Alumni success heralds bright future for University graduates

Posted on Friday 28th July 2017

Caitlin Jenkins one of the University’s star Alumni has recently successfully secured Economic and Social Research Council funding to undertake a Masters and PhD at Manchester University beginning in September 2017. The research she will be continuing was started during her time as an undergraduate at the University of Bolton and looks at communication and impact of psychiatric diagnoses from service user perspectives.

Caitlin’s interest in psychiatric diagnosis grew out of her own experiences as a mental health service user during many years of ill-health and treatment.  Caitlin was an English Literature undergraduate at Oxford University from 1998-1999 but was forced to leave her course when she became unwell.

Caitlin recalled, ‘When I was at my lowest point I didn’t imagine I’d ever be able to return to university to complete an undergraduate degree, let alone think about post-graduate study. The University of Bolton offered me a small, lively and friendly Psychology department where I was able to rebuild my confidence and where I also received excellent support from the university’s Disability Services. I’m now ready to spread my wings and a career as an academic feels like a real possibility.’

In order to secure this funding Caitlin had to navigate a highly competitive application process including the submission of a detailed PhD proposal. Having been shortlisted, Caitlin next had to attend two interviews with panels consisting of academics from Manchester, Liverpool and Lancaster Universities. The ESRC funding is awarded to the best applicants applying across all three of these institutions which together make up the ESRC North West Social Sciences Doctoral Training Partnership.

Caitlin was supervised and mentored at The University of Bolton by Professor Jerome Carson, who provided her with a reference in support of her application. He says,

‘Caitlin Jenkins was the leading student in a year when three Psychology students averaged more than 80. One colleague described the quality of her writing to already be at PhD level. Her success in gaining ESRC Funding at the University of Manchester is a tribute both to her own hard work and also the lecturers who worked with her during her time at the University of Bolton.’

Caitlin will be completing her studies and research at Manchester over four years after which she hopes to progress to a post in academia.