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Molly Tong

Psychology Research Assistant, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neuroscience, MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Cardiff University

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I love meeting the families that are contributing to the research we are conducting and spending a day in their life.

What do you do?

I work as a Psychology Research Assistant on a large-scale project investigating intellectual disability and mental health, assessing the genomic impact on neurodevelopment in young people. My role involves working with children with rare chromosomal disorders and their siblings and families. These children present with a variety of different difficulties including ADHD, autism, conduct disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, social phobia and psychotic experiences. I am part of a field team who visit families across the UK in their homes and carry out neurocognitive assessments with children and psychiatric assessments about the child with their caregiver. My role also involves recruiting families, entering data and data analysis.

Why did you choose this field?

Since a really young age I have always be interested in working with people. My interest in psychology, family and personal experiences suffering with mental health difficulties coupled with the high prevalence of mental health difficulties in young people made me realise that I wanted to work in mental health. The opportunity to work and contribute to research that will benefit the lives of many individuals and their families was extremely important when deciding to pursue this career.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

Achieving a First class degree in Psychology and Psychological Practice at the University of Birmingham is one of my proudest achievements to date. I wish I had more confidence in myself and my ability to succeed in this field.

Why do you love working in STEM?

Making a difference to peoples lives. Making a contribution to the development of a better understanding of genetic conditions and the impact they have on both the individual as well as the family. I love meeting the families that are contributing to the research we are conducting and spending a day in their life. It's extremely rewarding!

Best advice for next generation?

Go for it girls! It can be the most interesting, challenging and exciting career! There's a huge variation in opportunities and lots of progression.

Inspo quote / fun fact

I collect the name of Eddie Stobart Lorries! I have a list of over 150 and get quite excited when I see the same lorry for a second time. It makes long car journeys a bit more interesting!