Sara Preston - BSc Forensic Anthropology

I came to Dundee in 2007 to study BSc Forensic Anthropology at the Centre for Anatomy & Human Identification. From the outset, I was in awe of the community city, university campus-culture, teaching excellence and the educational ethos that welcomed me. I really thrived at the start of my studies; engrossed in life sciences and discovering the intricacy of the anatomy and physiology of the human body. I was awarded the opportunity to undertake an IAESTE British Council internship within the University of Belgrade Serbia, working on human identification projects and participated in residential research excavations in England during the summer months. I will always feel hugely privileged by the extensive resources and practical learning on offer to me, throughout my studies.

Towards the end of my degree, I experienced personal challenges and saw my confidence falter, in spite of my previously strong academic record. As such, my ultimate university path was far from linear - speckled with stops and starts, peaks and more often troughs. One thing was a constant through this - the support I was afforded. I found that my lecturers and the student executive were invested in me as a person beyond the grades I achieved and were willing to help me however possible, to make it through and eventually graduate.

After graduation, I took on a fulltime post at Dundee Science Centre in science communication and public engagement. I developed resources and delivered education programmes aimed to inspire and empower young learners to invest in science subjects.

I then moved into public health communication, and was appointed Young People’s Participation Officer [Scotland] for Beat, the UK’s leading eating disorders charity. In my role I co-ordinate the charity’s activity, services and youth projects in Scotland. I train, mentor and support Young Ambassadors to engage in positive awareness activities with schools, universities and NHS services, aimed towards building their confidence and sharing their experiences to challenge stigma, educate and inform, and provide a message of hope that recovery is possible.

The challenges I experienced at university pushed me to find my footing and eventually forge my path. Dundee gave me the supportive platform to fall down, get up, move on, move forward – and eventually question, find and pursue my goals. This journey differed greatly from what I initially envisioned when I first set foot on campus. I did not achieve the academic accolades I so stringently set for myself at the outset of university, but what I left with far surpassed any self-prescribed, educational expectations – I gained invaluable lessons for life.