I completed a BSc Psychology, Queens University Belfast and MSc Applied Psychology at Trinity College Dublin. Before joining the BSU I worked in the disability sector supporting adults and children in community and residential settings, as a case manager, and as a research assistant for The Successful Ageing in Intellectual Disability (SAge-ID) Study at UNSW.
What is your current role?
I am a Research Assistant in the Ethics and Genetics team at the BSU. I am currently working on the PRecISion Medicine for Children with Cancer (PRISM) psychosocial sub-study. This study is investigating patients’, parents’ and healthcare professionals’ views and experiences of taking part in a personalised cancer medicine study for children with a high-risk cancer where the chance of cure with standard treatment is low. The study aims to understand the psychological implications of taking part in a precision medicine trial. In addition, I am working on the GenPact study which aims to better understand families’ experiences when a child is offered cancer-related genetic testing.
What are the best parts of your current role?
The best part of my current role is knowing that the work I do contributes to a wider aim of improving the treatment and psychological outcomes for children with high risk cancer and their families. I particularly enjoy interviewing parents and healthcare professionals as I find it fascinating to hear the different perspectives and experiences of precision medicine.
What are the most challenging parts of your role?
It can be challenging to hear the difficult day to day reality patients and their families face when dealing with high risk cancer. It can be difficult to reconcile that the study may not directly benefit these families who graciously contribute to our study but instead may benefit future cancer patients.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
In five years’, time I would like to be studying to be or working as a clinical psychologist. I hope to one day work in a clinical role with a research element and contribute to improving the psychological wellbeing of others.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow a similar path in terms of their study/career?
My advice to be would be focus on your academic studies but not to forget about gaining relevant experience in your area of interest. I believe I have developed invaluable skills through working with several different client populations and professionals in my career. I would encourage people to reach out and seek advice from professionals who currently work in the role/industry they aim to work in. In addition, it’s important to always have willingness to seek out learning opportunities and upskill through attending training courses, workshops and lectures.