Amy M.

PhD Researcher
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Amy M.
Cognitive Neuroscience
Taught Postgraduate
United Kingdom

My employment

PhD Researcher
University of Leeds
United Kingdom
Science and research
Large business (250+ employees)

More about Amy

Mature student

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A day in the life of a PhD Researcher in the United Kingdom

I saw the some of the challenges and changes to the job that Clinical Psychologists faced and found greater passion in the research side of my placement, so my careers goals changed more towards academia.

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

School of Psychology at the University of Leeds

What do you do?

I am a full-time postgraduate researcher working towards my PhD in Psychology/Cognitive Neuroscience. Alongside my research, I also have teaching responsibilities in my role as Postgraduate Teaching Assistant (PGTA).

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

During my undergraduate degree I was set on a career in Clinical Psychology, however I would say this changed when I completed my Clinical placement/Year in Industry. I saw the some of the challenges and changes to the job that Clinical Psychologists faced and found greater passion in the research side of my placement, so my careers goals changed more towards academia. I think this is worth reminding current students - it's okay to change your mind about your career direction and work experience is invaluable to helping you find the right career path.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?


Describe your most memorable day at work

I recently presented my research findings at the Psychology Postgraduate Conference. This was the first time I'd presented at a conference so I was understandably nervous! However I really enjoyed the day, and found so much passion in presenting my research.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

Throughout my undergraduate and masters degrees I took on various roles of responsibility including Halls Committee, Research Assistant and Open Day co-ordinator. In my interview for the PhD I was able to draw upon many transferable skills I acquired in these roles including time management, communication and presentation skills.

I also took a Year in Industry in Clinical Neuropsychology during my undergraduate degree. This was primarily a research based role in which I developed vital skills for progressing in academia including project management, data management, statistical analysis. It really exposed me to the research process and the steps involved in conducting and completing a piece of research. And my placement supervisor provided invaluable career advise which inspired me to take on my PhD. I would recommend any student to complete work experience as it provides so many transferable skills and experiences you can reflect on interviews, and can shape your career path.

What would you like to do next with your career?

Next I will be looking for postdoctoral research positions and eventually a permanent position as a lecturer/researcher in Cognitive Neuroscience.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

Take part! Join societies, sports teams, clubs. Apply for School Representative or Head of a Society or part time work. All of these roles will help to develop your confidence and many transferable skills which will make you stand out to employers. Also take the time to reflect on what you've learnt from these positions - it's not just about what you did, but employers like you to be able to reflect on situations and skills that have developed you as a person.

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

Applications for research PhDs, PhD life (research, supervisors, conferences, teaching), how to make the most of your degree to enhance employability.

Next steps...

If you like the look of Amy’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Amy a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Amy to be your mentor.

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