Educated initially at Westbourne School for girls (1905-15) she then spent a year at Skerry’s College before entering Glasgow University intending to study medicine. There she quickly came under the spell of Sir John Graham Kerr, FRS, Regius Professor of Zoology and later MP for the Scottish Universities. He was to remain her inspiration for the rest of her days. He instilled in her a love of comparative anatomy – then (as it was for much of the first half of this century) the principal preoccupation of University Departments of Zoology. She abandoned her plans for a medical career and graduated MA in 1920. Sir John invited her to become a demonstrator in the Department of Zoology and in 1924 she was appointed Assistant Lecturer, shortly after the historic move of the Department (and the Zoology component of the Hunterian Museum) from the Gilbert Scott Building to a new and purpose-designed building of its own. She was promoted to Lecturer in 1929.