Our talented women
A 2013 research study showed that “Women are less likely than men to be associated with leadership, and the awareness of this stereotype may undermine women's performance in leadership tasks. One way to circumvent this stereotype threat is to expose women to highly successful female role models.”
We have lots of talented individuals at Exeter, both male and female. Seeing someone achieve what you aspire to can help you achieve your own goals and ambitions. Here is a selection of inspiring individuals at different stages and levels of their careers. We are always looking to add to this list so please get in touch if there is an inspirational woman you would like to see featured.
Exeter alumna, Law 1998
Soon after graduating in Law in 1998, Exeter alumna Sarah Dusek packed up her bags and headed to Zimbabwe. Fuelled by a desire to do some good in the world, she settled into aid work supporting development, healthcare and education within the community. It was here that Sarah fell in love with the outdoors, the wide open spaces and the bush experience. Fast-forward a few years and Sarah settled in Montana on her husband’s family farm. Colloquially known as ‘Big Sky Country’, Montana’s big open space reminded Sarah of Africa and the bush, which sparked the initial idea of setting up a safari experience.
Sarah and her husband started by leasing land close to Yellowstone National Park, but have since grown the business to purchase land in a total of eight locations - Moab, Yellowstone, Glacier, Zion, Mount Rushmore, Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon and Tucson.
Sarah’s goal is to be the largest and most innovative glamping company in the world. By 2020, she wants her company to be a company that produces zero waste. As well as this Sarah wants her company to open up access to the outdoors while also conserving land and reducing their impact on nature. They have a minimal disturbance approach to development and strive to leave the land as untouched as possible.
Hon Deng 2013
Exeter alumna Alexandra Jellicoe is primarily a mum of three but moonlights as an environmental activist and writer. Before she had kids, she worked as an Environmental Health Engineer and carried out her Ph.D research for the World Health Organisation and other aid agencies with the goal of preventing loss of life from natural disasters, polluted waterways and, increasingly towards the end, climate change. She also has an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering from the University of Exeter.
Alex has worked all over the world with a broad range of fascinating people – from warrior tribes in the Sahara Desert to Government Ministers. Secretly, she found the warrior tribe more interesting. Alex has worked with many cultures where women are vulnerable and do not have many rights. Of course, being a woman of responsibility working in such countries had many challenges, which she largely overcame by being respectful of their culture and quietly persistent of her work goals. At times this was scary but Alex very much believes in the moto, ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’
Alex has since written a book, The Splitter, about the dilemma an aid worker feels when she interferes with the social structure of the indigenous Turkana tribe of Kenya, in order to provide them with water. Concerned about the current environmental crisis, Alex’s new project is to create a community of women, to garner increased political will to take action on climate change in the UK.
Exeter alumna, PhD Biological Sciences 2000
Alumna Bea Gare is a former British Diplomat, with a total of more than 25 years’ service. She joined as a teenager in the days when the Civil Service still hired secretaries, but after couple of years overseas in West Africa in her early 20s, she decided she wanted to do more than typing.
After transfer to the mainstream diplomatic service, she took a degree in Environmental Science at Reading University and then undertook a PhD in biological sciences at the University of Exeter. She rejoined the FCO after a short stint running her own Environmental Consultancy. Her work in the FCO during this part of her career concentrated on multilateral arms control and included five years in Vienna as Deputy Head of Mission responsible for politico-military negotiations at the British delegation to the OSCE.
Bea joined the Women's Equality Party in 2016. She now sits on the Steering Committee of the Party, is a part of the operational Executive Committee, is Party Treasurer and co-leader of the local Exeter branch. She was instrumental in ensuring that the WEP took a strong stand in favour of a People's Vote on the Brexit negotiation outcomes at their Party conference in 2018.
Exeter alumna, BA CH Philosophy & Sociology 2008
Exeter alumna Sarah Turner is an author, freelance writer and blogger living in Exeter with her husband and their three boys. After graduating in 2008, Sarah joined the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Fast Track scheme, working for Lombard (asset finance). After having her first baby in 2012, she left RBS and returned to the University of Exeter to work as an Alumni Officer. With a passion for writing, and after becoming frustrated with the lack of honest parenting commentary available online, Sarah started The Unmumsy Mum blog in 2013. She left her role at the University to pursue a writing career shortly after. She has since written two books, The Unmumsy Mum and The Unmumsy Mum Diary, both of which are Sunday Times bestsellers. The Unmumsy Mum was voted number four in Amazon’s Top 10 books of 2016 (as voted by Amazon customers) and was also shortlisted for Book of the Year (non-fiction, lifestyle) at the 2017 British Book Awards. Her third book will be published in autumn 2019.
Emily Duncan, is a Postdoctoral Researcher with our Centre for Ecology and Conservation, whose PhD investigated the impact of plastic pollution on marine turtles. Last year Emily was lucky enough to get the opportunity to sail across the Pacific Ocean as a lead scientist on leg one of eXXpedition 2018. This was an all women crew sailing thorough the North Pacific Gyre to collect data and raise awareness of marine plastic pollution.
Emily is both inspired by the marine environment and all the amazing life with it, however now through her work and work of others it is now apparent of the impact we as humans are having on this incredible environment, and her work aim’s to contribute to understanding and resolving this.
After securing her first teaching job, Jocelyn was delighted to work for an inspirational headmaster, who didn’t view gender or age as a barrier to promotion, and she was fortunate to hold senior posts at a very early stage in her career. Following a move to a secondary school in Devon, part of Jocelyn’s was responsibility for trainee teachers, and her enjoyment of this led Jos to her current post as Partnership Director in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Exeter.
In 2018, Jocelyn was awarded the ‘David Allen Hero/ine of the Year’ award for her outstanding work, though Jocelyn says that neither the award nor the Ofsted Outstanding grade the University achieved are what motivates her. The thing that motivates and gives Jocelyn most satisfaction is knowing that there are people, (pupils, trainees, colleagues) for whom something that she said or did made a positive difference. Jocelyn’s advice for young women starting out in their career is to not allow anything or anyone to define your career successes, rather be very good at what you do and enjoy it.
Pensions & Reward Advisor
Alison Rose left school at 18 with no idea of what she wanted as a career, she dabbled a bit in life insurance for a few years but got a bit bored, so looked for a new challenge, which turned out to be with a pension’s administration company. Some thirty five years later, Ali is still working in the pensions sector. Ali’s role at the University of Exeter as a Pensions and Reward Advisor, means she gets to talk to a lot interesting and diverse people which she finds very rewarding.
Ali says that she learned early on in her working life that taking exams was not something she was good at, so for her working hard and learning as much as possible from others and getting hands on experience, was the best way to gain the knowledge and technical expertise that she needs for her role. It is never too late to learn something new or take on a different challenge, as Ali found out in September 2018 when she was elected the Professional Services representative on the University of Exeter’s Council.
For a women starting out today, Ali believes that you should do what is right for you, accept that there will be changes in your life, some of which you will embrace and some will be a challenge. She also says to try and love what you do and always make sure you have time for yourself.
PGR Support Officer (Humanities)
After finishing her education, Cathryn Baker wasn’t sure what to do and did not feel ready to settle into a career. For a few years she worked in France for Euro Camp. Whilst working in France she realised that she enjoyed working with and helping people of all ages, in particular young people. She then decided to train to become a Careers Consultant and went to UWE to study the PGDCG qualification. This work gave her opportunities to work with both adults and young people, in a variety of settings. She was also an assessor for the Princes Trust, awarding young people financial awards to access training and equipment.
After being made redundant Cathryn came to work for the University, starting in the Admissions Team and then moving quite quickly to join the College of Humanities, and now the Doctoral College where she works with PGR students.
Whilst as a careers consultant Cathryn met a 6th form college tutor who wanted to set up a vocational provision for young people who had been permanently excluded from school and has a number of personal issues. Working together they set up and delivered a course which focused on developing basic skills and life skills. Cathryn says the work was exceptionally challenging, but to see them progress into mainstream college courses and achieve was fantastic. Last year, Cathryn received the Professional Services Recognition Award for rigour. Her nomination was submitted by students in the College, and made her like her work was having a positive impact.
Cathryn’s advice for young women starting out is not to be afraid if you do not know what you want to do as a career, take the time to discover the opportunities that are out there because there will be many that you do not know about.
Final year Law student
Ebun is a final year student studying Law. She loves reading, engaging in conversations about politics and learning about different cultures. She’s the General Secretary of the newly formed Exeter BAME Law initiative aimed at striving for equal opportunities and workplace inclusivity for all students of different backgrounds. Ebun is also the Vice President of Women and Law and seeks to ensure that those who fall into the intersectional groups feel included; women and BAME like herself. She aims to equip fellow BAME/Female students build confidence to access to a range of career avenues to do with Law, regardless of the degree discipline. She is passionate about changing the current landscape of the university and making the community more diverse.
Third year Politics, Philosophy and Economics student
Tabitha is a third year Politics, Philosophy and Economics student. Alongside her degree she is an activist and volunteer with feminist organisations such as No More Taboo and Devon Rape Crisis. She regularly attends and organises events, campaigns and protests in the Exeter area in order to raise awareness of oppression and discrimination. Her activism is focused on human rights from an intersectional feminist perspective. Recently she campaigned for Amnesty International’s Fast Fashion and Pro-Choice protests. Tabitha also led Reclaim the Night Exeter and marched with the Dead Women Walking Devon in 2018. This is the kind of work she wishes to pursue in her future academia and career
Third year History student
Meg Bailey is a third year History student at the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus. She is a keen Pole Vaulter, having vaulted for around 9 years. She achieved a UK national medal in 2012 and continues to regularly compete for her county and university. She has placed in the top 10 in BUCS for the last two years running and kicked 2019 off with a personal best of 3.81m, which qualified her for the British Indoor Championships.
She is currently ranked 12th in the UK for all ages and 4th for u23s.
Meg is the President of FXU Athletics Club, and was recently awarded the title of FXU Sports Person of the Year in 2018.
Second year International Relations student
Filipa is a second year International Relations student from Portugal. During her time at the University of Exeter, she has served as a Global Chums senior mentor, student representative on the Politics SSLC and project leader for three ESV volunteering initiatives, as well as volunteering for Oxfam. Her Gender Inequality group project for Grand Challenges 2018, Recognise Red, aimed to provide potential victims and perpetrators of sexual harassment with the necessary tools to recognise and address these issues. Following the project's engagement with students, academics, charities and local businesses, Recognise Red is now an ongoing student-led campaign of the Student Guild, for which Filipa is co-Campaign Manager. Filipa hopes to undertake research on gender inequality next year, followed by a masters in gender and conflict.