Tennessee Randall

Tennessee Randall

PhD Psychology

What did you do prior to completing your PhD?

I completed my master’s degree at Swansea University in Clinical & Mental Health Psychology.

Can you provide a brief overview of your PhD subject?

My PhD Is titled “Sustainable eating for all: Consumer acceptability of sustainable foods and behaviours in culturally diverse populations”. My research considers the psychological factors that drive environmentally sustainable food behaviours, with a focus on recruiting diverse cultural and socioeconomic populations.

Why did you decide to complete a PhD?

Up until I did my master’s dissertation, I felt quite uncertain about my career options. However, the experience of doing a dissertation made me realise how much I enjoyed independent research. I also had amazing support from my supervisor (Dr Laura Wilkinson) who encouraged me to apply for a PhD studentship at Swansea University.

Why did you decide to study at Swansea University?

I have been studying at Swansea since my undergrad degree in Psychology, so approximately 5 years. I feel there a such a strong research community at Swansea and feel privileged to be a part of the Swansea Nutrition Appetite and Cognition (SNAC) group. Furthermore, I have received such great support from the staff throughout my time at Swansea.

What challenges have you faced?

I have had challenges learning how to use statistical analysis software. Much of my research has been qualitative but I wanted the PhD to be an opportunity to develop my quantitative research skills.

Also, managing different projects simultaneously has been challenging but it has improved my organisation and time management.

What have you gained from undertaking your PhD?

I feel that my writing skills have improved since starting the PhD. I have gained experience in writing research protocols, research reports and review studies

My confidence in public speaking has improved as I have presented two poster presentations and spoken about my research methods at the UK Reproducibility Network meetings.

I have had the opportunity to attend a conference where I have met other PhD students from other universities and have gained insight into the current research in sustainable foods.

How will your qualification help your career? Has it already helped your career?

The PhD has provided me with various skills that will facilitate a career in academia, such as data analysis, research writing, collaborating with other academics and working to a deadline.

What’s been your highlight?

The highlight of my experience so far has been creating my own research experiment. This features an online supermarket with approximately 300 products and uses a novel intervention to encourage sustainable food choices in consumers. In this study I am also measuring biological indicators of emotion and it will be my first laboratory experiment so I am really excited to start data collection and have the experience of testing participants in the lab.

What advice would you give to students considering postgraduate study?

I think the opportunities and experiences you get from postgraduate research are invaluable. Since my undergraduate degree I have published two first-authored papers. Postgraduate research also provides you with more career options so I would encourage students to pursue this pathway.