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News > Alumni Interviews > Q&A Interview with Siobhan Dennis (1996-2001)

Q&A Interview with Siobhan Dennis (1996-2001)

A piano player with a neuroscience background and a black belt...

Siobhan Dennis recently signed up to the Campden School Community Network and shares with us her career and memories of School.

When did you attend CCS? 

From 1996-2001

What is your career now and how did you get there? 

I am currently a Business Partnerships Manager for Oxford Universities Medial Sciences Division. How did I get here? In short, lots of traditional education and research roles before side stepping into something a little more creative!  After my A levels I studied Biology at Bath University and then went onto do a PhD in Neuroscience at Bristol. I continued in research doing a post doctorate for a pharmaceutical company, working as a lab-based neuroscientist and then after five years moved out of research into alliance management and business development. Initially I worked for GE Healthcare to manage academic collaborations in clinical imaging across Europe before working on Digital Healthcare project development. I moved to Oxford University four years ago where I utilise the sum of my experiences to manage multimillion strategic partnerships with industry partners.

What's the best thing about your job, and what's the worst?  

It’s creative, every day is different and there is no right way to do the job. Best of all, I feel I utilise all my education and accumulated skills in a non-traditional, but satisfying role. I am also now at a stage in my career where I don’t feel locked in to one role or path. The worst bit is the lack of authority for decision making – you can spend weeks coercing, negotiating and chasing people, but no one has authority to say yes... or no. You have to enjoy the challenge, or else nothing happens. Also, much of the outcome of your work is out of your control, so you have to be ok that things might not go your way.

What would you say to any CCS students/alumni interested in your job? 

Speak to me! I’m aware my role is vague, but I have dipped my toe into many things and there are so many more roles out there than you think possible. If I can help provide ideas or answer questions I’m always happy to be contacted. PS the computer told me at school my ideal job was a prison guard...

What was your favourite subject at school?

Tough one, I wasn’t keen on PE, RE, English or Language (hello Google!) I was torn between creativity of subjects like music and the sciences. I concluded I could enjoy music and that making it into my career would only ruin the enjoyment. Funnily enough I have since become a Piano teacher and also play the cello - my early retirement plans include teaching music, so the love for music is still there. I also satisfy my creative needs by being an extra in TV and Film and perhaps now regret not taking Drama.

Do you have any memories of your time at CCS, any favourite teachers? 

I remember my Tutor and Art teacher, Mr Randal, he was a friendly face, despite my lack of artistic skill! I would like to thank one of my Biology teachers, who was a stand in/replacement for my final year GSCE Biology. If he hadn’t been as good I may never have picked A level Biology – it’s a real shame I can’t remember his name. I remember the torture of cross country, I wasn’t in the slightest bit sporty, but have since managed a black belt in Aikido and do horseback archery, both of which would give PE teachers a heart attack back in the 90’s.

The thing that makes me feel the oldest is remembering the “new” IT block going up. It was extravagant that there was suddenly more than one PC in a building, but I went on to study computer programming at college and that was when the screens were black and the text white and programming pong was the only thing worth doing...

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