Hassanat Mojirola Lawal

Country: Nigeria
Sector: Higher Education
Job title: Graduate Research Assistant
Subject of study: Environment and Human Health
Year of graduation: 2019
Type/Level of study: Post graduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

University of Exeter

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

Before beginning my current role as a Graduate Research Assistant, I worked as a Residential Manager in a Secondary School in Nigeria. My role involved managing middle to high school female students in boarding house. My current role involves appraising and synthesizing research and other evidence to address policy needs across health and social care.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

Research has always been something I had a keen interest in. When the opportunity came for the role, I was particularly attracted to stakeholder involvement in designing research questions and throughout the research process in the research team. It meant that my research wouldn’t just be a publication, It could inform policies and practices in health and social care thus improving health outcomes.

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

My biggest highlight was passing with the grade I wanted. I initially struggled to understand what assignments required. I remember scoring low on a module and balling my eyes out. I decided to reach out to tutors individually to get a better understanding of what was required and they were ever willing to help. Seeing my transcript, I was so happy that my struggles were rewarded.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

Visiting the beaches, farms and woods. My friend and I loved to go on a weekday when it was less crowded. It was refreshing for us whenever we got overwhelmed by assignments.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

I chose the University of Exeter because of the guarantee received when I was worried about being visibly Muslim in the University. I didn’t know what to expect from the academic and local community. I contacted the University and it was reassuring to know that I was welcome regardless of the way I appear.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

Critical thinking and analysis. Use of software (EndNote, STATA, QGIS) Systematic Review methodology.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Make the most of your current degree. Pick varying topics for different assignments, It will help you explore different perspectives and build your skills. If possible, you can also volunteer with tutors who work on research you are interested in.

What are your plans for the future?

My long term goal is to a Professor in Population Health. To achieve that, I plan to enrol for a PhD and take up roles that build my skills and expertise to carry out research that impact lives positively.


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