Public Relations Officer Victoria Dando talks radio and rowing...
Victoria (left) celebrates a win with her crew
I came to Cardiff University in 1997 and threw myself into life as an undergraduate in the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies.
Having decided that the BA Journalism, Film and Broadcasting was the degree I wanted, no other courses compared. I was sure that it would be the springboard to a career in the media, even perhaps, Hollywood or Fleet Street.
After three years of being taught by influential and inspirational people, amongst them the late Geoff Mungham, I graduated and started work at BBC Wales as a researcher.
My first 'real job' did not disappoint. I loved the unpredictability of the working day, the live shoots, researching weird and wonderful topics and seeing my name in the credits of a television programme.
It was at BBC that I was first introduced to the sport of rowing, which was to develop, in time, into an obsession. In aid of the first ever Sports Relief in 2002, a 'BBC Wales Regatta' was held at Llandaff Rowing Club and I was part of a female crew, the X-Ray Oars (named after the BBC programme X-Ray that we were all working on at the time).
Victoria and her crew racing
After 4 weeks of training, race day arrived. We had matching T-shirts (how could we lose with matching T-shirts?!) and enough energy bars to sink the boat! The 500 metre races passed in a blur, a haze of lactic acid and determination, and soon enough we were in the final.
Although we narrowly lost that race, rowing had made its mark. I joined Llandaff Rowing Club and have competed in regattas across the country, including Women's Henley. It's become a way of life, and almost everything has to fit around training.
As my career developed I took a job as a radio producer for an Independent production company - Boomerang, in Cardiff. It was fabulously busy, incredibly varied, but most of all great fun. I even managed to combine programme making with rowing, when Radio 4 commissioned one of my programme ideas.
The Oxford Mutiny told the story of the 1987 Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race and was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on the morning of the 2007 Boat Race, the 20th anniversary of the 'mutiny' when the Oxford crew disbanded and had to be rebuilt weeks before the race.
This was the last programme I made before deciding to swap broadcasting for public relations. I came back to Cardiff University in 2007, this time as a Public Relations Officer. My undergraduate years at Cardiff set some fantastic foundations for me to develop my career, and I'm happy to be here in the University's 125th anniversary year to join in the celebrations!