Gwen Perry graduated from the University of Reading in 2019, after completing the BSc Mathematics with Placement Year degree. Her educational pursuits have since seen her return to the University, this time in a teaching capacity to help train the next generation of mathematicians.
“After completing my BSc I became a pre-doctoral fellow at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) working on clinical trial methodology. My fellowship is taking place at the University of Reading, under the supervision of Professor Sue Todd.
“I’ve had the fortunate experience of having both studied and worked in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Reading! As a student, the Department provided me with plenty of space for growth, the knowledge I needed to apply myself, and the curiosity and confidence to go above and beyond.
“As an employee, it’s been great seeing how the Department is run and how it’s adapted in the face of COVID-19. Working with the teaching and administrative staff is a pleasure. I’ve helped out in tutorials for the undergraduate Linear Models module and enjoy answering questions and engaging with students on my experience after finishing at Reading.”
As well as her pre-doctoral fellowship, Gwen is studying an MSc in Medical Statistics at University College London.
Helping you to shine
Students studying mathematics at Reading are supported to be the best they can be by approachable academic staff. Academics are engaged with students and are on hand to help tackle any challenges they may encounter while shaping their emerging interests and ambitions.
“The first thing I noticed as a student was how open and welcoming the Department is. As a student with a disability, I felt I was able to receive the support I needed not just from central campus but from the Department as well. So don’t be afraid of being your authentic self.
“You can expect to be challenged intellectually, which became so helpful later on. I also made use of the careers services – who helped to make my CV stand out, as well as helping me acquire work experience and an industry placement.”
Thames Water placement
After her second year of study, Gwen joined Thames Water on a placement year. Gwen was given the chance to work with new statistical programmes, and the ability to investigate, analyse and resolve issues affecting the business using research and data processing methods.
Prior to starting the placement Gwen connected with other placement students to discuss a range of issues which helped her to settle in.
“I've used knowledge from the statistics side of my studies, but a lot of the work that I've done at Thames Water has been taught on the job. It has definitely required an analytical and inquisitive mind, with a nice mix of maths and business.
“Being autistic, it's difficult for me to deal with things that other people may find 'displeasing' or 'annoying', but for me they can be really daunting, e.g. making small talk at lunch, deciding what my day will look like, what to do if it doesn't go according to plan etc.
"However, my experience here on placement has made me stronger, and I have definitely adapted to ways of dealing with issues I never dealt with before, simply because I was made to do that presentation and made to work in a team, making it more and more normal for me.”
Upon completion of her fellowship and MSc, Gwen has secured a job at Veramed, a Contract Research Organisation (CRO), as a graduate statistician.
“I’m really excited for what the future holds for me. My experience at Reading has made me feel that hard work really does pay off, and in those few years that really rings true. I had little confidence before coming to Reading, but now I feel much more settled and sure of myself.
"I’m really looking forward to seeing what new skills I pick up at Veramed. I know I’ve still got so much to learn and space to grow, even beyond my MSc and fellowship. The growing and learning never really stops, it’s just a new style, something to embrace and look forward to!”