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Communications and Public Engagement Manager, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences

Jacqueline Pumphrey smilingI studied English at St Andrews University in Scotland, with a sprinkling of Latin and Russian thrown in. So how did I end up working in science public engagement? It was a circuitous route via publishing and charity work.

Because I come from a family of teachers I have always liked the idea of imparting knowledge and understanding. I decided I wanted to do this by going into publishing, so after my undergraduate degree I did a postgraduate diploma in publishing at Oxford Brookes University. There followed a couple of years at Blackwell Publishing and Oxford University Press, where I built up editing and project management skills. A stint volunteering for a children’s charity overseas and then some time working as an editor at Oxfam broadened my horizons and made me think more outside the box.

I moved into the field of communications and PR when I took at job at Balliol College, Oxford, from where I went on to gain a wide variety of experience in different University departments. I have been in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences for over five years. Here I’m responsible for communicating what we do to a wide variety of audiences ranging from patients to schoolchildren. It’s a very varied and stimulating role, and allows me to support a range of brilliant researchers in their public engagement activities. I never thought I’d end up working in a hospital, but it’s a real privilege to be part of a group of people striving to push the boundaries of understanding about the brain, in order to be able to treat it when it goes wrong.