Niamh O’Callaghan – BSc (Hons) in Human Nutrition

Name: Niamh O’Callaghan

School: Schull Community College, Cork

Irish Research Council Government of Ireland funded Postgraduate Studies at ATU Sligo: An investigation into the current dietary patterns of Irish Cancer Survivors and their relationship with food and nutrition

I chose my undergraduate degree in Human Nutrition as I was interested in nutrition which stemmed from my love of sport. Nutrition impacts our strength, training, performance and recovery. Additionally, in secondary school I really enjoyed Science subjects such as biology, chemistry and home economics, so I felt Human Nutrition was the right course for me.

I am currently pursuing a Masters in Research on the Nutrition Related Life of Irish Cancer Survivors. While carrying out my final year project in my undergraduate degree, on the muscle strength of ambulatory oncology patients and its effect on quality of life, I was inspired to pursue a Masters in Research in the field. The first-hand experience made me realise that personalised care for each patients nutritional status is fundamental. The “one size fits all approach” is not applicable.

In my undergraduate degree in Human Nutrition, I particularly enjoyed the hands-on approach of the course, the first two years gave us a great grounding in Science subjects particularly bio-chemistry, and it progressed to more clinical modules which I enjoyed most. The course is practical and designed to address current and emerging issues in the area of nutrition. In fourth year, both the final year project and the industry placement give me great insight to future employment opportunities.

In my MSc in Research, I am really enjoying developing new skills. Thus far my research entails a quantitate as well as qualitive skill set. The project has been accepted to be presented in an upcoming national conference, and I am looking forward to presenting and extending my research network.

In Human Nutrition, I think it’s good to know, you can complete an ordinary degree in Human Nutrition and then complete a one-year add on in Human Nutrition to graduate with an honours degree. Additionally, you are not narrowed to one job once qualified, the course gives an opportunity to purse a range of different employment.

For my Masters in Research, the course is a structured Masters, so I am currently taking modules, which adds to my knowledge and builds my skills to a level 9 qualification. After I finish this Masters, I want to obtain a Masters in Dietetics and go on to specialise in oncology.

Previously, I was awarded the Marie Hamilton Scholarship, a four-year bursary (€10,000) for an undergraduate student who attended Schull Community College, based on attitude, academic results and involvement in extracurricular activities throughout six years of attendance in Schull Community College.

As an undergraduate, I liked how Sligo has a ‘city feel’ but is small enough to feel welcomed. As a Masters student I live in Strandhill, which is great, so easy to get out for nice walks, hikes, visit beautiful beaches etc. and there are so many nice places to eat. It is accessible to Sligo in a very short drive.

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