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UA Alumni: Avril Deegan

Avril was the Regional Winner from the Island of Ireland in the Psychology category in 2021.

Since then, Avril has graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Dublin City University. She is currently a PhD researcher in the School of Psychology in Dublin City University specialising in childhood cancer survivorship.

What are you doing now, and what has happened since the award?

Since the awards, my research entitled: “An investigation into the relationship between social support, stress, and psychological well-being in farmers” was published in the Journal of Community Psychology in February 2022.

I was also co-author of a piece of research entitled “A qualitative meta-synthesis examining spirituality as experienced by individuals living with terminal cancer” which was published in Health Psychology Open in September 2022.

I have presented at several conferences and academic fora, including Teagasc seminars, the 8th Annual All-Ireland Conference of Undergraduate Research 2021 and the 43rd All-Ireland Psychology Student Congress 2021.

After completing my undergraduate degree I completed a Professional Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy from City Colleges receiving an award of distinction. I then decided to pursue a PhD in Psychology researching childhood cancer survivorship. I am fortunate enough to be a recipient of the Irish Research Council Enterprise Partnership Scheme Scholarship in partnership with Breakthrough Cancer Research.

I also currently tutor first-year undergraduate psychology students in their research skills module. I am also a committee member with the Irish Psycho-Social Oncology Network.

Where do your interests lie?

Academically, my interests lie in cancer survivorship, psycho-oncology and the health and well-being of communities such as farmers.

In my spare time, I am actively involved in athletics and I am a sports scholarship recipient in Dublin City University. I have also represented Ireland internationally a number of times.

Has receiving an award for your hard work helped?

Definitely. Receiving recognition for my work at the Global Undergraduate Awards was a huge confidence boost and was invaluable in helping me to pursue and secure funding to carry out a PhD. It was an honour to be recognised by an international panel of experts, something which is extremely important in academia. Being awarded made my work and ability credible to others. It also gave me the skills and confidence to present my work professionally, as well as broadening my mind to other researchers and research possibilities.

What are your plans/dreams for the future?

I hope to successfully submit and complete my PhD by the end of 2025 and continue with a career in academia thereafter, researching the topics related to my PhD and my undergraduate research as I believe there is more work to be done in both fields.

Why should students submit their work?

I would strongly encourage submitting your work to the Undergraduate Global Awards. It is a fantastic opportunity to showcase your work to a global audience and receive recognition for your hard work. There is nothing to lose, it’s easy to submit and there is so much to gain, definitely go for it!