Undergraduate Dissertation Prize 2018

Congratulations to Suzanne Taff, the recipient of the Undergraduate Dissertation Prize 2018, who was presented with her award by Professor Elizabeth Wood during the School of Education graduation reception.

Suzanne's dissertation was nominated for the award by her course tutor, Dr China Mills, as it showed strong evidence of sophisticated, scholarly and thoughtful research.

China commented, "The dissertation was well-argued, carefully researched, and evidenced of creative and well-developed research skills applied to a really fascinating topic. The work was highly original and was such a pleasure to read. With some further work I strongly believe the dissertation could be published, and I would love to see the research further developed in postgraduate and PhD level study.

Sue has been an absolute joy to work with over the past year. She has a wonderful open minded and inquisitive approach to research, and has been open and responsive to feedback. Sue is keen to pursue further postgrad study with us at Sheffield, and I think by awarding her the prize we would be giving much needed encouragement to, and showing belief, in a brilliant future scholar.”

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Suzanne commented on receiving her award:

"I am a bit shocked at winning, to be honest, as the cohort I have worked with has some excellent scholars.  I was lucky, in a way, as the idea for the study fell in my lap. A friend asked me to attend a session on  sleep during my second year work placement and I nearly didn't go, but am so pleased that I did.  It flagged the similarities in symptomology of sleep disorder and ADHD.  As an ex-teaching assistant who worked with children with Special Educational Needs I had a keen interest in ADHD, and this link made sense.  I couldn't gain access to any data once I left the placement, so I spent the summer sourcing contacts and setting up an alternative route into the organisations working with sleep disordered children.  Establishing a framework for involvement created a snowball effect and data poured in steadily through the year, culminating in case studies and hospital visits toward the end of the year.  

I trained as a sleep practitioner as part of my volunteer role, during the research, and am hoping to provide a voluntary clinic for the charity I worked with.  I have also enrolled in the Masters course in Psychology and Education at Sheffield university and am aiming for a career supporting children with mental health issues and SEN.

I had the pleasure and delight to work with China Mills. It felt like I'd hit the jackpot when I found out who I had been allocated and I never lost that feeling!  She was, and is, amazing both in terms of encouragement and expertise.  I would not have won without her."