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Women in Science

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Video clip: Eleanor has drawn on the encouragement of her mentors throughout her career.

So did anyone - once you were at university and you were doing your course, did you get any input into your career at that stage?

My personal tutor was a lovely, lovely man. He was very helpful in sort of saying, "Do think about the possibilities open to you." UCL was particularly good at encouraging people to do industrial internships, so I always spent the summers working for various different companies and getting a feel for what being a professional engineer would involve. I looked at being an industrial designer, and actually unfortunately it was the work experience that put me off [laughing].

But my tutor asked "Have you considered an academic career?" To which my response was, "No, of course not, dreadful idea." [Laughing]. I didn't want to do a PHD, it looked awful and then I got hooked.

And you mentioned your PhD supervisor being a really good mentor.

Yes.

Have you had any other mentors in your career?

I think… I've had enormous support from a lot of senior people so it would be a very long list of people who have been great. And I think, I mean another person who's been amazing, is in trying to translate some of the stuff we're doing into actual clinical use. It's a professor at Cambridge who's been enormously successful in setting up spin off companies, and he's been advising us on getting some of our stuff through to clinical use. And he's been a fantastic mentor. And it, it's having someone who's been there, done that, seen all the terrible things that can go wrong, and can just reassure you 'don't worry, yes it's awful, but it's completely normal and you will get through it'.

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