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News > Alumni News > Budding forensic anthropologist celebrates double award success

Budding forensic anthropologist celebrates double award success

FORMER pupil Elspeth Cunningham was presented with two awards in recognition of her hard work in the field of forensic anthropology.
17 Mar 2022
Written by Adam Clark
United Kingdom
Alumni News
Elspeth Cunningham (Class of 2017)
Elspeth Cunningham (Class of 2017)

FORMER pupil Elspeth Cunningham was presented with two awards in recognition of her hard work in the field of forensic anthropology.

The 22-year-old from Newcastle hopes to forge a career as a forensic anthropologist - a specialist sub-field in the study and analysis of human remains to help solve criminal cases - having completed her studies at university.

She gained a BSc in Anthropology at Durham University before completing a MSc in Forensic Anthropology at the University of Dundee. There she was named ‘Best Student in Forensic Anthropology’ having achieved the highest overall marks on the course, and was awarded the Scheuer Medal for her work on developmental juvenile osteology.

Elspeth said: “I was beyond thrilled, if not a little surprised, to have received the two awards! It felt extremely validating, and proved to me that I’m good at what I do and my hard work has paid off.”

Elspeth, who joined Dame Allan’s Junior School in 2007 and completed her A Levels in 2017 achieving grades A, A, B in Maths, Economics and English Literature, is fascinated by the forensic study of remains to help solve crime.

She said: “Forensic anthropology is absolutely fascinating. It allows us to build a biological profile from the skeletal remains of a deceased individual to determine their biological sex, age, stature, and ethnicity. It also enables us to identify potential indicators of death, such as gunshot wounds or knife marks, although our job is not to determine the cause of death.”

Elspeth currently works as a vaccinator and administrative assistant for the Covid-19 vaccination programme. She said: “I’m gaining experience and skills to support my dream to be a forensic anthropologist. I love the idea that my work will one day allow me to give someone their identity back and return them to a loved one, to provide closure.

Elspeth and her three older brothers all attended Dame Allan’s Schools. She was heavily involved in music throughout her school years and was made Head of Prefects in Year 13.

Looking back, Elspeth said: “Dame Allan’s had such a great family-feel to it; it’s small enough to be close-knit and friendly but not so small that it felt claustrophobic.”

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