"There are so many opportunities on offer at Sheffield, both for your PhD and for your personal career development."

PhD student Alex Ricketts
Alex Ricketts
Interdisciplinary PhD Student
Faculty of Social Sciences
Alex was granted a White Rose Studentship to study her interdisciplinary PhD, where she works between the Management School and the Information School.
PhD student Alex Ricketts

Why Sheffield?

I applied for this White Rose Studentship, as I was passionate about the topic and the close connection with the project partner (South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue). I was aware of Sheffield’s reputation as a strong research-led University, and I was keen to be a part of that community.

When I applied, I was offered a 1+3 scholarship, which included a masters in Social Research. This extra year provided me with in-depth methods training, focusing on research design and a variety of methods. This year enabled me to develop my knowledge on methods and gave me the opportunity to start thinking about my project in more detail prior to starting the PhD.

What do you do in your PhD?

My PhD project is working in partnership with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR), working with them to evaluate how social media can be used for community disaster resilience.

My project is interdisciplinary and works between the Management School and the Information School, but can also be described as transdisciplinary, as I work outside of traditional academia with SYFR.

What opportunities are there for PhDs to develop their skills?

There are so many opportunities on offer at the University, both for your PhD and for your personal career development.

The University offers a variety of training from specific methods training with the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership (WRDTP), to teacher training, helping you to work towards your Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA).

There is also a wide variety of opportunities for developing your personal skills, such as networking. In my masters year and first year of PhD study, I was the network representative for the Students Union Sustainability Committee. This enabled me to meet lots of people from different environmentally sustainable clubs and societies across the University. Working on the committee was a great opportunity and it was exciting to be a part of that student-led campaigning.

I am also a member of the WRDTP Student Forum as the Women’s representative. This role enables me to work closely with the DTP and other PhD students across all the partner universities, to provide a bridge between the DTP and the wider student body. The student forum also has a role in planning events, such as the annual conference. The White Rose DTP is very supportive of student-led ideas and events, and I really recommend taking an active role and joining the student forum.

What I like about Sheffield

I love living in Sheffield, there is so much on offer, not only in terms of places to eat and drink, but also to explore. There are many things to do within the city, including a variety of museums, galleries and parks. Sheffield is also well positioned to enable visits to other cities, such as Manchester, Leeds and York, and also the amazing Peak District, and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. There is plenty to do in the area on your weekends!

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