Gemma Riddell

MSc in Psychology

Gemma Riddell was already working at Abertay when she applied to study her MSc Psychology course.

She’d been appointed the Student Association’s Advice and Welfare Co-ordinator, a job she continued during her studies.

Tell us more about your time with the Student Association…

I think my time with the Students Association is a little different to most students. In 2015, a new role of 'Advice and Welfare Coordinator' was created and I was lucky enough to get the job.

This meant creating an impartial advice service for students and advocating for them when they needed me to and collaborating closely with the University. I have worked with some amazing student officers, staff in the SA and University staff. I've made loads of life-long friends - staff and students.

I've also helped a lot of students in need continue their studies which is a great feeling. When I started my course, I worked alongside my studies - everyone was really supportive and I appreciated that both as an employee and a student. 

I guess most people come to the SA through societies or being class reps but I have always seen it as a place where we can make a real difference to students lives. 

Why did you decide to start studying the MSc Psychology course?

Through my job I knew some of the psychology lecturers and they were all very approachable. I had spoken to lots of undergraduate psychology students who had enjoyed studying the subject here. The MSc was a conversion course which meant once completed I would be BPS accredited which was important for me too.


I really want to continue in the higher education sector as a psychology lecturer and hopefully supporting students from the other side of the fence.
Gemma Riddell | MSc Psychology | 2018

Tell us a bit about your dissertation or main final year project...

Lots of studies have shown that you are more likely to pay attention to information that is related to you over information about others. You can be distracted by self-relevant information when concentrating on something else.

For example, when having a conversation with a friend you notice that you hear your name from across the room, you might miss what your friend has said. Information about your self is more easily remembered too. This is known as the 'self-reference effect'. 

I was interested in whether you could utilise self-referencing to improve attention and performance in secondary school children for close reading and listening tasks. 
What's your long term ambition, and what's next for you?

The great thing with studying psychology is that the subject is so vast that there are so many avenues open to you; whether you choose to go straight into employment or further your studies.  

For me, I really want to continue in the higher education sector as a psychology lecturer and hopefully supporting students from the other side of the fence. I'm exploring opportunities to get me there. 

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