Hannah Lewis

An evidence-based exploration into the strategies used to support individuals with dyslexia/specific learning difficulties(SpLD)
Cardiff Metropolitan University
Tell us a bit about yourself – what stage of your PhD are you in and what’s your project about?
I am on a MPhil to PhD transfer. I graduated from my undergraduate in July 2019 and jumped straight into a full time PhD in October 2019. My project is a Knowledge and Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS) which means I have funding from the European social fund. A requirement of a KESS project is that I work in collaboration with a small/medium enterprise. In my case this is a specialist dyslexia centre in Cardiff, this allows me to gain expert knowledge and experience in my field. The aim of my project is to clarity what strategies are the most effective in supporting young people with dyslexia. There are conflicting opinions over what strategies should be used in the classroom. Many of these actually have no academic evidence base supporting their use! Therefore, I aim to divide the well supported strategies from the rest, to then inform teaching staff of the best practice in helping dyslexic individuals.

What does a typical day or week look like for you?
At the moment, I spend a lot of my time in our research house. Mostly reading and developing my knowledge of my subject area. However, as my project is in partnership with a dyslexia specialist centre, I also spend some of my time here.

What’s one thing that you’ve enjoyed the most during your PhD?
The thing that I enjoy the most about my PhD has got to be the continuous learning and training opportunities. Not every job offers you the chance to keep learning and growing!

What’s been the most challenging part of it?
Imposter syndrome!! Coming straight from my undergraduate was hard. I never imagined that I would even be considered for a PhD program, but here I am. Initially I felt like I need a masters or more experience in my field to be able to do this. However, I have now realised that is not true, but it doesn’t stop the doubt creeping in every now and then!

Where do you see yourself 5 years after completing your PhD?
I think I will still be in research and possibly in academia but hopefully in another country! One of my main goals is to work internationally so hopefully this will have happened.

What’s one piece of advice that you’d offer students that are thinking of doing a PhD?
I would say to consider three things; 1 are you passionate about the subject area you will be studying? 2 are you self motivated? 3 do you enjoy doing research? If your answer is yes to these 3 questions then I would say go for it! It’s an amazing opportunity but be ready for some hard times along with the good.

What makes your university a good place to study?

Cardiff is a beautiful city with so much to offer. The welsh language and culture really make it unique! Cardiff Metropolitan university is a great place to study, especially as a post graduate researcher. We have two research buildings, one on each campus, both provide a great environment to work in.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I have two dogs, so getting out and walking these takes up a lot of my free time. I really enjoy adventuring and climbing some of the beautiful mountains that we have in South Wales!

Want to know more about Hanna?
Follow her on Twitter and also check out her podcast using the links below:

Twitter | Podcast

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