Meet the StaffsPsych Graduates – Fozia (BSc Hons Psychology)

As part of our series of StaffsPsych Graduate Success Stories, we are pleased to introduce Fozia who completed her BSc (Hons) Psychology degree here at Staffordshire University. Find out about Fozia’s experiences on her course and her plans for the future:


What attracted you to studying Psychology at Staffordshire University?

Great course offer, great friendly teaching staff and great student population. I also wanted somewhere not too far from my home town of Birmingham so Stoke-on-Trent was a great location with fantastic transport links. The surrounding area was quiet and friendly.

What were the best parts of your experience at Staffs?

Student life as a whole – studying aspect, socialising, great resources to support studying and living, great community of people to make me feel safe whilst living away from home

What was the biggest challenge(s) that you overcame whilst studying at Staffs? 

How small the campus and city of Stoke-on-Trent is so I was able to get about easily compared to living in a busy large city, feeling safe as well as independent. When studying late in the library or on campus, my living accommodation was only few roads away so I was able to walk in the dark very late at night without the fear of anything happening. The security staff/fellow students were happy to walk with me a short distance if they were able to.

What have you done since leaving Staffs?

Lots of work experience and employment. Studying MSc in Health Psychology and then going onto do my PhD which I was awarded in 2013 from Aston University. Alongside my PhD I completed my BPS Chartership Stage 2 in Health Psychology qualification and am now continuing with my HCPC membership as a Registered Psychologist.  I have had many clinical roles mainly in smoking cessation and acute health, embarking on project management at Birmingham Children’s Hospital as a Research Fellow and Project Manager for the CLARCH 1 project. I then moved on to Primary Care Transformation Team Project Manager working for HEE. I now work as the Clinical Engagement Manager for Wolverhampton CCG/WMCA on an innovative health led trial testing IPS employment support in primary care.

What are your plans for the future? 

Continue to work on health led trials and develop my leadership skills within NHS/WMCA

What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying to study Psychology at Staffordshire University?

Do it! No matter what background you are from or whatever the situation you will be able to develop yourself as a person at your own pace with plenty of support. Studying at Staffordshire University gave me my first opportunity to learn about health psychology and I have never looked back. My passion and dedication to health psychology has surfaced in all the different roles I have had since leaving Staffs clinical as well as none clinical, and I have been able to keep up with a lot of the new innovative ideas in health promotion as it all stems from health psychology i.e. behaviour change. I may not be working as a Health Psychologist as I once aimed for, but I am working in a role where I can use my health psychology knowledge and PhD skills to work to the best of my ability and to help to tackle wider determinants of health and achieve better health outcomes.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your time at Staffs? 

I started off as a very quiet and introverted person contrary to my character as I was in a new place for the first time on my own. However by the second year I gained the confidence to socialise more as well as working with others to study harder and efficiently. I became better in decision making and problem solving as well a financial more savvy! My times at Staffs was a huge step for me but one I have never regretted!


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent. The department is home to the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, a large and active group of psychologists, PhD students and researchers conducting work into a variety of psychological disciplines and topic areas.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Body Image in Girl Guides: New Research by Dr Alison Owen & graduate Emily

By Dr Alison Owen, Lecturer in Psychology.

More than 400,000 girls meet regularly as Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and The Senior Section in the UK (Girlguiding, 2018). Together they learn skills, grow in confidence, make lifelong friendships, help their communities and have lots of fun (Girlguiding, 2018). Despite the positive skills that the members learn through the organisation, the ‘Girl’s Attitudes Survey’ (Girlguiding 2016), recorded that almost half of all its members aged between 11 and 21 claim that the way they look holds them back. Sixty-one percent of members aged between 7 and 21 were happy with the way they looked; indicating that almost 40% of the children and adolescents surveyed were unhappy with their appearance. The report published the survey results and explained that young girls have been victims of body criticism and that body dissatisfaction peaks as adolescents transition into becoming young adults.

Researchers at Staffordshire University decided to expand the findings of the ‘Girl’s Attitude Study’, and carry out a study looking at body image in a group of Girlguides using a qualitative approach. Emily Griffiths, who graduated from Staffordshire University’s BSc (Hons) Psychology course, carried out focus groups, speaking to groups of members at a local Girlguiding unit, about their thoughts and feelings about their bodies. Alongside Dr Alison Owen, the researchers analysed the findings from the focus groups, and four themes were identified: “Emotions and Feelings”, “Conversations and Critiques”, “Weight and Size” and “Influences on Body Image”. The results of the study found that on the whole, the participants reported having positive body image and feeling positively about their bodies, however they also identified areas that made them feel more negatively about their appearance, for example social media and the media in general.

Dr Owen continues to carry out research looking at body image in different sections of the population, and Dr Owen and Emily Griffiths are hoping to expand the research with members of Girlguiding in the future.

If you are interested in reading more about the study plaese visit the British Journal of School Nursing’s website:

References:

Girlguiding (2016). Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2016. Available at https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/social-action-advocacy-and-campaigns/research/girls-attitudes-survey/

Girlguiding (2018). Our Mission. Available at https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/about-us/what-makes-guiding-special/our-mission/


Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology

Staffordshire University has a history of excellence in teaching and research in Health Psychology, and is home to Staffordshire’s BPS Accredited Stage 1 MSc in Health Psychology and Stage 2 Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology. The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research has active team of Health Psychologists who conduct research and provide consultancy in a range of health-related issues.

Keep updated with the latest Health Psychology news from Staffordshire University via following us on @StaffsPsych and via the #HealthPsychStaffs hashtag.

For further information about Health Psychology courses and research at Staffordshire University please visit the following webpages:

Meet the StaffsPsych Graduates – Luke (BSc Hons Psychology)

As part of our new series of StaffsPsych Graduate Success Stories, we are pleased to introduce Luke who graduated from our BSc (Hons) Psychology course in 2017.

Luke introduces himself and talks about his experiences studying Psychology at Staffordshire University, and tells us how his degree has helped him develop his interest in neuroscience, his aims to pursue a career in research and a PhD in Psychology:


I studied A-levels in Psychology, Business, Physical Education, Applied Science and Biology across three years at college before taking the decision to move into full-time work, taking managerial roles at a hotel and Starbucks for a few years. Eventually, my general interest in the brain through reading and A-levels drew me to wanting to study the brains relation to behaviour at University.

What attracted you to studying Psychology at Staffordshire University?

I visited a few universities, but Staffordshire stood out from my other options. This was mainly because of the staff I came into contact with when visiting were passionate, encouraging and always offered constant contact, even after the visit.

What were the best parts of your experience at Staffs?

I managed to gain a perfect balance between socialising and studying hard. It made both of these easier and more joyful, rather than one being sacrificed for the other. The broad range of opportunities whether it be course related (talks and events) or not (sport) gave me opportunities to try and experience many new things.

What was the biggest challenge(s) that you overcame whilst studying at Staffs?

The third-year project was the biggest challenge for me. Not everything went to plan and a technical error with software put me 3 weeks behind schedule. This was huge challenge but putting in the extra work to overcome this really paid off when seeing the final grades.

What have you done since leaving Staffs?

I have moved on to study an MSc in Neuroscience at King’s College London where I am studying the brain at a much more cellular level. Thanks to modules such as ‘Cognitive and Biological Determinants of Behaviour‘ on the course at Staffs my interest in Neuroscience began. I have specialised in stem cells and currently undertaking my project monitoring neurogenesis (ability of the brain to produce new neurons throughout adulthood) in a mice model of sleep deprivation (gene knockout).

What are your plans for the future?

My next step will hopefully be a PhD. I want to continue to monitor factors that influence the neurogenic niche in both positive and negative ways. Negative factors have been implicated in multiple neurodegenerative disorders and depression. Other options I am also considering would be to move into full-time industry work with a pharmaceutical company or a research assistantship job in a laboratory. I also aspire to a neurosurgeon, as a long-term goal. This is something I would like to study part-time alongside my full-time career.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying to study Psychology at Staffordshire University?

Go ahead and apply. Studying Psychology at Staffordshire University changed my career and lifestyle. The staff were incredibly motivating and gave me a level of confidence that was the foundation to being successful in my Master’s. The course is broad, it covers all areas of the discipline, this is great. It will allow you to find which area is best suited to you. My greatest advice would be to make sure you maintain the balance between studies and socialising. This was key to me being able to find enjoyment and success in both.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your time at Staffs?

The thing I really take away from studying the course was the influence of the staff. The teaching is very good and you will get back what you put in. They always made time and effort to have a positive effect on your studies. This not only helped me develop new skills but also the confidence to execute them well.


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Student Blog: Attending the 2017 Graduate Recruitment Exhibition

Following Dr Heather Semper’s blog where she discusses taking some of our Final Year Psychology students to the Graduate Recruitment Exhibition in Birmingham (read more here), two of our current BSc (Hons) Psychology students (Aman and Elliott) blog about their experiences attending this event:

Experiences before the Exhibition

With an event such as this it was hard to know what to expect. On one hand, these are professionals working for big companies which in of itself can feel rather daunting and overwhelming and so you feel a bit of pressure to come across as best you can. On the other hand, it can be somewhat exciting to see what kind of opportunities are available after university.

Experiences after the Exhibition

Elliot and Aman (pictured on the right above)

Thankfully our prior nerves were put to rest. The event itself was very organised and it was easy to navigate around all the different stands. All the people at the stands were approachable, easy to talk to and offered good advice regardless of your degree. In one particular case we were lured into the UK DOMAIN stand by the man working there turning Woolworths vouchers into 20 pound notes. There were several interesting talks throughout the day by different companies about a range of different things from national defence to starting your own business. While other companies such as The Write Stuff were holding CV clinics where you could pay to have your CV appraised or book consultations with the company to have your CV created with professional staff.

Opportunities / talks

As psychology students, we thought that a career within healthcare or applied psychology would be the most likely route after our degree. However, at the event we discovered a plethora of opportunities we hadn’t thought of which are outside of psychology but still use the skills we gain from the degree, such as data analytics, management and marketing to name a few. The opportunities didn’t stop with just looking ahead as there were various opportunities at the event itself such as the aforementioned CV clinic, practice psychometric tests and mock interviews to prepare you for the process of applying for jobs.

There were several talks running during the day the most memorable of which was a talk by DSTL. They presented their currents projects within anti-hacking “honeypot project” and how they as a company are looking for people to who can help with that work as well as a range of other positions within the company. As they are the branch of the government involved with security they couldn’t divulge too much information as it was classified. They went on to talk about what a career within the company would actually be like for a graduate discussing things like pay, on-site resources available to employees, such as gyms and hairdressers and a wide range of other benefits. Finally they discussed the various placement opportunities they had available, such as the summer placement and internships.

Conclusion

We found the event extremely useful and we would highly recommend other people attend it. A huge reason for attending an event like this is that it can show you a range of careers outside of your field you may not have previously considered. The event also allows you to meet with employers and ask questions which you may find difficult to answer from their website as well as the opportunity to find out what skills they specifically look for to allow you to tailor your application to their business. If none of that convinces you there are also plenty of cool freebies available on the day.

By Aman Mankoo & Elliott Phillips, Level 6 BSc Psychology Students.

 


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages: