Having joined the DECIPHer Cardiff team at the start of April as a Research Assistant, I have spent the last few weeks getting to know the team and settling in to the new environment; it’s been great so far!
Since finishing my Master’s in Sport Sociology & Philosophy back in 2013, I’ve been lucky to experience two very different but interesting roles. My first role out of University was with the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office in Dyfed Powys, Wales where I was a policy officer. Most recently I was a Research Assistant at the Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Centre (MCPCRC) where I worked on the Palliative and end of life care Priority Setting Partnership (PeolcPSP – check out the website as this project is having a significant influence on the future of palliative and end of life care research in the UK).
The opportunity to work here at DECIPHer was one I felt I simply could not miss. Alongside their outstanding reputation as a centre of excellence (which I’m sure many of you reading this will already know) the type of research they were conducting – particularly around physical activity – was something I was very keen to get involved in. Having spent most of my time up to 2013 being heavily involved in both physical activity and sport, it seemed like a natural step.
The primary study I will be working on is called CHoosing Active Role Models to INspire Girls (CHARMING), this study aims to develop a new, school-based, role model program, which encourages young girls (aged 9-11 years) to be physically active and increase awareness of cancer preventive behaviours (e.g. eating healthy foods, using sunscreen).
I will also be working on the Group Motivational Interviewing-Alcohol (GMI-ALC) study, which explores the use of a teacher training programme for a Group Motivational Interviewing intervention to prevent alcohol misuse in secondary schools. The final project I will be working on is the process evaluation of the ‘Food and Fun’ School Holiday Enrichment Programme (SHEP), which is going to be delivered during the summer holidays, 2016 in order to provide good quality meals, nutrition skills and sports education to children living in areas of social deprivation in Wales.
Looking ahead (which is always easier said than done!) I am hopeful of doing a PhD and would consider myself very fortuitous to do one here at DECIPHer. Having spoken with the current PhD students, I have gained an insight into how excellent the team are at supporting and developing their students, and it fills me with great enthusiasm for the future.
I hope that in my next blog I will be discussing my plans for a PhD and how delighted I am to be beginning such an exciting (and expectedly very challenging) journey!