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NCH Alumni Spotlight: Tessa Darbyshire

NCH London | February 18, 2021

We are delighted to introduce a new feature on our blog – the NCH Alumni Spotlight!

In this series, we will be sitting down (virtually) with NCH Alumni to find out more about their career paths after studying at NCH.

We’re pleased to sit down with our first featured Alum, Scientific Editor, Tessa Darbyshire.

What is your name and current role?

Tess Darbyshire, Scientific Editor

Where do you work?

Patterns, Cell Press

How would you explain your role?

I am a Scientific Editor which requires communicating with cross-domain and cross-sector communities who fall under the broad umbrella of data scientists, including academics, artists, government agents and corporate experts, to solicit papers and build the audience for our publication. I attend international conferences to network with those working on technically excellent projects, recruit advisory board members and handle research submissions, with a specialist interest in work on fairness, accountability, transparency and ethics. The publication schedule requires securing reviewers and ensuring the peer review and paper publication process are completed in a timely fashion.

What course did you study at NCH and why did you choose this course?

Philosophy. Philosophy is an excellent degree for anyone who doesn’t have a grand life plan.

How would you describe your overall NCH experience?

It was something of a whirlwind! The first year epistemology exam question was ‘how, if at all, do you know what you believe?’ and it only got increasingly surreal from that point. To all those tackling the madness of fragmental pre-socratic philosophy, I empathise sincerely. The people I’m still in touch with haven’t gotten any more grounded since we were students either, living everywhere from canal boats to castles.

Tell us about your career journey after NCH.

I began my career in market research and then specialised in data-driven strategy, acting as the lead strategic consultant on aspects of projects that specifically focussed on building trustworthy relationships. I produced creative briefs and the pitch stage justification for a strategic approach on projects for a range of cross-sector clients, including disease awareness campaigns, app launches, website evolutions, narrative developments and content creation. The development of strategic approaches required quantitative and qualitative research, analysis of customer data and behaviours, desk research and insight generation to underpin campaign direction. Setting the direction required designing and delivering workshop series for multi-stakeholder groups which enabled us to facilitate open communication, negotiate effectively and reach majority consensus. Successfully delivering and measuring a strategic approach over time required working collaboratively with internal and external teams to ensure approval and realisation of the overall vision.

How has your time at NCH contributed to your career/current role?

I met my first employer at a meet and greet. NCH gave me the self-confidence, resilience and persistence to build strong and stable professional networks. A scientific editor is nothing if not a networker so for that I owe the college a debt of gratitude.

If you had one piece of advice for a prospective NCH student, what would it be?

Use the examiners’ guides to structure your revision. I only worked this out in third year and the lecturers relished telling me they told me so.

For more information about our alumni destinations or to submit yourself for our NCH Alumni Spotlight feature, contact our Director of Careers – Vaibhav Rustagi: vaibhav.rustagi@nchlondon.ac.uk