Developing a career: A student’s experience

We do like to hear from ex-students, especially as helping students develop skills and build confidence is at the heart of much of what we do.  It helps us all realise the value of psychology and the skills it provides.  We want the psychology that they are exposed to to be professionally relevant and to help them build their careers.  We know from conversation and feedback that students want to make a difference to the world and to contribute to supporting people in all sorts of different ways.

This year we have a visit from the BPS to review our programme, and we have used this as an opportunity to reflect on the degree and make changes that will enhance the support we provide for our students.  A part of this review will see the introduction of three new pathways, echoing the expertise in the department and the interests of our students.  These are pathways in health, education, and forensic psychologies.  These pathways will complement the psychology programme, building on its strengths in applied psychology.

As we have reflected on the programme, it is nice to look back on the experiences of some of our graduates.  We have been offering placements in education settings through our links with First Campus for 10 years.  These placements have helped inspire students to go and work further in education.  One of of our ex-students, Donna Ward, has kindly written the below about her experiences as a student in Psychology at Cardiff Met and as a volunteer with First Campus.

It’s been three years since I graduated in Psychology from Cardiff Metropolitan, and on reflection, I can honestly say it was an all-round inspiring and supportive organisation. Cardiff Met provided a rich environment that encouraged me to develop personally, professionally and academically. As a BPS accredited course, it provided me with strong research skills, professional work experience through the educational psychology module, and contacts to other organisations to gain further paid experience. All of which has now led to me achieving a position as an Assistant Educational Psychologist, applying for the Doctorate in Educational Psychology.

Student development is at the heart of the organisation. The academic tutors on the psychology course are highly skilled, and compassionate, and use psychology to inform their work with students. A mixture of seminars, lectures, academic workshops, tutor evaluative feedback, and ongoing pastoral support help improve exam performance, essay writing, research skills, and most importantly academic confidence. The relationship I had with many of the staff at Cardiff Met, especially my personal tutor Dr Annette Daly, provided me with the support and encouragement I needed to get through my degree.

The Educational Psychology module fuelled what would become my future career. The content of the module sparked my interest, and the encouragement and feedback from the tutors inspired me to take it further. The module provided the opportunity to train as a student mentor and go into schools once a week and mentor secondary students. From this module I made links with a widening access organisation named First Campus, who aim to improve further education pathways for adolescents. I was offered the opportunity to interview as a First campus ambassador, allowing me gain paid experience delivering a weekly workshop to looked after children (LAC). I still talk about this experience at interview three years later.

I graduated from Cardiff Met feeling like I had developed good research skills and was competent in the use statistical software programmes and methodological analysis. I had developed good essay writing skills, and precision in scientific report writing through the completion of multiple reports, essays and a systematic review. All of which lead to my success in my MSc in Educational Psychology at UCL.  Many of the assignments you complete on the undergraduate psychology course at Cardiff Met are of a similar format to what you will complete on the doctorate course, specifically the systematic review, research reports and final research project. I can honestly say I feel confident that I will be able fulfil the academic demands required for the Doctorate in Educational Psychology.

Donna at graduation with her tutor, Dr Annette Daly.

I graduated from Cardiff Met with so much more than a degree. I graduated with work experience, ambition and desire to make a difference in education. From completing my psychology degree in 2015 and gaining relevant work experience from the educational psychology module and First Campus, I was able to work in an adolescent psychiatric hospital as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, complete my master’s in Educational Psychology at UCL, secure a role as an Assistant Educational Psychologist, which has transitioned into my current role as a Senior Assistant Educational Psychologist. With this academic and professional experience, I am now in a position to apply to the doctorate in Educational Psychology.

 

 

 

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Gweithgareddau Allgymorth + Lleoliad, 2017/18 [] Outreach + Placement activities, 2017/18

Each year we are impressed by the dedication and work of all our students (https://psychcardiffmet.wordpress.com/2017/11/07/croeso-a-chroeso-yn-ol-welcome-and-welcome-back/).  This year, 84 students worked with more than 15 organizations developing new skills, working in multi-disciplinary teams, and learning how to apply psychology to real-life situations.

Here our Placement Coordinator, Dr Mirain Rhys, talks about the opportunities in the course:

The Psychology Undergraduate programme at Cardiff Metropolitan University offers work placement opportunities to those studying in their second and third years. Students complete a placement as part of the ‘Work and Volunteering in Applied Psychology’ (WVAP) module where they can choose to gain experience in one of five Psychology fields (forensic, health, educational, clinical or occupational Psychology). The module always proves very popular as it gives students a chance to apply the knowledge they’ve learnt in their lectures to real life scenarios, as well as give back to their local community.

 We work with a variety of approved placement providers who have been chosen specifically because of the clear links with Psychology. We have placements in mental health wards, schools, charities, the prison service, and students can also use their work place as a placement opportunity. We also work with an organisation to provide students with overseas placement opportunities in Sri Lanka and Bali https://psychcardiffmet.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/the-best-thing-i-have-ever-done-volunteering-with-slv/.

 

Every year, we strive to find exciting opportunities for our students by reaching out to new organisations who are interested in working with us. We ensure that our students are safe and well looked after by visiting each potential placement partner before teaming up, which always proves an interesting and eye-opening experience as it gives the placement team the opportunity to gain a real insight into what experiences the students will have whilst on placement.

 The module is based on a service learning model, where students are encouraged to think about the impact their volunteering has on the wider community. The partnership works well because organisations who rely on volunteers benefit from a steady flow of willing students, and students get a chance to interact with individuals who need their support to develop, which in turn aides their reflective practice for the module – win win!

 Students have to produce a reflective essay about their time on placement. The assignment varies slightly from year 2 to 3 but in essence, it aims to build on students’ reflective skills from the first-year module ‘Psychological Literacy’ by giving students a chance to use real life scenarios for their reflective practice. Reflection is a key skill within Psychology and the programme provides a reflective module in each undergraduate year.

 At the end of the module, students are assessed by their placement provider on their performance whilst on placement. The skills assessed are transferable employability skills and provide students with feedback on areas they do well in and might need to improve before they enter the world of work.

 The best part of being a placement coordinator is hearing about all the amazing experiences students have been involved in. The placement team have the opportunity to provide feedback from students to placement providers at the end of the year, but it’s also great to hear such positive feedback about our students from the organisations we work with – it makes all the hard work worthwhile!

One event we look forward to as a placement team is the Student Volunteering Cardiff annual general meeting. This event showcases all the amazing volunteering opportunities students from all over Cardiff and beyond participate in to help vulnerable individuals within the city in leading their best lives. There is an award ceremony and a chance to hear about how Cardiff Metropolitan University Psychology students have worked hard over the year to provide events such as a gardening club, mentoring and buddy schemes, social clubs and respite care, and some of our students are also lead volunteers and key members of the trustee group. It is a wonderful evening of reflection and admiration from the placement team as we realise how far our WVAP students have come in gaining vital employability and reflection skills, but also making a huge difference to people’s lives just by giving some of their time.

Do come and join us!

Gweithgareddau Allgymorth + Lleoliad, 2017/18

Bob blwyddyn, gwneir argraff arnom gan ymroddiad a gwaith ein holl fyfyrwyr (https://psychcardiffmet.wordpress.com/2017/11/07/croeso-a-chroeso-yn-ol-welcome-and-welcome-back/).  Eleni, bu 84 o fyfyrwyr yn gweithio gyda mwy na 15 o sefydliadau yn datblygu sgiliau newydd, yn gweithio mewn timau amlddisgyblaeth, ac yn dysgu sut i gymhwyso seicoleg i sefyllfaoedd go iawn.

Yma mae ein Cydlynydd Lleoliad, Dr Mirain Rhys, yn sôn am y cyfleoedd yn y cwrs:

 

Mae’r rhaglen Israddedig Seicoleg ym Mhrifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd yn cynnig cyfleoedd lleoliadau gwaith i’r rhai sy’n astudio yn eu hail a’u trydedd flwyddyn. Mae myfyrwyr yn cwblhau lleoliad fel rhan o’r modiwl ‘Gwaith a Gwirfoddoli mewn Seicoleg Gymhwysol’ (WVAP) (‘Work and Volunteering in Applied Psychology’) lle gallant ddewis ennill profiad mewn un o bum maes Seicoleg (Seicoleg fforensig, iechyd, addysgol, clinigol neu alwedigaethol). Mae’r modiwl bob amser yn boblogaidd iawn gan ei fod yn rhoi cyfle i fyfyrwyr gymhwyso’r wybodaeth y maent wedi’i ddysgu yn eu darlithoedd i sefyllfaoedd bywyd go iawn, yn ogystal â rhoi yn ôl i’w cymuned leol.

Rydym yn gweithio gydag amrywiaeth o ddarparwyr lleoliadau cymeradwy sydd wedi’u dewis yn benodol oherwydd y cysylltiadau clir â Seicoleg. Mae gennym leoliadau mewn wardiau iechyd meddwl, ysgolion, elusennau, y gwasanaeth carchardai, a gall myfyrwyr hefyd ddefnyddio eu man gwaith fel cyfle ar gyfer lleoliad. Rydym hefyd yn gweithio gyda sefydliad i ddarparu cyfleoedd lleoliad myfyrwyr dramor yn Sri Lanka a Bali https://psychcardiffmet.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/the-best-thing-i-have-ever-done-volunteering-with-slv/ .

 

Bob blwyddyn, rydym yn ymdrechu i ddod o hyd i gyfleoedd cyffrous i’n myfyrwyr trwy gyrraedd sefydliadau newydd sydd â diddordeb mewn gweithio gyda ni. Rydym yn sicrhau bod ein myfyrwyr yn ddiogel ac yn cael y gofal gorau trwy ymweld â phob partner lleoliad posibl cyn ymuno, sydd bob amser yn brofiad diddorol ac yn agoriad llygaid gan ei fod yn rhoi’r cyfle i’r tîm lleoliad gael cipolwg go iawn ar yr hyn y bydd y myfyrwyr yn ei brofi tra ar leoliad.

Mae’r modiwl yn seiliedig ar fodel dysgu gwasanaeth, lle caiff myfyrwyr eu hannog i feddwl am yr effaith y mae eu gwirfoddoli yn ei gael ar y gymuned ehangach. Mae’r bartneriaeth yn gweithio’n dda oherwydd bod sefydliadau sy’n dibynnu ar wirfoddolwyr yn elwa ar lif cyson o fyfyrwyr parod, ac mae myfyrwyr yn cael cyfle i ryngweithio gydag unigolion sydd angen eu cefnogaeth i ddatblygu, sydd, yn ei dro, yn cynorthwyo eu hymarfer myfyriol ar gyfer y modiwl – ennill bob ffordd!

 

Rhaid i fyfyrwyr gynhyrchu traethawd myfyriol am eu hamser ar leoliad. Mae’r aseiniad yn amrywio ychydig o flwyddyn 2 i 3 ond yn ei hanfod, mae’n anelu at adeiladu ar sgiliau myfyriol myfyrwyr o’r modiwl ‘Llythrennedd Seicolegol’ blwyddyn gyntaf trwy roi cyfle i fyfyrwyr ddefnyddio senarios bywyd go iawn ar gyfer eu hymarfer myfyriol. Mae myfyrio yn sgil allweddol o fewn Seicoleg ac mae’r rhaglen yn darparu modiwl myfyriol ym mhob blwyddyn israddedig.

Ar ddiwedd y modiwl, caiff myfyrwyr eu hasesu gan eu darparwr lleoliad ar eu perfformiad tra ar leoliad. Mae’r sgiliau a asesir yn sgiliau cyflogadwyedd trosglwyddadwy ac yn rhoi adborth i fyfyrwyr ar feysydd y maen nhw’n eu gwneud yn dda ac efallai y bydd angen iddynt wella cyn iddynt fynd i fyd gwaith.

 

Y rhan orau o fod yn gydlynydd lleoliad yw clywed am yr holl brofiadau anhygoel y mae myfyrwyr wedi cymryd rhan ynddynt. Mae’r tîm lleoliad yn cael cyfle i roi adborth gan fyfyrwyr i ddarparwyr lleoliad ar ddiwedd y flwyddyn, ond mae hefyd yn wych clywed adborth mor gadarnhaol am ein myfyrwyr o’r sefydliadau rydym yn gweithio gyda nhw – mae’n gwneud yr holl waith caled yn werth chweil!

 

Un digwyddiad yr ydym yn edrych ymlaen ato fel tîm lleoliad yw cyfarfod cyffredinol blynyddol Gwirfoddoli Myfyrwyr Caerdydd. Mae’r digwyddiad hwn yn arddangos yr holl gyfleoedd gwirfoddoli anhygoel mae myfyrwyr o bob cwr o Gaerdydd a thu hwnt yn cymryd rhan ynddynt i helpu unigolion bregus yn y ddinas i arwain eu bywydau gorau. Mae yna seremoni wobrwyo a chyfle i glywed am sut mae myfyrwyr Seicoleg Prifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd wedi gweithio’n galed dros y flwyddyn i ddarparu digwyddiadau fel clwb garddio, cynlluniau mentora a chyfeillion, clybiau cymdeithasol a gofal seibiant, ac mae rhai o’n myfyrwyr hefyd yn wirfoddolwyr arweiniol ac aelodau allweddol y grŵp ymddiriedolwyr. Mae’n noson wych o fyfyrio ac edmygedd gan y tîm lleoliad wrth i ni sylweddoli pa mor bell mae ein myfyrwyr WVAP wedi dod i ennill sgiliau cyflogadwyedd a myfyrio hanfodol, ond hefyd gwneud gwahaniaeth enfawr i fywydau pobl yn unig drwy roi peth o’u hamser.

 Dewch i ymuno â ni!


Outward mobility to Florida [] Symudedd allanol i Florida

Outward mobility to Florida

This year two colleagues in forensic psychology (Drs Nic Bowes and Karen de Claire) were successful in gaining funding for an outward mobility visit.  Building strong international collaborations is vital to how we critically understand our own practices and knowledge, and helps us develop research into new areas, and to design courses to better support students.  Here, Dr Karen de Claire outlines the trip, what was covered and some of the outcomes.

 The Santander funding allowed us to visit the Miami Dade University. Miami Dade is the largest HE provider in the US, with more students than any other college.  They lead the way in activities to widen access to study and improve employability for people who would not be typically expected to attend university.  This University has a School of Justice and has similar practice concerns and research interests; weapon crime, violence and community issues related to offending. Miami Dade University were very interested in meeting and working with us and arranged an amazing itinerary. On arrival we met with the Dean of the School of Justice and his team and toured the campus. They explained the Police and Correctional Officer Academies that they run, which are both based on the psychological concept of procedural justice. A concept we are working on currently in the UK. They also talked about their role in promotion boards for criminal justice organisations, something we as a university could consider exploring.

We followed this with attendance at a gun crime conference, meeting gang leaders, victims, police chiefs and national experts. Obviously this is a huge issue for the American people. While it was great to see all of these groups working together with academics to deal with the problem, it was concerning to hear the message that the gun control laws are not widely or effectively applied. While we were in Miami there were a number of shootings including the murders of two high school students.

On day two of our visit we were invited to observe a disaster recovery exercise by Florida Emergency Mortuary Operations Response System (FEMOR).  They had created a disaster scenario (terrorist attack) and had established a body recovery and identification exercise including the use of real human remains to test out all aspects of the emergency team response (including cadaver dogs). Miami Dade trains crime scene investigators and mortuary staff. In America they do not have Forensic Psychologists and our title confused them. This misunderstanding lead to them thinking we would be comfortable surrounded by cadavers and body parts. We were able to fake insouciance. It was fascinating to see how a mobile mortuary operates following a major incident of multiple deaths and it was great to see Bella the cadaver dog in action.

The trip gave us a wonderful insight into the way American university funding works and the entrepreneurial nature of the academics work. In the School of Justice all of the staff were practitioners in their field prior to joining the university and the ethos is innovation. The motto being try anything we will support you and if it works great. The academic team is multicultural and multilingual and southern hospitality was offered by everyone we met.

As part of their practitioner contact we were taken to a low security prison. Here we met the education, drug treatment and industries staff who work tirelessly to rehabilitate men who may have been in prison all their adult life. This experience was nothing like the view of American prisons presented by the media. Staff and prisoners worked alongside each other and showed considerable respect to each other. We met a group of 20 prisoners who had undertaken a treatment programme with university staff and students. They were welcoming to us and spoke positively about the experience as did the students.

On the final day we met the Virtual Campus team their professional approach was amazing with the University offering 300 MSc programmes on line. We learned how to develop our own programmes to provide a more blended learning approach and this discussion sparked many ideas for the future.

This turned out to be a very productive visit and has the potential to lead to the following collaborations, including research and student exchanges. 

Our visit ended with a meeting with red Dragon radios Dr Johnny Love, but that is another story. 

 

 Symudedd allanol i Florida

 

Eleni, bu dau gydweithiwr mewn seicoleg fforensig (Drs Nic Bowes & Karen de Claire) yn llwyddiannus wrth ennill cyllid ar gyfer ymweliad symudedd allanol. Mae adeiladu cydweithrediadau rhyngwladol cryf yn hollbwysig i’r modd yr ydym yn deall yn feirniadol ein hymarfer a’n gwybodaeth ein hunain, ac yn ein cynorthwyo i ddatblygu ymchwil i feysydd newydd, a dylunio cyrsiau i gynorthwyo myfyrwyr yn well. Yma, mae Dr Karen de Claire yn amlinellu’r daith, yr hyn a gwmpaswyd a rhai o’r canlyniadau.

 

Caniataodd arian Santander i ni ymweld â Phrifysgol Miami Dade. Miami Dade yw’r darparwr AU mwyaf yn yr Unol Daleithiau, gyda mwy o fyfyrwyr nag unrhyw goleg arall. Maent yn arwain y ffordd mewn gweithgareddau i ehangu mynediad i astudio a gwella cyflogadwyedd ar gyfer pobl na fyddai disgwyl iddynt fynychu’r brifysgol fel arfer. Mae gan y Brifysgol hon Ysgol Cyfiawnder ac mae ganddi bryderon ymarfer a diddordebau ymchwil tebyg; troseddau arfau, trais a materion cymunedol sy’n ymwneud â throseddu. Roedd gan Brifysgol Miami Dade ddiddordeb mawr mewn cyfarfod a gweithio gyda ni a threfnwyd taith anhygoel. Ar ôl cyrraedd, gwnaethom gyfarfod â Deon yr Ysgol Cyfiawnder a’i dîm a theithio o amgylch y campws. Esboniodd yr Academïau Swyddog yr Heddlu a Chywirol maent yn eu rhedeg, sy’n seiliedig ar gysyniad seicolegol cyfiawnder trefniadol. Cysyniad yr ydym yn gweithio arno ar hyn o bryd yn y DU. Buont hefyd yn sôn am eu rôl mewn byrddau dyrchafiad ar gyfer sefydliadau cyfiawnder troseddol, rhywbeth y gallwn ni fel prifysgol ystyried ei archwilio.

 

Dilynwyd hyn gyda mynychu cynhadledd troseddau gwn, gan gyfarfod ag arweinwyr gang, dioddefwyr, penaethiaid yr heddlu ac arbenigwyr cenedlaethol. Yn amlwg, mae hwn yn fater enfawr i bobl America. Er ei bod yn wych gweld pob un o’r grwpiau hyn yn cydweithio ag academyddion i ddelio â’r broblem, roedd yn ymwneud â chlywed y neges nad yw’r cyfreithiau rheoli gwn yn cael eu defnyddio’n eang neu’n effeithiol. Tra’n bod ni yn Miami roedd yna nifer o saethiadau gan gynnwys llofruddiaethau dau fyfyriwr ysgol uwchradd.

 

Ar ddiwrnod dau o’n hymweliad, cawsom wahoddiad i arsylwi ar ymarfer adfer trychineb gan System Ymateb Gweithrediadau Brys Marwdy Fflorida (FEMOR). Roeddent wedi creu senario trychineb (ymosodiad terfysgol) ac wedi sefydlu adfer ac adnabod corff gan gynnwys defnyddio gweddillion dynol go iawn i brofi pob agwedd ar ymateb y tîm brys (gan gynnwys cŵn darganfod cyrff meirw). Mae Miami Dade yn hyfforddi ymchwilwyr lleoliad troseddau a staff marwdy. Yn America, nid oes ganddynt Seicolegwyr Fforensig ac mae ein teitl yn eu drysu. Arweiniodd y camddealltwriaeth hwn atynt yn meddwl y byddem yn gyfforddus o amgylch carcharorion a rhannau o’r corff.  Llwyddom i ffugio dihidrwydd. Roedd hi’n ddiddorol gweld sut mae marwdy symudol yn gweithredu yn dilyn digwyddiad mawr o farwolaethau lluosog ac roedd hi’n wych gweld Bella y ci darganfod cyrff meirw yn gweithio.

 

Rhoddodd y daith gipolwg gwych i ni ar y ffordd y mae arian prifysgol America yn gweithio a natur entrepreneuraidd gwaith yr academyddion. Yn yr Ysgol Cyfiawnder roedd yr holl staff yn ymarferwyr yn eu maes cyn ymuno â’r brifysgol ac mae’r ethos yn arloesol.  Yr arwyddair oedd rhowch gynnig ar unrhyw beth, byddwn yn eich cefnogi ac os yw’n gweithio, gwych. Mae’r tîm academaidd yn amlddiwylliannol ac yn amlieithog a chynigiwyd lletygarwch deheuol gan bawb a gyfarfuom.

 

Fel rhan o’u cysylltiad ymarferydd, cawsom ein tywys i garchar diogelwch isel. Yma fe wnaethom gyfarfod â staff addysg, triniaeth cyffuriau a diwydiannau sy’n gweithio’n ddiflino i adsefydlu dynion a allai fod wedi bod yn y carchar trwy gydol eu bywydau oedolion. Nid oedd y profiad hwn yn debyg i farn carchardai America a gyflwynwyd gan y cyfryngau. Roedd staff a charcharorion yn gweithio ochr yn ochr â’i gilydd ac yn dangos cryn barch at ei gilydd. Cyfarfuom â grŵp o 20 o garcharorion a oedd wedi ymgymryd â rhaglen driniaeth gyda staff a myfyrwyr y brifysgol. Roeddent yn groesawgar i ni ac yn siarad yn gadarnhaol am y profiad fel yr oedd y myfyrwyr.

 

Ar y diwrnod olaf, gwnaethom gyfarfod â thîm y Campws Rhithwir, roedd eu hymagwedd broffesiynol yn rhyfeddol gyda’r Brifysgol yn cynnig 300 o raglenni MSc ar-lein. Fe wnaethon ni ddysgu sut i ddatblygu ein rhaglenni ein hunain i ddarparu dull dysgu mwy cymysg a thaniodd y drafodaeth hon lawer o syniadau ar gyfer y dyfodol.

Bu hyn yn ymweliad cynhyrchiol iawn ac mae ganddo’r potensial i arwain at y cydweithrediadau canlynol, gan gynnwys ymchwil a chyfnewidfeydd myfyrwyr.

Daeth ein hymweliad i ben gyda chyfarfod gyda Dr Johnny Love, red Dragon radios, ond  stori arall yw honno.


Cangen Cymru o Gymdeithas Seicolegol Prydain [BPS] Welsh Branch Student Conference

Bob blwyddyn mae Cangen Cymru o’r BPS yn trefnu cynhadledd myfyrwyr ar gyfer myfyrwyr y flwyddyn olaf ac ôl-raddedigion i arddangos eu gwaith ymchwil. Eleni, roeddem yn ffodus gan i’r gynhadledd gael ei chynnal ym Met Caerdydd ar ddiwedd mis Mawrth. Yma mae Dr Nick Perham yn sôn am y gynhadledd.

Cynhadledd Myfyrwyr Cymru o Gymdeithas Seicolegol Prydain – cyfle gwych i fyfyrwyr israddedig ac ôl-raddedig y flwyddyn olaf i ledaenu eu Prosiectau i gynulleidfa dderbyngar, wybodus ac sydd â diddordeb. Bu’n dipyn o amser ers i mi fynychu un o’r cynadleddau hyn ond unwaith eto gwnaethpwyd argraff aruthrol arnaf o ganlyniad i ystod eang a dyfnder y pynciau a’r wybodaeth a ddangosodd y myfyrwyr.

Cynhaliwyd cynhadledd eleni ym Mhrifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd ac roedd wedi bod yn naw mlynedd ers iddi gael ei chynnal yma ddiwethaf. Byddai unrhyw un nad oedd wedi bod ar y campws ers hynny wedi sylwi ar y nifer o newidiadau sydd wedi digwydd ers hynny, yn enwedig yr enw.

Dechreuodd y gynhadledd gyda Dr Paul Hutchings yn gosod yr olygfa ar gyfer digwyddiadau’r dydd a thawelu nerfau pawb. Yna symudom i dri sesiwn cyfochrog yn y bore. Roedd sgyrsiau yn amrywio o edrych ar y rhagfynegydd gorau o grefyddrwydd i ddefnyddio defnydd caethiwus ar y rhyngrwyd i ragfynegi camddefnyddio sylweddau, o empathi poen tuag at robot i wahaniaethau rhywedd mewn sweipio ap detio ar-lein, a pherthnasoedd agos i ofalu am unigolion â dementia o safbwynt dyn.

 

Yn ystod cinio pleserus iawn, cafodd y rhai a fynychodd gyfle i gymysgu a gweld y posteri a oedd yn cynnwys pynciau megis effaith lle glas / gwyrdd ar straen, effaith, a hapusrwydd, a datblygu rhaglen llesiant gadarnhaol i fyfyrwyr prifysgol. Ar ôl cinio, cawsom ddwy sesiwn gyfochrog arall.

I gloi’r gynhadledd, rhoddais y prif anerchiad a aeth yn dda yn fy marn i – ni syrthiodd neb i gysgu, roedd y gynulleidfa yn rhyngweithio â mi, roedd pobl yn chwerthin â mi yn hytrach nag ar fy mhen, ac roedd y cwestiynau’n wybodus iawn. Wrth gloi’r digwyddiad cyfan, dyfarnodd Dr Paul Hutchings y gwobrau am y poster gorau a’r ail – Rebecca Nicholls (Prifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd) a Murat Karakas (Prifysgol Bangor) yn y drefn honno – ac am y sgwrs orau a’r ail – Bethan Elliott (Prifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd) a John Butler (Prifysgol Caerdydd) yn y drefn honno.

Wedi bod yn gadeirydd cangen Cymru, yr wyf yn ymwybodol iawn o faint o amser ac ymdrech sydd yn ofynnol fel rhan o’r cynadleddau hyn, yn enwedig pan fyddant fel arfer yn cael eu gwneud trwy ewyllys da’r aelodau. Diolch i bawb sydd wedi helpu i drefnu digwyddiad sydd wedi rhedeg mor llyfn.

Felly, o’i hystyried yn ei chyfanrwydd, cynhadledd wych. Fe’ch gwelwn i gyd eto’r flwyddyn nesaf.

Roedd gan Becky y canlynol i’w ddweud am y digwyddiad:

“Roedd cynhadledd myfyrwyr BPS yn brofiad gwerthfawr iawn, rhoddodd ddealltwriaeth well i mi o’r BPS cyfan, a’r ffordd y byddai cynhadledd fel arfer yn rhedeg. Roedd hefyd yn ddiddorol iawn clywed am brosiectau myfyrwyr eraill o blith israddedigion a graddau meistr. Byddwn yn argymell yn fawr i unrhyw un fynychu gan y bydd hefyd yn ychwanegiad da i’ch CV, ac edrychaf ymlaen at fynychu’r flwyddyn nesaf gyda’m prosiect meistr.”

Aeth Bethan yn syth at y pwynt yn dweud hyn:

“Roedd yn wych, wir wedi mwynhau”

 

BPS Welsh Branch Student Conference

Each year the BPS Welsh Branch organises a student conference for final year students and postgraduates to showcase their research work.  This year we were fortunate as the conference was held at Cardiff Met at the end of March.  Here Dr Nick Perham talks about the conference.

The Welsh British Psychological Society Student conference – a fantastic opportunity for final year undergraduate student and postgraduate students to disseminate their Projects to a receptive, knowledgeable, and interested audience. It has been a while since I attended one of these conferences but once again I was incredibly impressed at the sheer range and depths of topics and knowledge that students demonstrated.

This year’s conference was held at Cardiff Metropolitan University and it had been nine years since it was last held here. Anyone who had not been on campus since then would have noticed the many changes that have taken place since then, not least of all the name.

The conference started with Dr Paul Hutchings setting the scene for the day’s events and calming everyone’s nerves. We then moved onto three parallel sessions in the morning. Talks ranged from exploring the best predictor of religiosity to using addictive internet use to predict substance abuse, from pain empathy toward a robot to gender differences in online dating app swipes, and from a male perspective of intimate relationships to caring for individuals with dementia.

During a very enjoyable lunch, attendees had the opportunity to mingle and view the posters which covered topics such as the impact of blue/green space on stress, affect, and happiness, and developing a positive wellbeing programme for university students. After lunch we had two more parallel sessions.

 

To conclude the conference I gave the keynote address which I feel went well – no one fell asleep, the audience interacted with me, people laughed with me rather than at me, and the questions were very insightful. In wrapping up the whole event, Dr Paul Hutchings awarded the prizes for first and second best posters – Rebecca Nicholls (Cardiff Metropolitan University) and Murat Karakas (Bangor University) respectively – and for first and second best talks – Bethan Elliott (Cardiff Metropolitan University) and John Butler (Cardiff University) respectively.

Having been chair of the Welsh branch, I am acutely aware of how much time and effort these conferences require especially when they are usually done through members’ goodwill. Thank you to all of those who helped out in organising such a smoothly-run event.

So, all in all, a wonderful conference. See you all again next year.

Becky had this to say about the event:

“The BPS student conference was a really valuable experience, it gave me a better understanding of both the BPS as a whole, and the way in which a conference would typically run. It was also very interesting to hear about other students projects from undergraduate and masters. I would highly recommend anyone to attend as it will also make a nice addition to a CV, and I look forward to attending next year with my masters project.”

And Bethan got straight to the point saying this,

“it was wonderful, really enjoyed it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 


From Cardiff to Cambridge : O Gaerdydd i Gaergrawnt

We always like to hear what our graduates get up to next, and are often amazed by what they go on to do.  This week, we have a new contribution from Tess Liddell.  Tess graduated a year ago, and now lives and studies in Cambridge.  Here, she tells us about her decision to study Psychology and describes what she is up to now.

 

Prior to attending university, I had been working as a Data Coordinator in the banking sector. Although I knew this was not the long-term career I wanted, I was unsure about my future career goals. The only thing I was certain of, was my fascination with Psychology and the structure and function of the human brain, both in health and pathology. It was this interest which encouraged me to apply for the BSc (Hons) Psychology degree programme at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

It was not long before I knew this was the right programme for me, and I vividly recall being in one of my first lectures with a sense that I was exactly where I should be. I found the programme itself varied and interesting, and being given the opportunity to select my final year modules allowed me to tailor the programme to my specific interests. Making the most of the work placements available through the programme also allowed me to gain experience working with service-users, and provided me with the opportunity to integrate theory and practice in a non-academic setting.

Whilst I found the programme itself challenging, I utilised the feedback I received to make improvements to my work and most importantly, my understanding of the topic areas. As I originally did not know what career I wanted to aim for after my degree, I kept an open mind and tried to develop my understanding and skills in various areas of Psychology. I found this not only helped me to better understand what type of career I wanted, but it also helped me to not limit my future trajectory. For instance, although I had never considered a career in research, and frankly I initially found the concept quite daunting, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the research element of the programme. Taken together with the academic support I received, along with the unwavering mentoring support provided by the staff at Cardiff Metropolitan University, I was given the support and confidence to apply to graduate school so that I could pursue a career in research.

Having now graduated from the BSc (Hons) Psychology degree programme, I am completing an MPhil in Basic and Translational Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge. During my current programme, I am applying the knowledge and skills that I developed during my undergraduate degree to my current thesis project, where I am working at the John van Geest Centre for Brain Repair at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge. Since starting my MPhil programme, I have been granted an MRC Research Studentship, which will allow me to further my research training after my MPhil to complete a PhD in Biological Sciences at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at the University of Cambridge, bringing me one step closer to a career in research. I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today if it was not for the guidance and support provided by the staff at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Tess at graduation last year

Dr Mike Dunn employed Tess as a research assistant in the summer break between her second and third years said this about Tess:

Tess Liddell is that extremely rare student who exudes enthusiasm and ability in equal high measure. Tess is without doubt one of the most gifted and diligent students it has been my pleasure to teach. I am convinced that she will excel in whichever field of study/research she embarks on in the future and I wish her all the very best.

And Dr Leanne Freeman, who was tutor and supervisor for Tess in her final year said this:

I had the pleasure of supervising Tess during her undergraduate dissertation. Tess was an ideal student in that she was constantly seeking feedback which she utilised to improve her work. Tess is a brilliant researcher and I look forward to watching her career develop. 

Tess receiving the Ede and Ravenscroft Award

 

O Gaerdydd i Gaergrawnt

 

Rydyn ni bob amser yn hoffi clywed yr hyn y mae ein graddedigion yn ei wneud nesaf, ac yn aml yn synnu wrth glywed am yr hyn y maent yn mynd ymlaen i’w gyflawni. Yr wythnos hon, mae gennym gyfraniad newydd gan Tess Liddell. Graddiodd Tess flwyddyn yn ôl, ac mae hi bellach yn byw ac yn astudio yng Nghaergrawnt. Yma, mae hi’n dweud wrthym am ei phenderfyniad i astudio Seicoleg ac yn disgrifio beth mae hi’n ei wneud nawr.

Cyn mynychu’r brifysgol, roeddwn wedi bod yn gweithio fel Cydlynydd Data yn y sector bancio. Er fy mod yn gwybod nad dyma’r yrfa hirdymor yr oeddwn yn ei dymuno, roeddwn yn ansicr ynghylch fy nodau gyrfa yn y dyfodol. Yr unig beth yr oeddwn yn sicr ohono oedd fy niddordeb mewn Seicoleg a strwythur a swyddogaeth yr ymennydd dynol, mewn iechyd a phatholeg. Y diddordeb hwn a’m hanogodd i wneud cais am y rhaglen gradd BSc (Anrh) mewn Seicoleg ym Mhrifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd.

Nid oedd yn hir cyn i mi wybod mai hon oedd y rhaglen gywir i mi, ac mae gen i gof byw bod mewn un o’m darlithoedd cyntaf gyda synnwyr fy mod yn union le y dylwn fod. Roedd y rhaglen ei hun yn amrywiol ac yn ddiddorol, ac roedd cael y cael i ddewis fy modiwlau blwyddyn olaf, yn caniatáu i mi deilwra’r rhaglen at fy niddordebau penodol. Roedd manteisio i’r eithaf ar y lleoliadau gwaith sydd ar gael drwy’r rhaglen hefyd yn caniatáu i mi gael profiad o weithio gyda defnyddwyr gwasanaeth, a rhoi’r cyfle i mi integreiddio theori ac ymarfer mewn lleoliad nad yw’n academaidd.

Er bod y rhaglen ei hun yn heriol, defnyddiais yr adborth a gefais i wneud gwelliannau yn fy ngwaith ac, yn bwysicaf oll, fy nealltwriaeth o’r meysydd pwnc. Gan nad oeddwn yn wreiddiol yn gwybod pa yrfa yr oeddwn am anelu ati ar ôl fy ngradd, fe wnes i gadw meddwl agored a cheisio datblygu fy ngwybodaeth a’m sgiliau mewn gwahanol feysydd Seicoleg. Fe wnes i ganfod bod hyn nid yn unig wedi fy helpu i ddeall yn well pa fath o yrfa yr oeddwn ei eisiau, ond roedd hefyd wedi fy helpu i beidio â chyfyngu ar fy llwybr yn y dyfodol. Er enghraifft, er nad oeddwn erioed wedi ystyried gyrfa mewn ymchwil, ac yn wir, fe wnes i ganfod y cysyniad yn eithaf brawychus i ddechrau, rwyf wedi canfod fy hun yn mwynhau elfen ymchwil y rhaglen yn llwyr. O’i chymryd ynghyd â’r gefnogaeth academaidd a gefais, ynghyd â’r gefnogaeth mentora gadarn a ddarparwyd gan staff ym Mhrifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd, cefais y gefnogaeth a’r hyder i ymgeisio i ysgol ymchwil er mwyn i mi allu dilyn gyrfa mewn ymchwil.

Ar ôl graddio o’r rhaglen gradd BSc (Anrh) mewn Seicoleg, rwyf yn cwblhau MPhil mewn Niwrowyddoniaeth Sylfaenol a Throsiadol ym Mhrifysgol Caergrawnt. Yn ystod fy rhaglen gyfredol, yr wyf yn cymhwyso’r wybodaeth a’r sgiliau a ddatblygais yn ystod fy ngradd israddedig i’m prosiect traethawd ymchwil cyfredol, lle rwy’n gweithio yng Nghanolfan John van Geest ar gyfer Trwsio’r Ymennydd yn Ysbyty Addenbrookes yng Nghaergrawnt. Ers dechrau ar fy rhaglen MPhil, rwyf wedi cael Ysgoloriaeth Ymchwil MRC, a fydd yn caniatáu i mi ymestyn fy hyfforddiant ymchwil ymhellach ar ôl fy MPhil i gwblhau PhD mewn Gwyddorau Biolegol yn Uned Gwybyddiaeth a Gwyddorau’r Ymennydd MRC ym Mhrifysgol Caergrawnt, sy’n dod â mi un cam yn nes at yrfa mewn ymchwil. Gallaf ddweud yn onest na fyddwn i le ydw i heddiw, pe na bai am yr arweiniad a’r gefnogaeth a ddarparwyd gan staff Prifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd.

Cyflogwyd Tess gan Dr Mike Dunn fel cynorthwyydd ymchwil yn ystod egwyl yr haf rhwng ei hail a’i thrydedd flwyddyn a dywed y canlynol am Tess:

Myfyriwr hynod brin yw Tess Liddell sy’n llawn brwdfrydedd a gallu mewn mesur uchel iawn. Yn sicr mae Tess yn un o’r myfyrwyr mwyaf dawnus a diwyd y bu’n bleser gennyf ei ddysgu. Rwy’n argyhoeddedig y bydd yn rhagori ym mha faes astudio / ymchwil bynnag y mae’n ei ddilyn yn y dyfodol ac rwy’n dymuno’r gorau iddi hi.

A dywedodd Dr Leanne Freeman, a oedd yn diwtor a goruchwyliwr Tess yn ei blwyddyn olaf:

Cefais y pleser o oruchwylio Tess yn ystod ei thraethawd hir israddedig. Roedd Tess yn fyfyriwr delfrydol gan ei bod hi’n gyson yn chwilio am adborth a ddefnyddiwyd i wella ei gwaith. Mae Tess yn ymchwilydd gwych ac edrychaf ymlaen at wylio ei gyrfa yn datblygu.

 

 

 

 

 


Para-athletwr elit yn y gamp tenis cadair olwyn, a myfyriwr Seicoleg

Mae Fran Smith yn fyfyrwraig lefel 4 ar y cwrs BSc Seicoleg ym Mrhifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd. Yma, mae hi’n dweud wrthym am rhan arall pwysig iawn o’i bywyd ble mae hi’n hyfforddi fel chwaraewr tenis cadair olwyn a sut mae Seicoleg wedi helpu gyda hyn.

 

Fy enw yw Fran Smith, rwy’n 18 oed, ac yn bara-athletwr elit yn y gamp tenis cadair olwyn. Cefais gyfle i fynychu fy ngwersyll tenis cadair olwyn cyntaf ar 05/06/17 ac ar hyn o bryd rwyf wedi cyrraedd y brig o blith merched iau Prydain ac yn dal safle 38 o blith merched iau y byd. Ar hyn o bryd rwyf yn fy chweched mis o chwarae ac yn ystod y cyfnod hwnnw rwyf wedi ennill yr aur mewn tenis merched iau i senglau a pharau yn y British Open yng Ngemau Ysgolion 2017.

Mae hyn yn swnio’n dipyn o gamp, tydi? Efallai fod hynny’n wir, ond wnes i ddim eistedd mewn cadair olwyn chwaraeon gyda raced tenis a datblygu’r gallu anhygoel i chwarae.

Roeddwn i eisoes wedi chwarae tenis am 13 mlynedd gan ddefnyddio fy nghoesau. Ond erbyn imi gyrraedd 16 oed roedd rhaid i mi roi’r gorau iddi oherwydd nid oedd fy nghorff yn ymdopi, ac roedd y perygl o wneud niwed difrifol i’m coesau yn rhy uchel. Am 6 blynedd rwyf wedi bod mewn brwydr gyda’m corff a gyda’r Gwasanaeth Iechyd. Gyda’i gilydd, rwyf wedi gweld 6 ffisiotherapydd (2 arbenigwr), 2 rhiwmatolegydd, 1 niwrolegydd, 1 arbenigwr clust-trwyn-gwddf (ENT) ac un meddyg teulu pryderus dros ben.

Pe byddech chi’n fy ngweld i, fyddech chi ddim yn meddwl bod gen i anabledd (rwy’n dal i aros i rywun ddod i weiddi arnaf mewn maes parcio na ddylwn i fod yn deilwng i gael bathodyn glas), yn bennaf oherwydd fy mod i’n gallu cerdded.

Mae seicoleg yn hanfodol i mi, yn enwedig gan fy mod yn dod yn fy mlaen mor gyflym yn fy nghamp. Y llynedd, roeddwn i’n drist drwy’r amser, yn fwy trist nag arfer, oherwydd doedd gen i ddim chwaraeon yn fy mywyd, ac yn teimlo bod gen i ddim byd i’w wneud, dim uchelgais, ac yn y bôn, dim bywyd. Roedd y tristwch hwn yn gwneud imi fyw yn fy mhen yn ormodol a gor-ddadansoddi pob manylyn fyddwn i’n ei gael. Wrth lwc, llwyddais i roi trefn ar fy hun cyn imi droi yn gadach llestri am weddill fy oes!

Mae fy nghwrs seicoleg wedi fy helpu i mewn sawl ffordd. Un o’r pethau pwysicaf rydw i wedi ei ddysgu yw sut mae eich gwrthwynebwyr yn mynd i ymateb mewn gêm; beth mae eu hosgo, eu hedrychiad, eu safiad, eu symudiad a’u patrwm o chwarae yn ei ddweud wrthyf. Ond mae un peth sydd hyd yn oed yn bwysicach na’r rheiny; fy seicoleg fy hun. Yr elfen fawr yw fi fy hun yn byw y tu mewn i’m pen ar y cwrt oherwydd, wrth gwrs, mewn gêm senglau, dim ond chi a’ch gwrthwynebydd sydd yno. Rwy’n gwybod nawr os oes rhywbeth yn mynd o le ar y cwrt bod angen i mi newid pethau yn y fan a’r lle, ac yna, mae angen meddwl beth all fynd o le a pham.

Enghraifft wych yw’r gystadleuaeth ddiwethaf yr oeddwn i’n cystadlu ynddi, sef y Wheelchair Tennis Nationals cyn y Nadolig 2017. Collais y gêm gyntaf achos ’mod i’n teimlo fel pe bai gen i gartŵn o geiliog deri yn fy mhen. Yn hytrach na chanolbwyntio ar fy ngwrthwynebydd, roeddwn i’n meddwl yn ormodol am yr elfennau yn fy arddull i. Ar ôl imi gael ychydig o amser i feddwl, sylweddolais mai’r rheswm roeddwn i wedi colli’r gêm oedd fod gormod o bobl wedi bod yn gofyn imi beth oedd fy nghynllun ar gyfer y gêm, sut oeddwn i am eu trechu nhw, pa strategaethau oedd gen i, ac ati. Mae gormod o hyn cyn mynd allan i chwarae yn gallu bod yn llethol.

Diogel yw dweud, erbyn imi chwarae’r gêm gysur gyntaf, roeddwn i wedi rhoi’r gorau i’r ceiliog deri, ac wedi dileu popeth o’m meddwl. Canolbwyntiais ar ddim ond chwarae tenis, ac yn sgil hynny, llwyddais i ennill y rownd gysur a churo dwy ferch sy’n cystadlu yn fy erbyn am le yn nhimau Prydain. A dweud y gwir, yn ystod y ddwy gêm honno, doeddwn i ddim yn teimlo bod gen i ymennydd, yr unig beth yn fy mhen oedd pêl denis.

Yn amlwg, dim ond camau bychain ar y daith yw’r rhain, ond mae seicoleg wedi dysgu un peth i mi, mae wedi fy nysgu i stopio a meddwl. Ac os nad oes gennych chi fawr ddim synnwyr cyffredin, fel fi, mae hynny yn rhywbeth pwysig dros ben.

 


Elite tennis and a degree in Psychology

Fran Smith is a level 4 BSc Psychology student at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Here, she tells us about another important part of her life, where she’s training as a wheelchair tennis player and how Psychology has helped.

My name is Fran Smith. I’m 18 years old, and I’m an elite para-athlete in wheelchair tennis. I attended my first wheelchair tennis camp on 05/06/17, and currently I am the number 1 junior female in Great Britain and overall number 38 female junior in the world. Currently I am in my 6th month of playing and within that time I have won the British Open Junior Girls Singles and double gold in singles & doubles at the School Games 2017.

It all sounds pretty impressive, right? It might be, but I didn’t sit in a sports wheelchair with a tennis racket and gain the wonderful ability to play. For 13 years I was a tennis player in the running game. At age 16 I had to quit because my body could not cope and the risk of doing severe damage to my legs was too high. For 6 years I have had a battle with my own body and the NHS. In total, I’ve had 6 physiotherapists (2 of which were specialists), 2 rheumatologists, 1 neurologist, 1 ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist and 1 very scared general practitioner (GP). If you were to see me in person you would not believe I have a disability (I’m still waiting for someone to come yell at me in the car park about how I’m unworthy of a blue badge), mainly because I can walk.

Psychology is crucial to me, especially as I’m progressing so fast within my sport. Last year I was sad all the time, more sad than usual, because I had no sport, what felt like nothing to do, no ambition, and basically no life. This sadness led to me living inside my head too much and anxiously over analyzing every detail I was given. Luckily, I managed to pull myself together before I turned into a bed slug for the rest of my life.

My psychology course has helped me in many ways. The obvious one being of how the opposition is going to react in a game; what their expression tells me, their position, their movement, their pattern of play. But there is one even bigger than that; my own psychology. The big element being me living inside my head on court because of course in singles, it’s you and your opponent. I now know that if something isn’t going right on court I need to change it there and then, by thinking what’s going wrong and why.

A prime example is the latest tournament I competed in which was the Wheelchair Tennis Nationals just before Christmas ’17. I lost my first match because I felt like I had a cartoon road runner in my head.  Instead of focusing on my opponent I was too focused on getting my elements right. After some down time after the match I realized that the reason I lost is because too many people came up to me asking what my plan was for the game, how was I going to beat them, what strategies did I have? All that before a match can be pretty overwhelming. Safe to say that by my first consolation match I had given the road runner a boot and replaced it with nothing. I just played tennis. By just playing tennis I won the consolation overall and beat two women I am in direct competition with for a spot on any GB teams. In all honesty, during those two matches it didn’t even feel like I had a brain, I’m pretty sure it was a tennis ball in my head instead.

Obviously, everything is still baby steps towards my goals but one thing psychology does is makes me stop and think. Which if you lack as much common sense as I do, that is a massive thing.