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Alumni

Dale Metcalfe

Career Path: PhD Researcher, Northumbria University
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

When coming to university I had plans to go into educational psychology. In my second year of university I took modules that helped guide me toward this career for instance Eating Disorders module and a work placement at the National Autistic Society. Later, between my second and third year at university I was accepted for an internship at the University and initially took this as I thought the experience would show further relevant work experience on an application to an Educational Psychology course following graduation however whilst on placement I realised I was well suited for research and thoroughly enjoyed myself; this inspired me to pursue a more research focused career.

I took a research placement in my final undergraduate year and wrote my dissertation on emotion recognition in people with ASD. Once I had completed my undergraduate degree I was employed as a Research Assistant at Northumbria University and awarded a Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship to study on the MRes Psycholgy. This course was heavily research focused and you could tailor it to your own goals, mine was to gain all of the skills I needed to set me up well for a PhD in Psychology.

What are you doing now?Dale Metcalfe

I am studying for my PhD in Psychology with aims to create a screening tool to detect Autism Spectrum Disorder in people with an intellectual disability.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

I wanted to do a degree in Psychology and was impressed at the course here. Also, it was close to home so I could live there and commute into Newcastle.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

There was a good mix of practical classes and lectures. Whilst the lectures were good at conveying information the practical classes helped cement and action the knowledge from lectures. I found the feedback to be constructive and allowed me to work on areas which I was not performing so well in.

How connected was your course with industry?

The course is very well connected and allowed placements in both my second and third years. During the MRes this was much the same, with a placement taking up most of time. There are also guest lectures most weeks from academics working at other institutions.

If you took on a placement during your course how did you feel this helped you in your career/ with your studies?

My first placement at the National Autistic Society gave me a lot of skills for working with children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. My second year placement as a Researcher gave me further practical skills to carry out research effectively.

What was the best thing about your course?

The choice of placements and having so much freedom in terms of subject area and goals of the dissertation.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

I was able to use the facilities, option modules and the choices we were given in modules to tailor my CV toward a research career in the area of developmental disabilities. The supervisors were very keen to give me the most constructive feedback to help me improve.

Which skills/ knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

Statistics - this is something I didn't even know was on the course when I started, however I now use these skills every week (if not most days) now that I am doing a PhD.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

The freedom the university gave us, not only in terms of option modules but the flexibility within modules themselves.

What advice would you give somebody who is considering studying at Northumbria?

Make sure the course is a good fit for you and make sure it's a subject that you love. Really loving the subject is what helped me get the most out of studying here.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Well worth it.

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