Education:Woodford County High School For Girls (2001-2008) Keele University (2008-2012) University of Sheffield (2014-2015) University of Warwick (2016-2020)
Qualifications:12 GCSEs, 3 A Levels (Psychology, Government and Politics and Classical Civilisation) & 3 AS Levels (History, Biology and Chemistry), BSc (Hons) Philosophy and Psychology (First Class Honours), MSc Psychological Research Methods (Merit), PGCert Social Science Research (Pass), Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA). I am currently completing my Postgraduate Award in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education & PhD in Health Sciences.
Work History:I took time out between my education to work. Therefore I worked as a Healthcare Assistant and an Assistant Psychologist in the NHS. I also worked as a Research Assistant at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. So I have a mixture of both research and clinical experience!
Currently I'm completing my PhD full time in Health Sciences at the University of Warwick. I also work as a Lecturer at both the University of Warwick and at Birkbeck, University of London. My teaching responsibilities vary from helping medical students work through their clinical cases to teaching undergraduate students about how to carry out research.
University of Warwick
Favourite thing to do in my job: Finding answers to difficult questions
My name is Farah and I'm a 3rd year PhD student studying Health Sciences, at the University of Warwick.
Hi ! My name is Farah. I’m a 3rd year PhD student at the University of Warwick, which is in Coventry. I’m born and raised in London. However, I’ve lived and worked all over the country since I turned 18 (London, Stoke-On-Trent, Sheffield and now Coventry). So I think I’ve experienced a lot of England. I know some might be thinking, what is better? The North or South? Well….I’m not going to answer that question here 🙂
In my free time, I love to watch movies (all types of movies – anything popular on Netflix!) , do volunteer work (I volunteer as a mentor at the University of Warwick, to support students who’ve moved away from home for the first time), love to swim (I have been swimming since I was 5 years old), and am an avid traveller (I’ve been to 12 countries so far).
My PhD is looking at using virtual reality treatments to improve young people's mental health
My PhD specifically is looking at developing virtual reality (VR) treatments to improve the social functioning deficits in those with psychosis.
This is important to do because psychosis is one of the most challenging disorders worldwide. Individuals with psychosis struggle with their social functioning (socialising with others), which can have a detrimental impact in their ability to attend face-to-face treatment. Technological developments mean that there are more accessible methods of providing treatments.
In the first VR treatment, a therapy has been implemented into an online VR platform called Second Life®. Whilst at home, people with psychosis will use a computer to log into Second Life® and attend group therapy in a virtual environment as avatars (a virtual representation of oneself). A virtual therapist will provide immediate support in a safe, controlled and private environment. This study looks at the effectiveness of utilising VR technologies in treating social functioning deficits in psychosis.
Below is a picture of the virtual reality environment, where participants complete their psychological treatment. The avatars are actual patients:
I am also in the process of developing another VR treatment as well, to target these social functioning deficits in those with psychosis.
My Typical Day
Conducting research and doing teaching as well.
There’s no such thing as a typical day in research. However a typical day can be divided between me conducting some research, planning presentations/attending conferences and lecturing as well. However below is an example of a what a typical day could look like:
09:00: I get into the office on campus. Fortunately I live on campus, so its a pleasant 20 minute walk to get to my office. Here I’ll start by doing some administration tasks i.e. answering some emails, putting together some documents.
11:00: I’ll then continue to do some research. So may involve collecting information from the participants taking part in the virtual reality studies I’ve developed. So I may have to travel to their homes, so they can complete the questionnaires and answer some questions. This is important information which will help my PhD.
14:00: I will then return to the office and may have a teaching session, with my medical students. Here my medical students come together in small groups of 7-9 people. They are given a mock clinical case and have to work through it, like as if they are doctors in hospital. So they have to understand the patient, diagnose them with an illness and develop a treatment plan. My job is to make sure they are sticking to task and have fulfilled the learning objectives of each case.
17:00 End of the day (for some!). For me I like to write in the evenings, so I may continue to do some PhD thesis writing.
When working in universities, you are encouraged to present your research at conferences. Below is a picture of me presenting at the Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT®) at the University of Warwick last year, where I won! I was also entered into the UK National Semi Finals:
I also just recently won the award for best presentation in my Department at University on my research:
Safe to say I really enjoy presenting my research 🙂
What I'd do with the prize money
Organising workshops about how digital technologies can improve young people's mental health
I am very passionate about mental health as well as improving young people’s understanding and access to mental health support. Due to the rise of technology use in young people, digital mental health care is a fast growing field of research. Therefore I would like to organise workshops for both students and teachers in order to:
-improve their understanding of mental health in young people, which includes how to identify symptoms.
-Talk about the various types of NHS approved evidence based (which means theres’s research to show it works) technologies (i.e websites, apps) which can be used to monitor and improve young people’s mental health.
-Provide a demonstration of how these technologies work.
-How technological support can be used alongside support students receive in school.
Therefore this will be an educational and interactive workshop for all involved!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Funny, kind and respectful
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My mum and dad. They always encouraged me to fulfil my dreams.
What was your favourite subject at school?
English (and psychology when I took it at A-level)
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
No (but I did get told off once from the headmistress for not tucking my shirt in - we had a very strict school uniform policy !)
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I would have become a secondary school teacher
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Going to the Artic Circle to see the Northern Lights Twice!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1. To be able to fly 2. To be able to visit every country in the world ! 3. To have enough money so I can take care of my family
Tell us a joke.
Why don't scientists trust atoms? Because they make up everything