A huge thank you to all those who voted, asked questions and generally just made me think! I am utterly amazed to have won.
St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School, Bristol (1988-1995), University of Leeds (1995-1998), University of Bristol (1998-1999), University of Bath (2003-2007)
GCSEs (10), A levels (3), BSc Psychology (Hons) 2:1, MSc Health Psychology (Distinction), PhD in Psychology
Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (University of Bristol), Bristol Research into Alzheimers and Care of the Elderly (University of Bristol), Pain Management Unit (University of Bath), Department of Psychology (University of Bath), Department of Psychology (Bath Spa University), Open University
Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Bath
I work in the Department of Psychology at the University of Bath. I am also a member of the Centre for Pain Research group at the University of Bath. That’s a research group for people who research pain like me.
Favourite thing to do in my job: Reading!
I live with my family in Bath and do research which helps children and young people whose lives are affected by ongoing pain.
I live near Bath with my husband and children (they are 7 and 9). We don’t have any pets although my children are constantly asking for some rabbits. I would love to have some rescue rabbits again, we will see!
I love travelling and have taken the children to Canada and Lapland for the first time this year. They loved it and so did I. It was truly beautiful and we even saw the Northern Lights. That was out of this world and make you feel really small in the scheme of nature and life. I also really loved the snow and definitely want to visit Scandinavia again in the winter. The sledging was amazing, you are never too old!
I also really like being outdoors and try and go for a social walk at lunchtime with colleagues if I can. I also like running although would not describe myself as a runner. I am pretty slow but really like running in green areas, pavement running bores me. I always have to have music unless I am running with a friend.
I like cooking if I have time and make a mean banana loaf. It’s my fail safe thing to make. It’s pretty much guaranteed not to go wrong!
I am a researcher who works with young people who experience pain and their parents.
My Typical Day
Teaching, writing and skyping colleagues to discuss research ideas. After work, seeing what my children have been up to at school!
I suppose that a typical day involves teaching. I teach on the Masters in Health Psychology at the University of Bath. I try and make my teaching as interactive as possible and use lots of youtube clips to bring concepts to life. Sometimes I even ask my children to help me to prepare pictures or material for lectures I want to give to my students. The Build A Bear scene below was a lot of fun for them!
If teaching in the morninng then I try and go for a walk at lunchtime with people that I work with. It’s a good chance to chat and be outside plus do some exercise (ish). We are quick walkers! After lunch I usually check on recruitment of studies we are running or talking with one of my PhD students about their projects and how things are going. After all that, I will do some writing about my research. This might mean writing part of a scientific paper I am preparing to send to an academic journal to describe the results of a research study I have conducted or working on an application for funding for future research. I usually write in my office although sometimes write in coffee shops if I really need to focus and not get distracted.
When I get home I like to hear what children and husband have been up to all day. Once my children are in bed I might watch some tv (The Apprentice is a guilty pleasure) or catch up on adult household stuff!
What I'd do with the prize money
I want to use it to fund an exhibit about stories children and families tell about pain at a local science centre for children.
I want to hold an exhibit at a local science centre for children and families. Along with people that I work with in Scotland and Canada, I am keen to look at how young people and families think about, remember and talk about pain. It’s something that affects all of us in our everyday lives. Holding an exhibit about pain specifically with members of staff there (like me and/or my PhD students) would give us a way to talk to the public about the research we do and pain as a topic. I would use the money to pay for materials which children, young people and adults could use to describe what pain means to them and also to record how they talk about pain. These might include craft materials, writing materials, cameras and use of different sound effects. I have already met with the science centre about this and they are keen so the money could really help to make this happen. That would be fantastic.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Thoughtful, determined and inquisitive
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
For me, it's when you connect with people about your research. So I would say a talk that I did for young people with chronic pain last year. The parents and young people really liked hearing about my research and I was able to talk to them about what type of research would be useful to them in the future.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
This is hard as so many people along the way like my parents and previous supervisors. I knew that I wanted to work in the area of pain when I went to an interview for my Research Assistant job. I loved the team and knew then that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my career.
What was your favourite subject at school?
English literature although I loved history (still do).
What did you want to be after you left school?
A journalist. Clearly the writing element applies now!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
No, I was seriously well behaved at school. I was a prefect.
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I don't really have a favourite singer or bands. I have young children so Baby Shark seems to feature a lot at the moment in our house.
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
I saw whales off the coast of Vancouver this summer. I have seen them before but it was so much fun with my children (and husband) as my children have never seen them before. I love being out on a boat in the sunshine and seeing wildlife. It ticked all the boxes.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To own a boat, to travel more (really fancy New England in the fall one day) and to live long enough to see my children doing things that make them happy.
Tell us a joke.
Where do cows go at the weekend? To the moo-vies (courtesy of my youngest daughter)