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Samantha Bowen

Psychology Assistant for the IMAGINE-ID Study, Cardiff University

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After a few weeks of work I realised anything is possible if you put your mind to it!

What do you do?

I am responsible for conducting psychiatric assessments on participants who take part in our research study that investigates children with Copy Number Variants (deletions/duplications of chromosomal material). Children with CNV’s suffer from a multitude of psychiatric conditions including ADHD, anxiety, mood disorders and schizophrenia. Not much is currently known about CNV’s, and so we are hoping that our research will help with the care of families and children now, and also in the future.

Why did you choose this field?

I studied psychology as I was interested in mental health and wanted to work in a role where I could help. Part of my degree was to complete a professional placement year, and I was offered work for a similar project to the IMAGINE Study (The ECHO Study). I was responsible for conducting neurocognitive assessments with child participants. I really enjoyed interacting with the children and feeling like the work we did would help them or others in a similar position. When the opportunity to work for IMAGINE cropped up, I jumped at the chance to secure postgraduate employment working for a project that is going to benefit people in the future.

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

Working in genetics! I always thought that genetics was super confusing and you had to be really smart to work in the industry. However, after a few weeks of work I realised anything is possible if you put your mind to it!

Why do you love working in STEM?

I like that I get to work for a project that will ultimately help people further down the line. As not much is known about CNV’s, I am fortunate that I have gained a lot of knowledge over the years that most people won’t have.

Best advice for next generation?

Due to advances in technology, STEM fields and careers are constantly changing. Working in STEM means learning to adapt to new developments all the time and increases your employability. You learn new things throughout your career despite staying in the same job. Learning new transferrable skills keeps your mind engaged and a big part of job satisfaction is feeling challenged.

Inspo quote / fun fact

My hero is Marie Curie – the first woman to win the Noble Prize and the only woman to win the prize twice and in two different scientific fields!