Featured Day in the Life of; Melissa, PhD student researching Endocrine Disruptors

Hi! My name is Melissa and I am a 2nd year PhD student at Queens University Belfast in Northern Ireland. I am also an Early Stage Researcher for the EU funded project called Protection against Endocrine Disruptors (ProtectED). Endocrine disruptors are chemicals found in food and the environment that interfere with the way our natural hormones work in our body and are associated with many adverse health effects, including metabolic disorders and hormone related cancers. My PhD is on consumer perceptions of endocrine disruptors for the development of efficient risk communication strategies. I use qualitative methods such as focus groups and interviews, and quantitative methods such as cross-sectional surveys to explore what consumers know about endocrine disrupting chemicals, their likelihood to participate in preventative behaviors, and their reactions to risk messages. What I love about my research is that I am directly studying the perception and communication of scientific information by the general public, an important challenge we face today as scientists. Here is a day in my life! —

1

8:00 am – I’m very lucky that my office and the university is literally a 10 minute walk from my house. So there is no need to get up ridiculously early (which I am not a fan of). I like to take some time in the mornings to get ready and do my skincare routine.

2

8:45 am – I make my breakfast and bring it to work. I like to have granola, yogurt, and a piece of fruit. And COFFEE! I usually take 30 mins when I first get to work to eat my breakfast and go through emails/read through twitter.

3

11:30 am – I spend 9am to 1pm working. I find this is when I am my most productive.

4

12:55 pm -I usually go home for lunch between 12-1pm. This is something I started doing lately as the daylight hours are shorter and if I don’t get out in the sunlight I get negatively affected. The walk to and from home really helps refresh my brain and helps me be more productive and less restless in the afternoon. If your job allows it, I definitely recommend a mid day 15 minute walk! For lunch I usually have soup or salad or sandwich. Whatever I am in the mood for!

5

3:16 pm – Back at my desk working for the rest of the day! This is often when I have to crack out the Pomodoro timers, because I am way less focused.

6

5:30 pm – Depending on how I feel and how much work I have, I leave between 5-7pm. I’ve been trying very hard to work really productively from 9-5 rather than waste time throughout the day and have to stay later. Today I left at 5:30! My building is so pretty at when it’d dark outside!

7

6:00 pm – Most evenings I either go to yoga or go for a run/walk. Today it was a run!

8

7:30pm – Dinner Time!! I love to cook. I look forward to putting on a podcast and cooking in the evenings.

9

10:30 pm – I like to wind down by taking a hot shower and watching tv in bed.

Like most scientists, not every day is the same. For example, I had to do a one month secondment in Spain during September, and we also had a training event in Chile last month. Sometimes I have meetings, or give talks, and some days I even work from home. Thanks so much for reading this and if you want to hear more about my life, go check out my Instagram @mkellyphd. Bye for now! Xx

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