Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work

Student Profiles

  • Rebecca Clawson student profile 400x400

    Rebecca Clawson


    Having such good facilities inspires me to work harder for my degree.

    I chose Oxford Brookes as it has a good reputation and great facilities. When I attended an Open Day everyone was really friendly and made me feel welcome.

    I chose to study Nutrition because it’s something I’ve always had an interest in, particularly how diet can affect so many aspects of a person’s health. I also love the fact that Nutrition can lead to so many different careers.

    Nutrition at Brookes allows you to experience so many different areas, making you feel really well prepared for your future career. I really enjoy having guest lecturers come in to talk to us; I find this really beneficial as you can talk to people in careers that you may be interested in for the future. Having such good facilities inspires me to work harder for my degree.

    After my undergraduate degree, I plan on completing a personal training qualification and working as a Sports Nutritionist and Personal Trainer.

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    Becky Lear


    There are so many opportunities with nutrition, so I will see where it takes me!

    Oxford Brookes appealed to me because of its reputation – it’s highly regarded and frequently ranks as the best modern university. After attending an Oxford Brookes Open Day I found that the welcoming lecturers, friendly students and excellent facilities exceeded all expectations and I instinctively knew that this was the university for me!

    The course’s modules are diverse and the small number of students on the course means your contact time with lecturers is maximised. My academic advisor in particular has been invaluable. In addition, the Functional Food Centre at Brookes does lots of nutritional research and they offer students the opportunity to take part in research studies, which is a great way to put theory into practice!

    On placement I’ve gone out to the John Radcliffe Hospital. Working with a dietician and helping with feeding the elderly has been a great opportunity to witness how nutritional needs are met in a clinical setting.

    After completing this course, I plan either to complete a postgraduate degree in dietetics, or do a graduate scheme with a supermarket. There are so many opportunities with nutrition, so I will see where it takes me!

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    Emma Young


    I gained real insight into how studies are carried out and analysed.

    The staff are incredibly supportive and are fully aware that university can be a stressful place to be at times. They make it their priority to help you with any query you may have; to say they have been patient is an understatement. The lecturers are amongst the top leading academics in their fields and I feel very privileged to have their opinions and advice on hand whenever I need it.

    I helped my lecturer with some research over the summer discussing the effects of alcohol on foetuses during pregnancy, which gave me a real insight into how studies are carried out and analysed. This was invaluable to my dissertation and I got paid for my time too.

    Once I complete my course I plan to work for a small company, possibly in food manufacturing or cooking.

  • Ella Boorman student profile 400x400

    Ella Boorman

    Occupational Therapy

    It’s a great course that can lead to careers in various healthcare areas.

    I’ve always wanted to have a career that involves helping people. An occupational therapy course seemed like a great choice because it can lead into a vast number of career areas. When I came to the Brookes open day I instantly felt at home. The lecturers were all very friendly and welcoming, so I knew this was the course for me.

    I’ve really enjoyed learning about the anatomy and physiology of the human body, as well as the disorders that can affect us throughout our lives. It’s been interesting to discover how essential occupational therapy is in our lives to ensure health and wellbeing. I also greatly enjoyed the placement element of my course, as it allowed me to see, in practice, what I have learned. I had a highly supportive practice educator who enabled me to increase my confidence and competence.

    The living accommodation is close to campus and has all the facilities you need. There’s a great range of books in the library as well as plenty of study areas to complete your work. There are also lots of opportunities to make friends through clubs and societies. The fresher’s fair is a great chance to find societies and clubs that you can get involved with and make like-minded friends.

    Hopefully once I’ve completed the course I will be able to find a job as an Occupational Therapist, although in what setting I’m not yet sure!

    Rob Kuschel student profile 400x400

    Rob Kuschel

    Occupational Therapy

    We were given a realistic idea of what to expect in practice.

    On the course, lectures are often followed up with practical demonstrations and accounts from visiting practising OT’s. Group work, mixed discipline seminars, service user presentations and interaction were all part of our first semester. We were given a realistic idea of what to expect in practice.

    My first placement so far has been a very positive experience. Most of the teaching staff are practising or retired healthcare professionals; this removes the shock of disparity (between university and the real world) that friends of mine at other universities have experienced on placement.

    It’s easy to make friends, everyone is in the same boat in year one. If you are on the same course as someone, generally you share similar interests. The added benefit of a Health and Social Care Faculty is that everyone is really nice as a professional prerequisite!

    During my second year I plan to utilise the careers support offered by Brookes, so that I can begin to work towards building my CV. There is a lot of advice available from varying disciplines within our faculty, however as it is such a broad subject I haven’t identified where I would like to work yet. I expect some more specialist training will be in my near future but not until I have some experience working as a newly qualified OT.

    Ryan Phillips student profile 400x400

    Ryan Phillips

    Occupational Therapy

    This is by far the best decision I have made in my life.

    I have found the support and energy shown by the teaching faculty at Brookes to be second to none. I’ve been encouraged to look for answers myself rather than just being told them in lectures and this has been an effective way for me to retain knowledge.

    My course included a placement which was a very rewarding experience; the team I worked with were very supportive and they encouraged me throughout. I found it very helpful to put the theory I learned in the classroom into a practical setting as this gave me confidence in my own ability.

    The facilities at Brookes are amazing. The new JHB library is well laid out and I have found studying there very productive. Using Moodle and having lectures posted online for access at any time has meant that I can study whenever and wherever I wish.

    You can’t go wrong with making friends, providing you put yourself out there. There are so many societies; you would be hard pushed to not find someone who shares your interests and hobbies.

    Oxford has such a beautiful mix of culture, architecture, nightlife, and green areas surrounding it. I firmly believe I am home and will try my hardest to remain in the city after the completion of my studies.

    Caroline Powell 400x400

    Caroline Powell

    Occupational Therapy

    Already I am sure that I have made the right choice of career.

    Oxford Brookes is a highly regarded university, so I was delighted to have been offered a place to study here. The placements and campus are within a commutable distance from my home in Reading, which is important as I have a family and carer commitments.

    The teaching team have been supportive and the level of personal attention that I have received has pleasantly surprised me. The library staff are helpful and knowledgeable, I have been able to order books online to collect when convenient, and access e-books at home.

    I am currently on my first placement and already I am sure that I have made the right choice of career. I have a supportive practice educator and I am beginning to see the theory I have learnt being put into practice. A patient told us after a home visit that they felt relieved about their progress because of our visit and that was extremely rewarding to hear.

    I plan to work as soon as possible after the course as an Occupational Therapist, but I can see the potential to study for a master’s at some time in the near future.

    Marlon Shephard 400x400

    Marlon Shepard

    Occupational Therapy

    I chose Oxford Brookes because I craved something different.

    To grow and learn as an individual, to build your character, you must come out of your comfort zone. When you beyond your previous horizons and ship off to another continent to pursue your aspirations you go beyond your previous horizons and that’s the reason I chose Oxford Brookes. I chose my course Occupational Therapy because there is a drive in me to me the world a better place. A fundamental goal of Occupational Therapy is helping people to achieve their potential so by learning from the course will help me achieve this. I have really enjoyed the practical seminars as part of my course. We take what we’ve learned in lecture and actually apply it to real world activities.

    The academic buildings are pretty spot on from what I’ve experienced. The main campus is relatively new and has completely accessible areas for any and all students. It’s got a few cafes, a library, study areas, relaxation areas, etc. Oxford Brookes is quite accommodating and willing to adapt to student needs. The social life has been spectacular and it is easy to make friends. There are so many different walks of life here at Oxford Brookes.

    My favourite part about living in oxford is that it is a student city. There are libraries, museums, sports events, heritage sights, etc. The postgraduate housing at Clive Booth is spectacular. It’s accessible and completes the needs of any student.

    I would recommend my course without hesitation. The more “help” orientated people there are in this world, the better off society will be. I also wouldn’t hesitate to recommend my course at Oxford Brookes specifically. There is a community here at Brookes that I’ve not encountered at any other Uni.

  • Kirsty Archer 400x400

    Kirsty Archer


    I love the idea of facilitating a rehabilitation programme for people, to improve their quality of life.

    The organisation and teaching of the Physiotherapy programme here is amazing. There are a lot of practical sessions in which we practice assessment and treatment skills. I particularly enjoy the simulation sessions as it’s a great opportunity to practice before placement.

    We often have guest speakers, either service users or specialist physiotherapists, which are always so informative; it’s great to hear “real-life” perspectives.

    The facilities are great. The skills labs are well equipped and the helpful skills team are always on hand to get extra equipment if needed. We also have the opportunity to practice with technical equipment, such as ultrasound machines and breathing apparatus.

    When I complete the course I plan to apply for a band 5 rotational post to identify which area of physiotherapy I wish to specialise in. I’m also interested in completing further education, possibly an MSc in my area of interest. I’m currently an intern with the INTALECA programme and I’m getting great experience in the world of clinical research.

    Rachael Hinton 400x400

    Rachael Hinton


    Brookes was the place for me; I can’t imagine myself anywhere else.

    The atmosphere at Brookes is friendly and welcoming. The small cohort size means that everyone on the course knows each other well and we all work together with the amazing lecturing team, who really go out of their way to help in any way that they can.

    I like that all of our theory is taught before we go on placement, so you go out completely prepared to start actually being a physiotherapist! The placements are based at such incredible hospitals and community settings, and with the link lecturer you still feel in touch with and supported by Brookes.

    As the Physiotherapy Society President, I get the chance to talk to lots of Physiotherapy students as well as people from the SU and other organisations; it’s a very rewarding role.

    After completing the course I plan to stay in Oxford and work in the NHS. Perhaps in the future I’ll return to Oxford Brookes for their MSc or PhD programmes.

    Nishanthan Thisaveerasingam 400x400

    Nishanthan Thisaveerasingam

    1st Year Physiotherapy

    I have worked at the John Radcliffe (JR) Hospital Neuroscience Department as Therapy Assistant for two years prior to my course at Oxford Brookes.

    I wanted to progress to become a physiotherapist and the JR Hospital agreed to second me for three years to study.

    Because I have been working full-time for the past five years and studying part-time, going back into full-time education is quite intense. But I am really enjoying it and it’s something I want to do. I love the practical part of the course. The theory is quite tough but very interesting. The experience I’ve had at the hospital - seeing the patients in an acute setting – has really helped me on the practical side of things. I’ve just got to knuckle down on the theory.

    I would like to get some experience in different specialities of physiotherapy and then try and specialise in one area. When I have finished my studies I am to come back to the JR Hospital to work as a full-time physio.

    Laurenemma Whale 400x400

    Laurenemma Whale


    I’ve enjoyed getting stuck in and developing as a clinician, as well as a person.

    When I first visited Oxford Brookes I liked the look of the campus and the facilities available. The support and friendliness of the staff appealed to me more than any of the other universities I had looked around.

    I’ve worked out on placement at Neurosciences Intensive Care, Outpatients, Orthopaedics and Stroke Rehab so far. I’ve enjoyed getting stuck in and developing as a clinician, as well as a person. Being able to build relationships with patients and seeing them progress is very rewarding.

    Throughout my time at Oxford Brookes I’ve received a lot of support from my lecturers and academic advisor, as well as the Library services when writing my dissertation. After graduating I hope to get a job working in one of the Oxfordshire hospitals – I’d love to specialise in Orthopaedics!

  • Imogen Mackie student profile 400x400

    Imogen Mackie

    Sport, Coaching and Physical Education

    The atmosphere around Oxford is lovely, there is a real student ‘feel’

    Brookes is one of the very few universities that could enable me to row to a very high standard while still getting a great student experience and studying for the degree I want.

    I love the global, cultural, and psychological elements of my course the most. It’s very interesting to learn about the effect psychology has on sport performance, and how much the cultural side of sport affects society as a whole. I also enjoyed the work experience module where I was required to find a coaching job. This was a great experience for me, it really stretched my coaching ability and I learned so many new skills.

    The living accommodation is really nice at the university, with lots of different options. Cheney halls are right next to the sports centre and Harcourt halls would be great if you’re studying a sports degree as they are on the SHS campus.

    The course has been so useful for me. I’ve learned my likes and dislikes and have found the staff really accessible and relatable. They have supported me 100% with my sport and have helped me in my quest to take it to the highest level. Once my course is finished I’m hoping to further my studies with a master’s, maybe in sports psychology.

    Jamie Abbott 400x400

    Jamie Abbott

    Sport and Exercise Science

    I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned to aspects of my own lifestyle.

    I chose Brookes because of its great location; I wanted to start rowing, which the city of Oxford is perfect for, and the course fitted my interests perfectly.

    I’ve really enjoyed representing the university at regattas and improving my physiology, as well as spending time with so many interesting people. The best part of my course has been the alpine fieldwork module, which includes a trek through the Alps.

    My lecturers are very enthusiastic. They’re happy to discuss material in and out of teaching hours, whether it’s on the syllabus or a personal issue.

    The knowledge I’ve gained on the course has been interesting and relevant; I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned to aspects of my own lifestyle and it compliments my rowing training well.

    After completing my course I’m considering a research-based master’s related to my degree. I would like to be involved in some novel research in one of my areas of interest.

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    Lauren Bolger

    Sports and Exercise Science Alumnus

    I got the job a month after graduating.

    Brookes has everything you could need for research into sport and exercise; from gas analysis equipment to advance body composition analysers. The lecturers are knowledgeable and interested in their modules, the lab technicians provide invaluable help in human performance laboratories, and PhD students give us advice and guidance.

    As part of our degree we were offered an amazing scheme, ‘Inside Track’, which allowed us to network with a vast variety of relevant professionals. We were also able to use the facilities in the Centre of Sports’ high quality strength and conditioning suites.

    For my work experience module I attended the CLEAR unit, an in house rehabilitation centre based at the university. This was eye opening and life changing; I developed an interest in helping clinical patients rather than elite populations, and this is reflected in my current career pathway.

    I’m currently a Physiotherapy Assistant Practitioner at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, based here in Oxford. I got the job a month after graduating. From gaining this essential experience I now have a conditional offer to study Physiotherapy MSc. Once you graduate you are never bound to a certain career path; with the broad knowledge you gain, you can choose the direction you are passionate about.

    Nicole Clewer 400x400

    Nicole Clewer

    Sport, Coaching and Physical Education

    One of my placements led me onto my current role in sports development!

    I’ve worked in the sporting industry for 6/7 years as a personal trainer and I wanted to gain a qualification that would allow me to do more within the industry. I was a competitive powerlifter and always found the psychology behind competition very interesting.

    I enjoy the psychology and sports development modules the most as this is where I would like to have a career. The lecturers are great and very supportive. If you’re a bit unsure about university, like I was, they will help you and support you as much as necessary.

    It’s been really easy to socialise. Everybody on the course is lovely, even if I am almost 10 years older than most of them! I have made some fantastic friends.

    I’ve really enjoyed my placements so far. One of my placements led me onto my current role in sports development! I plan to continue in my role, or maybe work in sports event management. I’m also keen to get into sports psychology.

    Lauren Mangan 400x400

    Lauren Mangan

    Sport, Coaching and Physical Education Alumnus

    I was able to see elite coaching in action and had the chance to carry out my own research.

    I really enjoyed the sociological based modules, where talented lecturers were able to push the whole group to think deeper and gain a real understanding of the subject area. I also had a great placement at the Oxford University rowing club; I was able to see elite coaching in action and had the chance to carry out my own research.

    Living in Oxford was fantastic. It’s such a student focused city; there were endless places to eat out, go for a drink, or party. I was also part of the university lacrosse team which meant lots of weekly socials. Being captain was a privilege and receiving so much support from the university made the experience so enjoyable.

    I left university and immediately got an opportunity to work in Stockholm, Sweden, as a supply teacher in a school. I also undertook some sport development work. After I left Sweden I got a job in Reading, working with a children’s weight management charity. Now I work as a Community Sport Manager for GLL; developing and enhancing new sport programmes, working with national partners, including a 6 month placement with Sport Relief, and developing my management skills. For the future I see an on-going career in sport development.

  • Olivia Casey student profile 800x800

    Olivia Casey

    Social Work

    I had visited other universities but none could compete with Oxford Brookes’ organisation and energy.

    The course encompasses all the aspects that I want within a career; the opportunity to help others, variety in the job role, and the opportunity to go into different areas within social work to broaden my experiences.

    The lectures are always energetic, interesting and thought-provoking.The teaching staff ensure that there are a range of different assessment styles so that each student can excel. The placements are fantastic and help you put theories, models, and communication skills into real life perspective. In my first year I completed a five day shadowing placement and I am currently on my second year 70 day placement.

    The rooms within the campus are available to be booked by both lecturers and students, which is helpful for revision sessions. The facilities are always clean and tidy. The computer suite is always up to date and the library in the main campus is brilliant, you can access most of the texts online via the university's online portal.

    After graduating my plan is to spend a couple of years working with a social work team. I’m yet to decide which area I want to go into, but once I have decided I plan to specialise in that field.

    Emma Podmore student profile 800x800

    Emma Podmore

    Social Work

    As I had been out of education for a number of years I found the Upgrade service particularly useful.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed being a mature student. I have gained knowledge, skills, and have had opportunities which have pushed me out of my comfort zone, allowing me to progress.

    I was able to undertake two different placements, both of which met my learning needs. In my first placement I worked in a voluntary organisation with adults with a variety of needs, including those with addictions, mental health issues, and those who were homeless or offenders. My second placement was within a child protection team. Both of these helped me develop a variety of skills to use in practice.

    The lecturers and practice assessors have always been supportive; I have always felt comfortable in asking for their advice and for a tutorial if needed. As I had been out of education for a number of years I found the Upgrade service particularly useful, providing me with essential tips on how to structure my essays.

    I would like to continue working in child protection for the foreseeable future and will look into specialising in either play therapy or working as a children’s guardian.

    Kelly Reed student profile 800x800

    Kelly Reed

    Social Work

    You become a family/community within the course.

    I chose Brookes because I felt that the course was small enough to be able to provide me with support and because the university itself had a homely feel.

    I really enjoy being able to go out on different placements with different client groups. The placements are informative and challenging, as a student you can take on different roles within the setting. They are great learning opportunities.

    As the president of the Social Work Society I ensure that we all have a social life, whether that’s going out for a drink or going bowling and bringing our children along. In general the social life is excellent as there tends to be something on every night.

    I would recommend this course to others as you get to find out who you really are as a person, whilst also being able to empower and enable service users, which is very rewarding! I would also recommend it as you become a family/community within the course, which also includes the amazing lecturing team!

    When I complete the course I am planning to potentially do a master’s in a specialist area of social work.