Emily Scrace (BA Psychology 2009)

GCSE students explore routes into Psychology, led by Exeter alumna

Thirty seven GCSE students from Dartmoor Community College were recently welcomed to the Streatham campus to meet alumna Emily Scrace (BA Psychology 2009) and to be inspired about studying Psychology at Exeter.


Emily volunteered her time to support the event, which saw her giving a talk about her career path since graduating from her Psychology degree in 2009. Emily discussed her various roles in mental health and social work, and her current post as a Community Participation Co-ordinator for Barnardo’s children’s charity. The students were keenly interested in Emily’s talk, asking many questions about the career advantages of studying at degree level versus the costs of tuition fees and what kinds of grades they might need to study Psychology at university. Emily commented “‘It was fantastic to step foot again in the Washington Singer building! I loved studying Psychology at Exeter University and see that it gave me the foundations I needed for my career path. I feel passionate about Psychology and mental health and it was so great to see so many young people interested in learning more about it.”

The event was organised to recognise the essential part which the students had played in a research project investigating cognitive thinking styles in adolescents, led by MSc student in Psychology Helen Foster-Collins. As part of the project, Helen visited Dartmoor Community College for three weeks and asked the students to complete a number of cognitive games and tasks on the computer, as well as a drawing task.

At the event the students also met Dr. Ian Frampton, a clinical psychologist and senior lecturer at the University of Exeter, who welcomed the students before handing over to Helen who gave a debrief on her project and discussed what she had found out. Tom McAndrew, Careers Consultant for Psychology at the University of Exeter, also spoke to the students about the transferable skills to be gained from a Psychology degree and the range of careers which study of psychology at degree level might lend itself to.

After the talks, students were able to speak to Emily on a one-to-one basis and try out some psychology activities and games. The students enjoyed trying to better each other’s times at completing the ‘Stroop,’ a famous task used to study how we process words when reading. The ‘Tower game’ also saw the students setting each other challenges in which they had to think and plan ahead before moving cylinders from one peg to another to make a particular pattern.

MSc student Helen commented that “it was great to see these young people so curious and engaged in their learning, and asking thoughtful questions about university study and careers. There was quite a buzz in the room as they tried out the psychology games, so hopefully one or two will be inspired to think about studying Psychology in the future!” GCSE student Hannah, who had played a key part in organising the school’s participation in the research project, said “thanks for an interesting visit and a great insight into Psychology at Exeter. Really eye-opening and informative!”

To find out ways in which you might be able to support Exeter’s current or prospective students to explore their career options, please visit our volunteering pages.

Date: 3 October 2016

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