
"The supportive nature of the Department doesn't only extend to the period during which I was a student, but afterwards as well. After the completion of my PhD I had a job interview at the British Museum: my thesis supervisor, the head of Humanities and another lecturer took time out of their busy schedules to help me prepare for this and give me a mock interview."
The varied opportunities available at Reading allowed Marianne to enhance her skillset:
"My PhD studies at Reading were flexible enough to allow me to get involved in other projects at the same time as my own research, and the opportunities offered to me as a student were tremendously helpful."
"I truly enjoyed working in the University's Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology, where I ran handling sessions, conducted gallery tours and researched the Cypriote pottery collection for publication. I also appreciated the chance to give lectures to undergraduate students, as well as create my own third year module based on my PhD thesis."
Marianne's time at Reading enabled her to pursue her dream career:
"I initially wanted to work either as a lecturer or a museum curator, and am happy to have achieved my goals in part - I currently work at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, as the Butler & Levett Curator of Classical Greece. My primary role is to catalogue the Attic black- and red-figure vases in the Ashmolean's collection, as part of the online catalogue of collections the museum is working to produce. The Ashmolean Museum's vase collection was instrumental in John Davidson Beazley's seminal volumes entitled Attic Black-Figure Vase-Painters and Attic Red-Figure Vase-Painters, and so it is incredibly important that these vases be accessible to those wishing to study them."
"I also have several other responsibilities which include supervising the study rooms, answering enquiries from the public and the academic community, gallery tours and lectures to name but a few. I also do courier trips - I have accompanied objects to the US and Germany for exhibitions in museums in Princeton, Toledo and Berlin."
"I absolutely love my job. I get to do a lot of practical work with the objects, as well as more academic work by writing articles and presenting papers at conferences."
"I can categorically say that had I not had the experience of working at the University's Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology while I was doing my PhD, there is no way I would have ever had the opportunity to work at the British Museum and now here at the Ashmolean Museum."
"I really enjoyed my time at Reading. I look back on that period of my life quite fondly and coming to the University of Reading is a decision I have never regretted."