Involving young people: an interview with Clara

Clara, a member of our young people’s advisory group (YPAG), took part in work experience in the summer 2018 to gain a greater insight into bioethics research. Clara attends a local school and is studying towards the European Baccalaureate. During the week Clara presented at the University of Oxford’s public engagement conference about the work of the Young People’s Advisory Group with Neurosec, and worked on our research including creating study materials and data analysis. She is particularly interested in Psychology and mental health and below shares her experience of working on mental health ethics research. 

What’s something you wouldn’t have done anywhere else?

Well I really don’t think I would’ve had such a good experience anywhere else. Everyone took me in and gave me as many things to do as possible, which gave me a great insight into what it would be like if I were to pursue related paths. I worked on a variety of projects and I think I got the full work experience out of the 2 weeks! I also don’t think I would’ve had the opportunity to attend and speak at the University’s Public Engagement Conference.

What’s something that surprised you about working in a research group?

Hm that’s a good question! I liked how everyone had separate projects that they were working on, but would consult others for help and new ideas. I was surprised by how hardworking everyone was while at the same time so laid back and chilled. You are all very young in the team which made it that little bit easier to relate to… and it made it more fun 🙂

Could you give an example of a project you worked on?

I was given a few projects to work on but among them, was one related to ADHD. This study that Gabi is conducting will include young people from 11-17 years old who have ADHD. The aim of her study is to understand whether they believe that their condition has a good or bad effect on their everyday lives. We worked on the methods of conducting the study; which will be through games, discussions, debates and the analysis of scenarios.

What are you most excited about this project?

I am very excited by the fact that this study may have a twist to it. Most people might assume that it’s a negative aspect of the individual’s life. But through asking the individuals, Gabi will uncover their perspectives and hopefully in some cases there could be a positive and optimistic outcome in the results.

Is there anything difficult about this project?

Well the results need to be accurate so she will have to conduct the experiment in a way that the candidates feel comfortable enough to express their true thoughts and do not feel pressured to say what they think could be a better or right answer. Another difficulty could be concluding the data as there are various different elements that each activity focuses on.

What are your top tips for someone wanting to get involved in mental health ethics research?

My first tip is that you should definitely have an interest in the area, it helps! You can do a work experience or any experience to either solidify your ideas or just help you gain more understanding of the subject. Work experience is also good to put on your CV as it shows your interest but also your willingness, initiative and determination to study and work. Also don’t worry if you are not taking the relevant subjects to do with mental health and ethical research at school, as there are always things to do outside school like YPAG), but also later on in life you may completely switch path.

Tell me ONE thing that you think every researcher should know about working with a teenager.

We don’t know everything yet!

BeGOOD’s work experience plans for 2019

In 2019 BeGOOD Citizens is planning a very specific work experience placement focused on producing digital content to disseminate the results of our most recent research studies. Early next year we’ll be contacting local schools with the opportunity and will advertise the placements online, so if you’re interested come back to the website regularly.

About the Author

Clara is a member of our young people’s advisory group specialising in ethics. She finds her involvement in the YPAG both interesting and extremely enriching. Studying towards the European Baccalaureate, Clara is interested in a career either publishing or biology and mental health.

Link with BeGOOD @begood_eie

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