Case study: Young Research Champions - Where are they now?
Why not consider being a Young Research Champion?
I'm Lizzie and I am currently working as a community pharmacist for Lloyd's Pharmacy in the Stafford/Telford area. I was a member of the group from 2009 until around 2019, and in that time had some incredible experiences and made some great friends.
For me, the best part of joining the group was the people. It was always so lovely knowing that I'd spend the day learning so many new things, surrounded by people my age who shared the same interests as me. The researchers were varied and interesting, and by helping them we genuinely contributed to advancements in medicines and clinical care for children, which felt pretty incredible! The leaders were also brilliant, allowing us to guide the conversations, organising lots of varied and interesting researchers for us, and being fantastic friends- as well as providing the best snacks!
I've also been able to have some incredible opportunities- it was through the group that I went on a plane for the first time when I attended Roche's Rare Disease Day. I've also helped interview candidates for the Chair of the Board for BCH, and gained invaluable work experience when I got to spend a week watching surgeries at BCH, and spend time in the pharmacy department.
Being a member of this group for nearly 10 years definitely had a big impact on me, it helped me gain so much confidence by being able to voice my opinions to professionals and having these genuinely valued, as well as improving my public speaking skills through numerous presentations at conferences. I will always remember the incredible people I have met and the fantastic opportunities I have been able to take as a result.
When I look back at my teenage years my most memorable times are spending time with my friends at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The group was incredible at providing opportunities such as organising Generation R, speaking at conferences, and developing long standing friendships with young people of similar mindsets but different backgrounds. Being a member of the group, I had the opportunity to develop many crucial skills. Teamwork, organisation skills and public speaking are now all strengths in my repertoire. During ever met I would be pushed outside my comfort zone, gain new experiences, and learn a lot!
The fact that I was helping children and other young people with my friends made me feel like a superhero, we were Birmingham’s version of the Avengers. I am blessed with the opportunity to be working at Birmingham Children’s Hospital as a paediatric neurosurgeon. Without the group the skills I use daily would not have matured. I am very grateful to have had the prospect to be a part of the group.
Joining the group was one of the best things I could have done. I started when I was 14, and stayed on throughout my sixth form and university studies. I always looked forward to our monthly meet-ups; it was a chance to connect with other open-minded and forward-thinking young people, where we were able to learn not just off the visiting researchers, butalso each other’s experiences, perspectives and knowledge bases.
It also gave me a massiveconfidence boost, where I learnt the importance of challenging and critiquing the work of researchers, to make sure the end goal was the best it could possibly be. This continues tobe useful to me now, as I am completing my postgraduate degree in Global Mental Health,alongside being a research assistant where I often have to critique different studies that come my way.
Joining the group allowed me to understand how research really is the foundation of all our healthcare, and how the best research comes where everyone gets a say in how it’s done.