The first ever professional female jockey to ride a winner at Ascot is now helping veterinarians deal with foot and mouth disease after swapping horse racing for a career in computing.
Jaki Houston-Campbell collected an MSc in Learning and Technology from Glyndŵr University yesterday (Thursday October 29), having just secured a new post working for the Royal Veterinary College.
Jaki, who enjoyed a 10-year racing career before retiring and going to work for the British Racing School (BRS), first returned to education in 2010, graduating with a Postgraduate Certificate in E-Learning at the Wrexham institution in 2013.
But she decided to carry on studying and moved on from the BRS after nine years to make best use of the skills she gained at Glyndŵr University.
Jaki’s new post, on a project funded by the European Commission for the Control of Foot and Mouth Disease (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), involves developing online training resources for veterinarians working to prevent and control foot and mouth disease.
The 48 year-old said: “If someone 10 years ago had of told me I would gain a Master’s Degree – I would never have believed them! I was very proud to walk across the stage on Thursday, but sad to know that the course has finished.
“I am very fortunate to have found such an exciting position and there is no doubt that my studies with Glyndŵr have enabled me to secure such a post.
“But it has been my tutors that have given me the support and importantly the confidence to study at this level. The way the course is run and topics covered are inspiring.”
Jaki also loves to paint – she won the Horse and Hound ‘Best Horseracing Picture’ award at Christie’s auction in London in 1999 – and moved into computing after looking for different career opportunities.
Having later discovered she was dyslexic, she mastered various systems and discovered a love of information technology (IT).
Dr Clive Buckley, Principal Lecturer for Computing and the Centre for Learning Teaching and Assessment, said: “We were delighted to see Jaki return to study with us. She has a remarkable story to tell and was an inspiration for everyone on the course.”