Both women spoke to their audience of alumni, parents and pupils about building careers in History and Design, crediting Francis Holland’s teachers and all-girl environment for giving them the confidence to take their passions in a variety of directions.
Alexis, who spoke from her home in Washington DC, left Francis Holland with Chemistry, History and French A level, to study History at Princeton University before completing her PhD in History at Harvard. Rather than pursue a career in Academia, she took the research, writing, and analytical skills she learned as an historian into exciting roles on the 9/11 Commission, at the US State Department, and at the World Bank. She is now the Lead Curator at the International Spy Museum, using a variety of different media to develop exhibits about intelligence. Alexis spoke about the importance of networking and keeping yourself open to new opportunities. She noted that her passion for history was sparked by her wonderful FHS teachers, Ms. Blyth and Mrs. St. Johnston.
Upon completing her A levels in Maths, Physics and Art, Tamsin went on to study Theatre Design at University of Nottingham Trent and later completed an MA in Typography and Book Design at the University of Reading. Tamsin explained how Art as visual communication has been the focus of her career. She joked that physics was vital in ensuring her theatre sets didn’t 'fall down’ and maths ‘underpins all design projects’ from the grid to the end product. Her career has seen her work in film and theatre, Olympic Ceremonies and festivals, to diverse visual solutions at Tamsin Ogilvie Design. Tamsin credits her A-Level teachers, Mrs Foreman and Miss Jeffries for her confidence in building a career in a subject she loves.
Alexis and Tamsin, long term friends, discussed their years at FHS, the experiences that shaped their career destinations, and their mutual love of storytelling through writing history or the visual arts. Asking each other questions allowed for a relaxed and convivial conversation before taking questions from their audience.
Our grateful thanks to Tamsin and Alexis for their impassioned and inspirational talk.
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