UCL Faculty of Life Sciences


Danielle Barrett, Human Sciences BSc

Danielle studied Human Sciences BSc at UCL, graduating in 2011. She is now a dentist, working as a dental core trainee at Barts Health Trust in London.

Danielle Barrett
What inspired you to study at UCL?

When I first visited UCL I knew I wanted to study here. It had a very friendly vibe and although being in the centre of London it had a campus-feel to it. The reputation of the university, being well-rounded in terms of academics, teaching and research but also in terms of social events and extracurricular activities, I instantly knew it would be the perfect fit! I even applied to two courses to ensure I ended up at UCL - putting them as my first (Human Sciences) and second (Anthropology) choices on my UCAS application!

What attracted you to the Faculty of Life Sciences?

The Faculty of Life Sciences has great facilities, amazing lecturers, and a global reputation. The Faculty is currently ranked number one in England and number ten in the World - which speaks volumes! The opportunity to be surrounded by these great minds, to learn from them and develop myself were major pull factors for me.

What did you enjoy most about studying in London?

London is a vibrant city, there is always something going on - so being in the centre of London at UCL means you get to experience it all! There is so much culture to experience and being a student you can get this heavily discounted. As well as nightlife to suit all tastes! I moved back from the Netherlands to the UK for my degree and I loved London so much during university that it is now my home.

What is your favourite memory of UCL?

Many amazing memories from UCL including being in International Halls where I met many of my closest friends who are still in my life today (there's at least 15+ of us who meet up regularly and keep in touch). As well as this, being a member of the UCL Women's Basketball First Team; playing in many tournaments (and winning one or two), going abroad on tour and spending many sports nights together socialising (obviously at the Roxy)....and being a member of the ULU Gymnastic team and performing as cheerleaders at the derby rugby match between UCL and KCL.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students?

Enjoy being at UCL whilst you're there as time will fly by! 

What is your current job title and company name?

I am currently a dentist working as a dental core trainee at Barts Health Trust in London. 

Please provide a brief summary of your core duties and the skills you use

My role entails working in dental public health supporting consultants on live projects, as well as clinician dental duties at The Royal London Dental Hospital and in Community working in paediatrics, restorative, oral surgery and special care. My role is extremely varied being both clinical and non-clinical. I work with healthcare professionals across numerous backgrounds as well as NHS commissioners in my public health role. I also work with patients regularly on many different clinics including oncology clinics where I help patients become dentally fit before they undergo oncology treatment for head and neck cancers. I am also currently being trained in sedation techniques to treat anxious patients in community.

I use a variety of skills that I have developed since building these at UCL including: communication, collaboration, independence, creativity, critical thinking, resilience, confidence, ability to approach patients and projects holistically, and strength in both numeracy and scientific literacy.

Briefly describe your journey, from graduating to where you are now

My journey since graduation has been a very non-traditional route - after graduating from UCL I went into marketing and advertising working my way up from intern to Account Manager. I worked mainly in the film industry for clients including Universal Pictures, DreamWorks, 20th Century Fox, BBC, Lionsgate and ODEON. I worked on the launch of many films including Xmen Days of Futures Past, The Wolverine, The Life of Pi, The Other Woman and Rio 2.

Whilst working at marketing agencies, I decided to volunteer at the Royal London Hospital as I was contemplating changing careers; not only was I missing working in science, I wanted something that felt more fulfilling where I would be making a meaningful difference to people's lives. I volunteered as a way-finder and then moved into the A&E department providing a friendly face to those in A&E and taking worried relatives through to Resus. 

I found my volunteering experience extremely rewarding and decided to leave marketing and gain a full year of working in a hospital role. I worked as a Radiographic Assistant at Homerton University Hospital as an integral member of the Radiology department across areas including Mammography, CT, X-Ray, Fluoroscopy, MRI and Ultrasound. Working in this role gave me a clear insight into the medical world and I became passionate about working in healthcare.

I decided to go back to university to study Graduate-Entry Dentistry. Having already completed BSc Human Sciences I was able to enter the graduate-entry route meaning I could complete dentistry within 4 years rather than 5 years.

Once I finished my dental education I gained a position at my first-choice scheme in South East London where I worked as a Dental Foundation Dentist for a year. I am now working as a Dental Core Trainee after gaining my first-choice position at Barts Health Trust.

How do you think UCL has helped you in your career to date?

Studying BSc Human Sciences made me an independent and confident thinker. It enabled me to build the skillset I needed to work in marketing and advertising - presenting, communicating, analytical thinking, deciphering information and enabled me to look at the broader picture.

My love of science has been hugely influential to the change in my career to become a dentist - studying at UCL strengthened this love but also gave me a great foundation in scientific knowledge which helped lead me to graduate with honours in Bachelor of Dental Surgery. When applying to study Dentistry the Life Sciences Faculty supported my application by providing a reference and my degree was well recognised due to the reputation of UCL and the course. 

Looking holistically has been key to my clinical practice and the modules I studied at UCL have given me a great basis for my work in dental public health at present.