Yet another busy month has passed for us all, but I thought I would take this time to write a short piece about a couple of events, at which I represented the British Psychology Society (BPS).
Exeter University Psychology Society Careers Event
Midweek on what turned out to be a wet, and chilly March day, Exeter University Psychology Society organised a careers fair. They invited myself and a number of colleagues to cover the various areas of psychological practice. I was there to, as mentioned, represent the BPS, but also to talk about work in the field of Health Psychology. Other speakers included; Dr Andy Allen, Dr Craig Knight, Dr Varuni Wilamasari, Dr Barry Cripps, Amy McAndrew and Josie Bannon. Our brief was to talk about our experience and knowledge of how to get into our field and what it is like to work in it.
- I aimed to enlightened the students on topic of Health Psychology. It is a rapidly expanding but relatively new area of psychology which promotes well-being
- Educational Psychologist, Dr Andy Allen, talked about the experience of working in both the public and private sector, and gave advice on cross-sector working
- Dr Craig Knight, an Occupational Psychologist, talked about his work to help businesses maximise the potential of their office spaces by using his expertise in the effects of office layout on productivity and efficiency
- Dr Varuni Wilamasari, a lecturer at Exeter University and an Occupational Psychologist, discussed how psychology can be implemented into practical settings by showing how her knowledge is applied to decision making
- Sports Psychologist, Dr Barry Cripps described his extensive career working with athletes across many disciplines
- Amy McAndrew, an Exeter PhD student gave practical advice on applying for an MSc or a PhD and funding opportunities available to students
- Joise Bannon, introduced the audience to Wellbeing practitioners. A job involving using low intensity cognitive behavioural therapy to help those with mild or moderate depression and outlined the differences between a wellbeing practitioner and a clinical psychologist.
Following each of us giving a 5 minute presentation we were individually set upon by the assembled students to in the form of a lively question and answer session with students raising questions about aspirations, opportunities in the field and the career processes needed. All the speakers gave enthusiastic and insightful talks about working in psychology. It also provided an great opportunity for the undergraduates to clarify thoughts about potential careers. I personally found it a really great experience. It allowed me to talk on a topic about which I am passionate to people that were interested and asking insightful questions. This in turn challenged my understanding of the students basic level of knowledge and expectations that they carry during their years of study. Fingers crossed this will be first of an annual event at this University.
The second event I helped support was the;
South West Undergraduate Psychology Conference
Each year the South West Branch Committee of the BPS sponsor and help organise an undergraduate student conference for the seven universities based in the region (Bath Spa University, Open University, University of Bath, University of Bristol, University of Exeter, University of Plymouth, and the University of the West of England). The conference is an opportunity for students and their lecturers to share experiences, research, discuss ideas, feedback and network with each other and particularly with practising psychologists. The universities take it in turns to host the event and this year it was the University of Bath’s turn.
So at 10:30 on a grey and drizzly Saturday approximately 120 students and staff convened at the conference venue. Welcomed with much needed warm drinks and cookies by a group of Psychology students, it became clear from the level of chatter that we were in for a very interesting and engaging day of research dissemination. With the 21 poster presentations hung, we split into streams to watch the first of the 24 oral presentations. Each oral presentation consisted of a 10 minute talk, supplemented with PowerPoint or Prezi, and a subsequent 5 minute question & answer opportunity. Mid-way through the presentation schedule, lunch provided the opportunity to view posters, chat to authors and network with peers. The presentations resumed until 15:45 when we were treated to a keynote presentation by Dr Michael Proulx. He gave a fascinating presentation covering his work examining some of the fundamental issues in cognition through the study of multiple sensory modalities. This focused on how developments in psychology and engineering are allowing significant advancements to be made in augmenting hearing devices and subsquently aid visual impaired people.
Clichéd as it maybe, once again, the students’ contributions were of a remarkably high standard. This made it difficult for the judges (academic representatives from the attending universities and the author) to decide upon the BPS ‘Best Poster’ and ‘Best Oral Presentation’. We ended up selecting 2 posters and 5 oral presentations for commendations. In no particular order, poster commendations:
- Alessandro Firetto (University of Plymouth) Out of Sync. The effects of social exclusion through music synchrony
- Natalya Smith (University of Bath) Anxiety and gender: how do they affect chronic pain patients’ outcomes following a pain management programme?
Oral presentation commendations:
- Tamsyn Hawken (University of Bath) Exploring earthquake related distress: A qualitative analysis
- Claire Mason (University of Bath) Project REACH; A study into the risky health behaviours of childhood cancer survivors
- Claire O’Reilly (University of Exeter) Evidence for an understanding of string-pulling in an Alaskan coastal brown bear (Ursus arctos sitkensis)
- Jennifer Riddell (University of Bristol) Axes of time representation in English and Mandarin speakers
- Carys Weeds (University of Bristol) Just noticeable differences in sharpness
Winners of the best poster were: Bathany Isaacs, Zeena-Britt Sanders, Haline Schendam & Viktoria Vianeva (University of Plymouth) Behavioural Congruency and electrical brain potentials dissect knowledge, decision and action contributions to implicit memory
Winner of the best oral presentation was: Rebecca Griggs (University of Bristol) The effects of expectancy information on cephalic phase responses to food
The abstracts for these presentations and the others from the conference can be read in the summer edition of the South West Branch of the BPS review. Next year the conference will be held on the 22nd March at the University of Exeter, but if you want to know more or wish to be directly emailed about this event please contact me at email@example.com.
So, those were a couple of events I attended in March, both engaging and exciting and I am looking forward to doing more to help undergraduates develop themselves and the field of Psychology.