I am being funded by the Economic and Social Research Council on a 1+3 studentship. This year I completed Masters Research training (MRes) at the University of Birmingham and from September (2010) will begin the PhD phase of my research.
What is the best thing about what you are doing now?
I really enjoy research, because it is an area that is challenging but also rewarding. I have learned so much from the research training programme (MRes) and it has helped me progress academically but also personally. I am immensely interested in the topic I am pursuing, and I hope to develop this further with a career in academia in the future.
Why did you originally apply to Birmingham?
Birmingham is my home town, but the research profile of this university and the diversity of research interests of the staff in the Education Department encouraged my choice to pursue further studies here.
What are your fondest memories of the University?
The University of Birmingham has something to suit everyone; social interests are encouraged alongside academic work. Also if you have an idea of your future career, there are work experience placements to enable students to explore this.
How did you grow as a person by coming to University?
Yes. I was encouraged to do a PhD by my supervisor. This was not something I would have necessarily considered myself being the first in my family to come to university, but I am grateful I have had this opportunity. I would therefore encourage anyone to come to university, because it opens your eyes to the diverse career options available.
What did you think of the learning experience within the University?
The modules I have studied in my MEd degree helped me immeasurably in the research degree I am currently completing (MRes).
Did you find the degree programme at Birmingham challenging or easy?
I found some modules easier than others, as I had completed an Education degree prior to starting studies here, so I had good grounding in the subject. Nevertheless, I was encouraged to become more vocal about my research and present to an audience.
Did you find the University or your degree helpful to you in getting your first job?
The university helped me obtain ESRC funding.
Advice for current students
A postgraduate study in Education is diverse and interesting, and it will facilitate both your professional and personal development.