60 seconds with BrainWaves Postdoctoral Researcher Ryan Parsons
"My hope is that BrainWaves will make a meaningful difference in the lives of adolescents and those who work with them."
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF, AND WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO WORKING ON BRAINWAVES?
I am originally from South Africa, but I have been living in both the UK and the USA for the past 10 years. I recently completed my PhD at the University of Bath where I investigated flourishing and positive outcomes in adolescents living with chronic pain. Working on BrainWaves provides the ideal opportunity to continue my research with adolescents, with a focus on improving well-being and mental health at this important stage of development.
WHAT IS YOUR VISION OR HOPE FOR THE PROJECT/RESEARCH YOU ARE WORKING ON?
My hope is that this work will make a meaningful difference in the lives of adolescents and those who work with them. I’m happy that I am able to play a part in this big project to promote well-being and assist in improving mental health education and interventions in schools.
WHAT IS CURRENTLY AT THE TOP OF YOUR TO-DO LIST?
Right now, I am working with BrainWaves Senior Scientist, Dr Sarah Bauermeister, on the selection of questionnaires that we will present to the cohort. This important step will help inform future work in the study.
HOW DID YOU GET TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?
I have had quite an unusual path to ending up as a Postdoctoral Researcher. I completed my undergraduate degree in music at Nelson Mandela University in South Africa. However, I had a strong interest in psychology and luckily, the university offered the option to complete core modules in an additional subject, so I was also able to study psychology within my music degree. Due to my love of psychology, I then completed a BA honours degree in psychology at the University of South Africa before moving to London. While living in London, I worked as an executive assistant and as an events manager for the South African Chamber of Commerce, while at the same time studying for my MSc in Cognitive & Clinical Neuroscience at Goldsmiths, University of London on a part-time basis. Following my MSc graduation, I moved to Seattle, USA, where I worked as a travel and events manager while keeping an eye out for potential PhDs. I then moved back to Bath in the UK in 2020 to begin my doctoral research, which has led to my current position in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford.
IF YOU WERE NOT IN YOUR CURRENT JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE DOING?
Well, I always wanted to be a pilot when I was a child, so maybe I’d be flying around the world!