MRes in Physical Activity and HealthCaera Grady, Ireland

Tell us a bit about yourself...
I am 21 years old and I come from County Mayo in the west of Ireland. My hometown, Westport, has been voted the best place to live in Ireland and situated in the heart of the town is Matt Molloy's pub, who was a member of The Chieftains, a famous Irish band. 

I have always had a passion for sport and exercise. Since a very young age, I have played Gaelic Football and have won many championship titles with a small club in West Mayo Louisburgh Ladies GAA. My undergraduate degree was a BSc (Ord) in Health Science and Physiology which covered a broad variety of areas such as anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, exercise physiology, exercise for special populations, exercise instruction, programme design and development, health promotion, and public health practice. I never had a set career goal per se, but I really enjoyed all of the modules which I studied in my undergraduate degree and I pushed myself to get a first class degree as I thought it would be very beneficial for whatever path I was going to persue after my studies in the Institute of Technology Sligo.

Why did you choose Strathclyde for your postgraduate research study?
As I said, I didn't really know where to go after my undergraduate degree. However, after talking to a family friend who has been living in Glasgow for many years, she encouraged me to look at the universities in Glasgow to see what they have to offer. She highly recommended Strathclyde as it is an award winning University for Science and Business. I took one look at the courses they had to offer and I found the ideal course for me.

Tell us about the nature of your research...
My current research is an explorative study about Sedentary Behaviour in Older Adults with Osteoporosis. Sedentary behaviour is leading to the onset of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It is especially prevalent in older adults whom spend up to ten hours a day in sedentary positions. I want to find out about their knowledge and opinions on sedentary behaviour, how it may be affecting their disease and discuss possible intervention strategies that could work to reduce the amount of time spent sitting in older adults. 

What do you like about your research area?
I love that sedentary behaviour is a newly researched area in the Physical Activity and Health field. This is a brand new study, there is no previous research in this area and I like that even this small study could facilitate future research.

Have there been any highlights from your time at Strathclyde, so far? 
I got to attend the Scottish Physical Activity Research Conference with some of the PhD students here in the Physical Activity and Health department. It was a brilliant opportunity for networking as well as build my knowledge on the current research in Scotland.

What's the Strathclyde research community like?
It really is a tight knit community. The overall working environment is very stimulating and that is why I love being able to work from an office in the heart of the department. I was given the opportunity to take up a desk space in the postgraduate research office with other PhD students and part-time staff. The relationship with the lecturing staff is not merely your average lecturer-student relationship but they view the MRes and PhD students as colleagues.

What are the Strathclyde facilities like?
Strathclyde has so much to offer. The student union are always organising events and are really good for sending out notices. Of course, the sport facilities are outstanding. The gym is top of the range and for a very reasonable membership price you get access to the gym, the pool, sauna, and steam room, as well as an unlimited amount of classes per week - a choice of over fifty different types. As well as the student union, there is a sports union which consists of over fifty different clubs. Stepps playing field are located outside of the city for team sports such as rugby, football, lacrosse, hockey, etc. There are many other services that are of top standard such as the library who provide courses for referencing and other helpful tools, IT, international student support, career centre and many more facilities I am yet to explore.

Tell us about the support from your supervisor and the wider Strathclyde team...
I have been extremely lucky to get a supervisor who has gone the extra mile to make me feel welcome into the Physical Activity and Health department. She has so much knowledge and experience with research and has reassured me and given me a sense of confidence in studying in a new area. The wider Strathclyde team that I have engaged with are also very welcoming, supportive and approachable.

What would you like to do after your MRes?
I would like to progress further into PhD research hopefully in Glasgow but it will depend on what becomes available. I really like the field of research and would like to become an academic someday