Before starting at UcWA, I attended Downham Market Sixth Form where I studied A-levels in Biology, Psychology and Sociology. My aspirations before I started my degree were to be able to further an academic career in research, whilst learning a vocational degree that centres around animal welfare and behaviour.
I chose to study at University Centre West Anglia due to its location being close to me. I thoroughly enjoyed studying my degree. The animal behaviour modules were my favourite, as the lessons encouraged discussion and thought on a wide range of subjects. Having lecturers in nursing was a fantastic opportunity, as they had so much experience that they were able to share on the practicalities of nursing and how to apply this to real-life situations. The modules that looked at behaviour in invertebrates was very inspiring for me and encouraged me to pursue this area of research. I have had my first paper published for my work on invertebrates, entitled ‘Perception of the ethical acceptability of live prey feeding to aquatic species kept in captivity’. I worked on this research paper along with Dr Gavan Cooke and Dr Wanda McCormick.
During my time at UcWA, I was a representative for my course and the year. I was proud to be able to highlight any areas that needed improvement to the better the experience of future applicants. Overall, my best memories are of working with a very supportive course group that enjoyed helping each other and worked together.
I was delighted to be accepted onto a research master’s course at the University of Bristol, to study foraging behaviour of bumblebees. The title of my thesis is ‘Bumblebees' (Bumbus terrestris) responses to voltage discrimination during foraging and the impact of reinforcement schedules on the speed of learning’. After planning the study and its goals with my supervisors, I collected data from conducting behavioural experiments with bumblebees; both in a laboratory setting and in the field. I am very thankful for working with Gavan and Wanda, as I was able to receive support and guidance about how to write and publish papers, which then gave me a huge amount of confidence to apply for a masters. Now that this has been completed, I am continuing working as a veterinary nurse, with the hope of continuing my research through a PhD.
I am now a self-employed Registered Veterinary Nurse and locum across the South West.