Author: Sara West

Sophie Pieters, Operations Officer, Institute of Global Health Innovation

“A degree is something I have always wanted, and I am so proud of myself for finally going for it in my thirties.” 

When I left high school, aged 18, it seemed that everyone around me had a clear vision of their careers and passions. I found myself with a lot of different interests but simply no real calling. I worked at a call centre, as a cleaner, a receptionist and a management assistant – all in the space of a few years. My wanderings were not confined to employment, and I decided to move from my home country of Belgium to London. Imperial was the first place I worked, and I was here for a few years in the role of executive assistant.

During the pandemic, I struggled with my mental health and felt like I was failing in life. When scrolling through LinkedIn and other social media, it seemed like everyone was doing incredible things or changing the world. I wished I had a special talent or a skill that could make a difference. Friends or colleagues would tell me I am organised and caring but I thought these talents to be boring and nothing special. When colleagues would ask me about my career journey, I always felt defensive and started with: “I only have a high school degree but here I am, working in London!”


Alessandra Luati, Provost’s Visiting Professor of Statistics, Department of Mathematics

“With no hesitation I decided to apply to the Provost’s Visiting Professor programme as I totally share the aims of the initiative”

I joined Imperial in November 2022, as a Provost’s Visiting Professor of Statistics in the Department of Mathematics, so I have been working at Imperial for about five months now and I am very happy to be here. I come from the University of Bologna in Italy, where I am Professor of Statistics. I have a Ph.D. in statistics awarded by the University of Bologna, though I mainly studied in Denmark at the University of Aarhus where I developed a thesis on statistical inference for finite dimensional quantum systems. I then got a fellowship in time series so my main research interests, since then, are in mathematical statistics, time series and recently nonlinear dynamic models.