Name: Claire Pottage
Scholarship: Frank Parkinson Scholarship
Why did you decide to undertake postgraduate research at Leeds?
I decided to continue studying after my degree in the summer between second and third years of undergraduate study. I was lucky enough to receive a bursary from the Nuffield foundation to undertake some research in the Psychology Department during this time, and it was from spending time in the research environment that I decided to apply to do a PhD. This work/research placement also provided me with the experience and contacts I needed for my application to be successful when applying for research degree funding.
What research degree are you undertaking and what does your programme involve?
I am undertaking a PhD at the Institute of Psychological Sciences, this is a 3 year research degree. My research itself looks at how emotion influences memory, and I study this interaction using a variety of techniques including traditional behavioural measures, and EEG (electroencephalography) techniques.
How are you funding your postgraduate study?
My postgraduate study is funding from two scholarships which I have been awarded. This first is the Faculty of Medicine and Health Underwritten Scholarship, and the second is the Frank Parkinson endowed Scholarship. Both of these funding Scholarships come from the University of Leeds, and together they pay for my fees and then provide me with maintenance grants.
What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?
I have been interested in Psychology as a whole since I studied it for A-Level. During my undergraduate degree I become more interested in neuroscience, and the topic of emotion and memory interactions can be explored at many levels including the neuro-scientific one, making it an interesting and versatile area for research.
What has been the best part of studying at Leeds so far?
Meeting new people and making new friends are the best part of starting any new project, including a research degree. And the excellent night life and facilities in Leeds make it easy to socialise.
How would you describe the experience of being a research student?
Being a research student is like having a regular full time job but with more flexibility, and more focus on you as an individual to manage your own time. Being a research student is very different from undergraduate study, whereas before you may have had a certain amount of lectures every week, a research student will be in most days, but it is up to you how you manage those days and what work you do. Being allowed the freedom to pursue an area of interest to you, whilst having the support of experts around you, is a great experience.
What are the academic facilities for student like?
In the Institute of Psychological Sciences the facilities for research students are excellent. We share an office, and each have our own areas and computers. We also have access to the equipment within the department and excellent support staff on hand to help you learn and develop your skills.
What kind of support do you get from your supervisor(s)?
I receive a great deal of support from my supervisors, we have weekly meetings and they are easily contactable at other times, this is essential especially when starting out your research degree and setting up new experiments. Further to this the support staff in Psychology are an excellent resource, helping with many technical/equipment/software problems, which helps broaden my knowledge of different research tools.
What do you like about your School/Department/Institute?
The Psychology Department run weekly seminars with speakers both internal and external to the University. It is great to listen to research different from your own, and have an idea about what else in going on in your discipline.
What do you plan to do when you finish your PhD?
After completing my PhD I hope to obtain a Post Doctoral position to continue with my academic career.