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Tylorstown teen set to follow her heart to pursue a dream career in cardiology

Abigail Stinton and mother Amanda Stinton

An aspiring cardiac physiologist from Tylorstown is a step closer to her dream career after securing the grades to begin a degree in cardiac physiology at Leeds University.

Abigail Stinton, aged 18, achieved A levels in biology (A), chemistry (B) and maths (C) as well an A in the Welsh Baccalaureate and will now enrol on a three-year Bachelor of Science degree.

Someone who always loved biology and anatomy, the Coleg y Cymoedd learner thought her only option would be to pursue a lengthy medical degree and potentially become a surgeon.

However she credits her detour into the field of cardiology to a switched-on careers advisor who alerted her to an equally interesting, but less intensive, medical career option.

Having been made aware of this three-year route into cardiology, Abigail shifted her focus and became hooked on the idea of becoming a medical professional responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with heart conditions.

She sought out the specific UK universities offering this discipline and settled on Leeds, where she will take up a place in a few weeks’ time.

Abigail Stinton

She explained: “For as long as I can remember I’ve always loved biology and anatomy but I thought this meant my only option would be to pursue a five-year medical degree, and then perhaps begin the gruelling route to becoming a surgeon.

“However, I had concerns about the length and intensity of training for that career path and I wasn’t sure it was the right choice for me. It was only by chance really that I had a conversation with a careers advisor who opened my eyes to the possibility of a career in cardiology, taking a normal degree route directly into the field.

“I am beyond grateful to that advisor because, even now, no one really knows that cardiac physiology is a separate medical discipline that’s less intensive, but just as important and interesting.”

Like many teens receiving their A level results this year, Abigail completed the bulk of her studies during the pandemic, meaning few face-to-face classes.

In addition to her academic studies, she is also a talented musician who secured her Grade 8 piano during the pandemic – the preparation and lessons for which were also carried out on Zoom.

She continued: “The tutors at Coleg y Cymoedd were absolutely amazing and gave us the best resources possible. They went over and above to give us everything we needed at such a strange time. Getting my Grade 8 piano was also no easy task given the circumstances, but I think having to be self-disciplined was really good preparation for university, so there’s definitely a positive to take from it!”

Abigail is now looking forward to taking up her studies at Leeds, something she says she’s proud to have achieved from a small Welsh town.

She added: “I’ve always felt focused and confident in my abilities, but you don’t always hear about positive stories from towns like ours. My family as a whole is super supportive. I’m the youngest of four, with three very smart older brothers, so I’ve always looked up to them as well.”