I applied for the CUROP placement because I was interested in public health and had enjoyed doing previous research projects, such as my dissertation and smaller projects, as part of my medical degree. After being interviewed, I was delighted to be awarded a placement working on the CHETS 3 project (Changes in Child Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke Wales).
CHETS 3 investigates attitudes towards tobacco and tobacco-related products including e-cigarettes. More specifically, I investigated primary schools’ policies on smoking and e-cigarettes, but I worked closely on many other aspects of this prestigious long-term multi-stage research project. The project involved a range of tasks, including: conducting literature reviews; creating consent forms, information sheets and interview topic guides; sampling schools; recruiting schools via telephone and email; putting together information packs for schools; visiting schools; carrying out focus group interviews; analysing policies; writing up the project; and generating a poster for the CUROP presentation.
With flexible working hours, friendly colleagues from around the world, office picnics and the occasional office dog, the placement absolutely flew by
Because I did not have summer exams that year, I decided to start my placement straight after my dissertation hand-in. CUROP and DECIPHer were very accommodating, so my eight-week placement ran from May to June 2018 which meant I started my placement a bit earlier than everyone else. Although I was a bit nervous about being the first CUROP student on the scene, the DECIPHer office could not have been more welcoming. It also meant that as well as meeting the other CUROP students, who started to arrive in June, I also had the opportunity to network and get to know other members of staff, such as research assistants and PhD students.
The atmosphere at DECIPHer was so positive and stimulating, I ended up learning lots from other projects that were going on, engaging in conversations with colleagues, attending conferences and forum presentations, as well as from doing my actual project. With flexible working hours, friendly colleagues from around the world, office picnics and the occasional office dog, the placement absolutely flew by. The DECIPHer office were also kind enough to invite all the CUROP students to their team-building bowling away day, which highlights just how inclusive the office was.
As well as developing my research skills, it has made me consider things from a different perspective, and quite literally, a different school of thought
Studying clincial epidemiology and being president of Cardiff Students for Global Health fuelled my interests in public and global health this year. It also made me realise the importance of sociology in medicine, as the social determinants of health can account for up to 80 per cent of a person’s health status. This made me even more excited to get involved with a project that was based with the School of Social Sciences (SOCSI) and this placement has indeed given me an invaluable insight into the more sociological side of public health research. As well as developing my research skills, it has made me consider things from a different perspective, and quite literally, a different school of thought.
I would like to thank everyone at DECIPHer for an incredible placement and wish them the best of luck with all the projects that these dedicated researchers continue to work on. It has been a fascinating, rewarding and thoroughly enjoyable experience. I hope to return in the near future and stay in contact with some of the brilliant and inspiring people I have had the pleasure of meeting on my placement.