A day in the life: Ourania Ventista

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It’s been a while since we posted anything in this series, but with the team here growing at pace, it’s now time to introduce you to our new Head of Assessment, Ourania!

What’s your name?

Ourania Maria Ventista

Where are you from?

Greece. I usually do not specify the place, when I reply to this question. When I give a generic answer, everyone thinks I come from an idyllic island. However, I come from the mainland. I am from the northern part of the country and the last three years I have been living in the north of England, in Durham.

What do you do?

I am the Head of Assessment at Evidence Based Education. I am also a Doctoral Researcher at the School of Education at Durham University. This year, I am mentoring undergraduate students at Josephine Butler College, as well as being the postgraduate Academic Activities officer.

How did you get into this job?

Typical process; I saw a post advertised and I applied! I knew this role was right for me because I wanted to have a positive impact on schooling and education. This job gives me the opportunity to link assessment theory with school practice. I always wanted to work on educational assessment and its improvement – one of the main reasons why I came to Great Britain to do an MSc in Educational Assessment.

How are you involved with Evidence Based Education?

I am currently designing the online course for the Assessment Academy. This course will provide a focus on educational assessment, but it will also target content which can be applicable in schools.

What motivates you when things get tough?

The real question is who? My three younger siblings!

How would your colleagues describe you?

You can find out by asking them!

When you’re not working, how do you switch off?

I like going to the theatre and listening to music.

If you could change one thing in your career, what would it be? 

I am happy with my choices so far.


Quick-fire round:

Up with the larks, or burning the midnight oil?

I am not a morning person!

Relaxing beach break or activity holiday?

Beach of course! I love the sea and the sun.

Tea or coffee?

Coffee, usually cappuccino. I drink too many cups of coffee per day! [Ed.: You’ve come to work in the right place, then!]

City or country?


Board game or movie?

Board games! I have always been a fan of board games. However, I developed my knowledge when I was studying for my undergraduate degree. I used to work in a coffee shop with board games when I was a student in Greece. My role was to explain the board games to the customers. I had to memorise the instructions of more than 100 board games for this role! What is a better way of learning them by actual playing the games?!

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?

‘Simple man’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

And finally, tell us one interesting fact about yourself.

I made my first attempt to conduct research when I was only 14. With two friends of mine (Marianna and Vaso) we decided to conduct a school survey about smoking as a part of a health team. It was a big success! We were asked to present the results at a school event and later at an event with students from several schools in a neighbour city. That was the first time I presented my work in front of a large audience (around 300 students and teachers).

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