On leaving school I attended Queen's University, Belfast and completed a BA (Hons) in Law. I then went on to complete my Master’s (MSSC) in Criminology. I completed my BA (Hons) in Social Work in 2010 and worked as a mental health social worker post qualifying, until 2017. I then began my career in social work education, teaching as part of the BA (Hons) Social Work degree in an FHEI college affiliated with Ulster University for six years. During this time, I completed my Post Graduate Certificate in Education (Ulster University).
While studying my law degree I had a particular interest in law and ethics, receiving an award for the top achiever in the medical law and ethics module in 2005. I also completed a short research study on pornography and its impact on women as part of my gender and the law module studies. As part of this module, I also completed a short literature review on the impact of the social construction of womanhood on women who kill. The dissertation of my masters in criminology focused on the impact of domestic violence legislation on female victims in Northern Ireland (2006). Most recently, as part of my PGCE, I completed a small piece of in-house research on resilience in social work education.
I have a particular interest in the practice learning element of social work education, and how we can best prepare students in a realistic manner to be effective and professional social work practitioners. Within this, the concept of resilience remains an important element to be mindful of, particularly concerning the differing concepts of what resilience may mean to social work employers as opposed to social work practitioners. I also have a strong interest in domestic violence and how female victims and male perpetrators of such violence are managed by the justice system.
As mentioned above, the majority of my research has been small scale in nature and part of wider academic studies.