Leona Forde“I have always enjoyed the process of carrying out research and so, after completing an undergraduate degree in Sociology and a Masters by Research (MRes) at Edge Hill, I decided to progress onto a PhD alongside becoming a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Graduate School, conducting research within the Social Sciences department at the University.

My course combines completing a research project with some teaching responsibilities, with my research focusing on how young people perceive and negotiate refugee and asylum seeker representations in the media. Issues within society are of particular interest to me, with this topic being a progression from my MRes, where I researched the experiences of asylum seekers and refugees in the UK from the perspectives of those who support them.

The teaching side of the programme is enjoyable too, passing on my knowledge and interests to undergraduate students. I really like engaging with and supporting my seminar groups to progress through their degree. As part of the course, I am also about to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education which is a highly sought-after qualification in higher education institutions.

Because I knew that carrying out a PhD would require a lot of work I wanted to make sure I was studying in a supportive environment, so decided to continue my studies with Edge Hill as they have provided reassurance and encouragement throughout my time here. The campus environment is beautiful too, with plenty of green spaces where you can walk or relax after a busy day.

My supervisory team have been brilliant. We have regular meetings to discuss the progress being made with my research and what next steps to take. Their advice has been helpful and supportive, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. They encourage me to engage with conferences, publish my work, and give me advice and guidance to help me with my future career goals.

Being at university has massively developed my confidence. In 2015 when I started my undergraduate degree, I would never have dreamed I would be standing in front of a lecture theatre of students. Through the encouragement of my tutors I realised I could do it, with the reward now being the thankful emails received from students who really appreciate the support and advice I have given them.”

To find out more about studying as a postgraduate researcher at Edge Hill University, please view full course information for our PhD Doctor of Philosophy or contact graduateschool@edgehill.ac.uk.