Husnain Shah is the perfect example of a student who through hard work and determination has managed to make a positive impact.

The 21-year-old from Blackburn is studying for a Masters in Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Wellbeing at Edge Hill University, having also completed his undergraduate course in Ormskirk.

“When I came to an open day I was captivated by the campus and the community. I really enjoyed my undergraduate course, getting involved by working for the university, attending language classes and joining different societies.”

His interest in working with young people as a mentor with Action for Children and giving something back stems from his own childhood experience.

“My dad died when I was in primary school and I remember I had counsellors and support workers with the NSPCC who would take me out to places and do activities like I had to during mentoring.”

Husnain was also able to gain key experience in child psychology, a field in which he is hoping to forge a career. His work over the course of a year would involve being paired with a seven-year-old boy who was estranged from his parents.

“We developed a great bond. I got some real hands-on experience and it was great watching the child’s mood and behaviour improve as the programme went on – and this was also noticed by his family, teachers and social worker.”

He received an award from the Deputy Lord Mayor of Liverpool for his work – and a subsequent placement with the Bolton Educational Psychology Service also showed how he could make a difference.

Husnain got involved with MeeMo through a volunteer placement at Bolton Educational Psychology Service. The card-based initiative helps improve children’s working memory and capacity to learn, while also helping improve their speaking and listening skills.

“The intervention usually lasts for eight weeks – and the resource pack would cost schools over £600 each. We emailed school SENCOs and asked them if they were interested in running the programme – and they wanted me to come do it for them (and train their staff to use the resources as well).”

He witnessed improvements at each school he visited, with some even considering running a similar course themselves.

“We also saw an increase in short term and working memory test scores from before and after the programme. The results were positive, and this started to reflect on pupils’ class work and performance.”

As well as pursuing a Masters and vlogging for the Edge Hill careers team, Husnain has three part-time jobs (one of them in residential care homes for children and adults with mental health disorders) as well as a voluntary internship to contend with.

“I’m doing the internship alongside Dr. Motonori Yamaguchi, my old dissertation supervisor helping him with his work on task-switching and cognitive psychology by helping him with his research on campus.

“I have also been teaching (supervised) part-time at a private school in Blackburn two mornings a week as an ICT teacher. It’s extremely good experience for the educational psychology doctorate I’m hoping to apply for!

“I thought last year was the busiest of my life but then I proved myself wrong this year by doing even more!”

Husnain was selected for an Adam Bell Scholarship in 2018 – being awarded £2,000 towards his studies. Find out more about applying here.

Click here for more information about studying for a Masters in Child & Adolescent Mental Health & Wellbeing.