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Sport and Exercise Psychology alumna reflects on her Brunel master's journey

Genis Fernandes

The outstanding support I received from the faculty members throughout, in terms of academic support, career guidance and even life-skills - they were exceptional.

Genis, Alumni, Postgraduate

Research Officer, LGC / National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

Sport and Exercise Psychology MSc - 2020

From India

Which country do you currently live in?

UK

Tell us about your educational and/or career journey since you graduated from Brunel?

After graduating from Brunel, I continued working full-time as an Administrator - a position I procured during my time at Brunel. Research has been my primary interest all throughout my academic journey which was mainly nurtured at Brunel. All my curiosity pertaining to public health and research developed from the versatile academic structure. Transferring all of my learning and professional experience into practice, I’ve recently started a new position as a Research Officer at LGC which works for the National Institute for Health research (NIHR).

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

Given I've recently joined my new position, an overview of my work includes providing key support to the Grant Management Group through operational activities including managing competition launches via the NIHR website, award monitoring, publishing award related information on the NIHR site, supporting pre- funding/funding meetings and managing conflicts of interest. Additionally, sourcing and inviting expert peer reviewers to undertake reviews and managing the rebuttal process. Also, support management and monitoring of awards, maintaining and reviewing publications logs, collecting progress reports from award holders, and updating research management databases with research findings. Other tasks include checking completeness and eligibility of applications for funding, and ensuring that applications do not overlap with existing NIHR-funded research. Along with some administrative tasks.

What’s been the highlight of your career journey so far?

The highlight of my career was being awarded a distinction in my Master’s programme. Also, it might seem ordinary, for someone who had never before written an academic essay as a form of assessment, it seemed highly impossible. As an international student the whole grading system was new to me and I think it was definitely a challenge that I overcame.

How would you say your Brunel experience has helped you to get where you are today?

Definitely! I do think my time at Brunel definitely had a lot of learning curves that fostered my interest in research. Most importantly, it's the outstanding support I received from the faculty members throughout, in terms of academic support, career guidance and even life-skills! They were exceptional. Especially Dr. Daniel Bishop who was a fantastic mentor - he encouraged uncommon research ideas and encouraged me to pursue areas that drifted away from the mainstream perception of sport and exercise psychology.

Why did you choose to study at Brunel and why would you recommend Brunel to others?

I chose Brunel because of the Master's programme it offered. It also holds a prestigious rank in terms of its faculty. I would definitely recommend Brunel as it has innumerable resources that are available to students at ease. The academic structure of the programme is here to challenge us as students to be independent learners and thrive in areas that interest us. I do recall structuring all my assessments on topics that I wanted to learn more about, and the flexibility provided by the module creators helped me excel while doing so.

What is your best memory of studying here?

The best memory I carry with me is how my time at Brunel transformed my fears in terms of future prospects into ambitious aspirations. I say this in context of a module I drew up with Dr. Misia Gervis - she supported my ideas and encouraged me to explore topics I was passionate about.

If you could give one piece of advice to current Brunel students, what would that be?

Make the most of the resources that you have access to as students.

What would be your top tip or key advice for new graduates as they begin their career journey after leaving Brunel?

I would suggest getting work experience. Any professional experience counts and it definitely compliments your academic learnings.

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