Joanna Moch discusses working with people with addictions and mental health difficulties
To say that BSc (Hons) Psychology graduate Joanna Moch packed a lot into her three years at LSBU would be something of an understatement. Like many of our students, Joanna arrived at university determined to involve herself above and beyond her timetabled hours, and the success that she has enjoyed since is testament to her determination and application.
"My extra involvement started pretty much as soon as I had started at LSBU," recalls Joanna. "During my first year, I was offered the chance to be Vice-President of the Psychology Society which was a great opportunity." As part of her role, Joanna was involved in organising and co-ordinating talks and excursions for students, as well as creating and administrating the Society website.
"It not only developed my leadership skills, but made me even more passionate about psychology," she says. "At the end of the year, I was given an award for showing the most initiative – that gave me even more motivation to work hard on my future career."
Joanna's commitment to developing her understanding of psychology was further demonstrated during the summer after her first year. Rather than heading off on holiday for a well-deserved break, she completed the Health & Society Summer School at University College London to gain yet more experience.
"I became involved with the Service Users Drug Reference Group, where I was able to work with people with addictions and mental health difficulties," says Joanna. "It was the most amazing experience of my life, and I'm so glad that I did it."
On her return to LSBU, Joanna carried on with her extra-curricular activities, attending the Autumn School in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Oxford.
"I was offered the chance to assist at the animal laboratory, and gained experience in conducting physiological research on auditory systems. I also managed to secure the Wellcome Trust Biomedical Vacation Scholarship, which enabled me to return the following summer for an eight-week intensive placement with the Auditory Neuroscience Group," she says. "Doing so made me extremely happy, as it meant I was able to make a contribution to improving the health of people with hearing and other cognitive difficulties."
Joanna's academic success, coupled with the clear commitment she had shown through undertaking extra activities, ultimately led her to become involved in the Student Association Scheme (a Teaching & Development Agency project).
"It helped me to develop skills in teaching children with special educational needs," she says of the experience. "I also got involved with the Patient Panel at Wandsworth NHS Head Office where I was part of a team discussing ways to improve the Community Services."
After finishing her degree, Joanna's dedication and hard work still shines through. "I'm continuing my education with the University of Surrey, where I am integrating Health Psychology and Neuroscience," she says. "I'm also committed to my work at the Inpatient Service of Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust as well as trying to get my research published with my 'research guru' at UCL, Professor Robert West of UCL."
Looking back, Joana believes that LSBU has played a big part in the success that she has enjoyed so far in her career. "Everything I have achieved is due to the initial support I received at LSBU," she says.
I will always be grateful to the Psychology lecturers who recognised my potential and nominated me for the Executive Dean's Prize during my final year, and the incredible friends I met at the University. They have all showed me that I can become what I want to be.