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Elle Pearson Case Study

Elle Pearson

Elle Pearson has recently graduated from Warwick Medical School and was the Editor of Reinvention, Warwick’s journal of undergraduate research, during her final year. She shares how the experiences shaped her career plans as a clinical academic.

Elle’s first steps into undergraduate research

Elle was first captivated by the “dark, weird and whacky” research studies covered in her A-level and undergraduate psychology courses – but it was the role of research as a key driver in change and decision making in the medical sphere that drew her into it as a potential career route.

“Research came up consistently as something that underpinned the reasons behind decision making - especially in a subject like Medicine,” she says. “I wanted to be involved in something instrumental in sparking important change.”

“Through my own tribulations trying to work in research and get published, I thought Reinvention was an exciting project to inspire undergraduates. It offers first-hand experience to publish their findings and gain experience in the process, which I think is rare for undergraduate students.”

Making the most of an unprecedented situation

Aside from Reinvention, Elle has had several opportunities to get involved in research throughout her medical degree. She is particularly proud of her contribution to a study implanting blood sugar monitors in COVID-19 patients during the pandemic.

“In recent years, there has been a postcode lottery of diabetes patients' access to these technologies on the NHS,” she explains. “Contributing to more research which can demonstrate the multiple benefits of insulin pumps may expedite their use in the wider NHS, making them more accessible in the long term – not just in COVID-19.”

During the initial COVID-19 outbreak, Elle took advantage of an opportunity to conduct research during an unprecedented time.

“I was fortunate that University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire had allocated funds for medical students to assist with research and I was more fortunate that I had a member of staff, Dr Tim Robbins, who encouraged us to come forward with new ideas,” she continues.

“I was listed as co-author on a couple of publications. The most important thing I had taken forward from this experience though is that I wanted to work in a similar way in the future when I'm a more senior doctor and open doors for other people interested in research.”

Forming an approach to a research career

Elle says her time editing Reinvention has given her an appreciation for the academic research and publishing process – and recommends it as a stepping stone into research for undergraduates.

“My work with Reinvention has made me want to work in a way that uplifts others and creates more accessibility in research in the future - both in engaging others and in making research accessible to others so findings can be used in everyday lives and systems,” she says.

“Reinvention is a brilliant opportunity for new researchers to experience the publication process first-hand rather than through a supervising academic. Those skills and experiences really stand you out from the crowd when going forward with your future career.”

Her biggest tip for budding undergraduate researchers? Be bold, and don’t be afraid to reach out to those who are researching things that fascinate you.

“There are plenty of academics out there who are excited to mentor someone and will offer opportunities to you. They remember what it was like.”