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Psychology Graduate Profiles

Jack Loughnane, BSc Psychology

Jack Loughnane, BSc Psychology

Current Role: PhD Student, Department of Psychology, University of Limerick

I began the BSc in Psychology not fully understanding just how wide ranging a subject Psychology is. The first years of the degree provided the opportunity to study many different fields within Psychology including Biological Psychology, Cognitive Psychology and psychometric testing, as well as elective modules from outside of the Psychology department. The opportunity to learn from experts in various different fields of Psychology and beyond was particularly enjoyable. Having the chance to engage with a wide range of topics was the perfect way to find out what area of Psychology I was most interested in and my passion for Social and Political Psychology soon developed. The undergraduate modules and completion of my Final Year Project provided me with an excellent base on which to develop my research skills further.

Since graduating, I have gone on to complete the MSc in Psychological Science and I am currently enrolled on the Structured PhD programme. My current research investigates when changing groups leads to successful outcomes in terms of identifying with new groups and intergroup attitudes. Completing my undergraduate degree set me on the path to working in an area of Psychology that I am passionate about and I am consistently inspired by the research conducted throughout the department.

Raymond Boateng, MSc Global-MINDS

Raymond Boateng, MSc Global-MINDS

Current Role: PhD Student, Applied Psychology, Lingnan University Hong Kong

I Joined Global-MINDS just after I had finished a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy at Beijing Normal University.  Global-Minds was my second master degree. Upon finishing my first masters, I felt unfulfilled and decided to go back to my psychology discipline, in which I got my undergraduate training. Coincidentally, I chanced on Global-MINDS programme with its fancy title; European Master in the Psychology of Global Mobility, Inclusion and Diversity in Society.

I applied to Global-MINDS as I found the program to align with my interest and academic goals. Global-MINDS is unique due to its focus on insights into contemporary social and societal issues from social and cultural Psychology. The program is structured such that it suits well with the title. I had the opportunity to attend three partner universities through the required structured student mobility, which enhanced my intercultural experiences.

In my second year in UL, I had the amazing opportunity to intern for Sanctuary with Psychology project and the migration research lab alongside writing my Master Research Project. My time in UL was the best of the lot. I gained practical hands-on experiences and became more confident in research-based expertise on social intervention and integration policies within the spectrum of the psychology of migration and social psychology. I couldn’t have asked for a more rewarding experience.

Through Global-MINDS I developed a great interest in several research areas and analytical skills needed to undertake a higher degree by research (PhD).  I am currently doing my PhD with the department of applied psychology at Lingnan University. My PhD project is situated at the overlap of social and cultural psychology more broadly. I wouldn’t have thought of pursuing a PhD if not for Global-MINDS and my supervisors.

I am extremely grateful for the support I received from all the partner institutions, the supervisors I got to work with and the number of contacts I made during those two years. I strongly recommend this program to any prospective candidate who wishes to be trained in scientific knowledge and gain practical skills in social and cultural psychology.

Beatriz Gómez, MSc Global-MINDS

Beatriz Gómez, MSc Global-MINDS

Current Role: Project Manager and Research Assistant, Department of Psychology, University of Limerick

During my studies in Spain completing a BSc in Psychology specialized in Health and Clinical Psychology, my involvement with several social initiatives, from internships to local and international volunteering, flourished a particular interest in the not evidently visible societal inequalities and the normalized cultural bias within the humanitarian field. Despite my intention of becoming a therapist, these experiences made a turn in my career whilst keeping myself within the psychology field. This is how I found the Global-MINDS programme. It perfectly represented the idea I had in mind, an international programme in psychology involving several universities with an approach on social and cultural psychology, and on top of that, with a diverse cohort of students that enriched every course, group assignment and class discussion.

Among the mobility options, I purposely chose the Diversity and Inclusion Path because it offered the module Political Psychology led by Dr. Anca Minescu, who lately became my thesis supervisor. During my first year, I attended ISCTE in Lisbon (Portugal) and UL. For my second year, I completed an internship with Give Something Back to Berlin (Germany) assisting in projects supporting refugees and migrants living in Berlin; and finally, I came back to UL to complete my Master Research project in collective action and stereotypes about Syrian refugees in Ireland.

The last semester at UL was the most important for me. While developing and writing my thesis, I had the amazing opportunity to be a research assistant to the Migration Research Lab and work in a teaching assistantship with Dr. Anca Minescu. Up until this moment, I had never considered a career in research, but the experience gained working in UL and the research and analytical skills acquired throughout the semester sharpened my eye as a social and cultural psychologist and opened a new career path for me. At the moment, I work as project manager and research assistant at the Department of Psychology of UL with a future ambition of completing a PhD in social or political psychology.

Global-MINDS made a turning point in my life. The programme itself, the international experience and studying alongside a multicultural cohort have made the academic and personal outcomes more rewarding than I ever expected. I cannot but fully recommend this programme to any psychology student interested in topics such as prejudice, migration or any other contemporary issue. This programme will provide you with a valuable set of theoretical and practical skills with a scientific approach in social and cultural psychology.

Niall Canavan, MA Psychology

Niall Canavan, MA Psychology

I was delighted when I was accepted into the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Psychology at the University of Limerick. The course offered an extensive scope into all aspects of psychology—the diverse range of modules allows students to explore the fundamental principles of psychology with its many fields. Although I had very little research experience in psychology, I never felt disadvantaged throughout the course. My lecturers were always there to offer their support and expertise with any questions I had. It is clear from the start that the lecturers want us to do well in the course and go out of their way in helping us achieve success.

The staff also made a huge effort to aid the students in adapting to the unusual circumstances of online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and made the process a much easier experience. While we lost face-to-face contact, the small class and numerous group projects throughout the year really encouraged us to build relationships with peers and lecturers throughout the year.

The programme can be quite intensive, but it was very rewarding, and I enjoyed every aspect of it. Being eligible for a graduate membership in the Psychological Society of Ireland is a huge step in my goal to become a psychotherapist. I would definitely recommend the M.A. in Psychology at UL to anyone interested in pursuing a career in psychology. 

Dr. Sarah Jay, BA Psychology and Sociology

Dr. Sarah Jay, BA Psychology and Sociology

I took the BA in psychology and sociology because I wanted to better understand people and the systems that create an unequal world. I have to say I found psychology quite frustrating to begin with because there were no definite answers, just many different theories about how and why we do the things we do. However, I soon realised that it is more important to ask questions about the world because there are no definite answers. Psychology places an emphasis on teaching students research skills to properly ask those questions. After the degree, I went into a PhD and am now conducting research in an area I am passionate about.

Brooke McMullen, MSc Psychological Science

Brooke McMullen, MSc Psychological Science

Born and raised in a small town outside of Boston, Massachusetts, I completed undergraduate studies at The University of New Hampshire in 2016. While working towards a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders, I had the opportunity to spend a semester studying abroad at The University of Limerick in 2015. Ireland always felt like a second home to me, and so I was optimistic about my dream to live and pursue postgraduate studies in Ireland. 

Following my undergraduate studies, I spent 3.5 years working as a Child Developmental Specialist for an Early Intervention agency in Boston, MA., where I provided clinical and therapeutic services to children ages 0-3 years and their families. Simultaneously, also playing a small role in the Eisenhower et al. (2020) study, "The Multi-Stage Screening in Early Intervention: A Critical Strategy for Improving Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Identification and Addressing Disparities". 

I have always been particularly interested in mental health, psychological research, and research involving typical and atypical early childhood development, especially the dynamic history and evolution of ASD. Being involved in this research, even on a small scale, inspired me to pursue a Master of Science in Psychological Sciences, with a stream in Clinical Psychology at UL. 

Firstly, the quality of instruction and the modules' comprehensive structure was challenging yet rewarding. For the major research project (MRP), I was fortunate enough to have Dr. Barry Coughlan as my supervisor, a Clinical Psychologist, who's research interests parallel mine.

Not only did I have the significant research experience, extensive knowledge, and unceasing encouragement of my University supervisor, but I also had guidance from the Healthy UL network and co-investigators of the project. Additionally, I had extensive support from my Advanced Analysis lecturer who dedicated his time to helping me with the research project analyses and interpreting the findings.

Additionally, while completing the MRP, Dr. Barry Coughlan and I began talking about the possibility of constructing a PhD project on Identifying Girls with Autism in Early Childhood, which is now underway. I am beyond grateful for this opportunity, and it is an honour to be connected with and co-supervised by Professor Barry Carpenter, the author of Girls and Autism.

Beyond the academic advantages I have benefitted from my MSc experience in Psychological Sciences at the University of Limerick, I have also developed several meaningful and life-long friendships with other students in the programme. The rigorous nature of the course work, and the compulsory group projects of the modules, fosters an environment of mutual support and friendship building. These relationships are close friendships and stepping stones to important networking contacts for my future education and employment opportunities. 

Dr. Andrew B. Moynihan, MSc Psychological Science

Dr. Andrew B. Moynihan, MSc Psychological Science

Current Role: Lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Limerick

I chose to do the MSc in Psychological Science at the University of Limerick to improve my research skills and training in social psychology. The comprehensive range of modules available on this course in social, clinical, health, occupational psychology, and research methods makes it a perfect choice for those interested in further study with a view to branching into a specific area of psychology. The staff’s broad range of research interests introduced me to an array of interesting topics I had not yet encountered previously such as existential psychology, community psychology, and social identity research, which address key issues in modern society. Small classes on the MSc programme creates an atmosphere of mutual support, which enhances the learning and college experience. This is made all the better by the excellent teaching, first-rate research, and eagerness to help that comes from working with a pleasant, friendly, and professional staff. The University of Limerick is a beautiful and modern campus with excellent facilities. I know that my experience on the MSc in Psychological Science programme has made me more competent, professional, and confident in my career.

Ailsa Seoighe, MA Psychology

Ailsa Seoighe, MA Psychology

Current Role: Trainee Educational Psychologist, UCD

Prior to enrolling on the Master of Arts in Psychology, I completed my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and French at the University of Limerick. In my final year, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in psychology but needed to acquire eligibility for Graduate Membership of the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) as my next step. While visiting a graduate fair, I discovered the Master of Arts in Psychology. It fitted all my criteria, in terms of acquiring PSI accreditation to enter postgraduate professional programmes, enhancing job prospects, completing a broad range and depth of modules developing my research and academic skills, and continuing my studies at a university that always provided me with an incredibly positive learning environment.

Whilst on the course, my passion for psychology continued to flourish. The aspect of the course that stands out to me first and foremost are the support networks that are fostered through team work with class mates. The opportunities for group assignments with other students also allowed for active rather than passive learning, which prepared us for the realities of the workplace. The teaching staff always valued individual skills and interests, and this was nurtured by supervisors during our research projects. The emphasis that the course placed on understanding the practical application of psychology aided me to transfer the skills taught to various social settings. One module in Community Psychology allowed me to develop an interest in how children come to make sense of their social worlds and how environmental factors shape early social understanding. This consequently influenced my professional, academic, and research interests going forward.

The psychological based competencies acquired on the course enabled me to stand out at interviews and I secured a position on the Focus Ireland Graduate Programme upon completion of the Master of Arts in Psychology. Following on, I worked with voluntary agencies and the Health Service Executive as an Assistant Psychologist supporting individuals with disabilities.

The grounding that I developed in my theoretical knowledge, research abilities, and psychological concepts was a major stepping stone in entering the academic and professional world of psychology, and ultimately the foundation towards gaining my place on the Professional Doctorate in Educational Psychology at University College Dublin. Upon completion of the professional doctorate, I hope to practice as an Educational Psychologist with the National Educational Psychological Service to support the emotional, educational, behavioural and psychological development of children.