My cancer diagnosis inspired my final year dissertation
Student spotlight | Ross Evans, BSc (Hons) Nutrition
I am a final year, undergraduate nutrition student, starting my degree in 2017. I took a gap year at the end of my first year after a cancer diagnosis, returning to the second year of my degree in 2019; with this diagnosis inspiring my final-year research project / dissertation, examining the effect of remission length and adverse effect prevalence on the dietary intake of post-treatment blood cancer survivors. I am planning to start the MSc (Hons) Nutrition in Practice programme in September 2021.
- Course: BSc (Hons) Nutrition
- Placement: Heart Research UK (with Dr Helen Flaherty)
Tell us a bit about yourself and what drew you to Nutrition
From a young age, I have always had an interest in food itself, which always seemed innate to me, leading me to take food technology at both GCSE and A level. From there, I became very fascinated by food and its role in health; both the importance of food or nutrition in health, but what poor nutrition can consequentially happen to an individual or a population’s health. I think that this fascination and interest grew further when I learnt about the wider role that nutrition has in human metabolism and physiology, microbiology, biochemistry and food science, from my biology and chemistry A levels. Because of this, I knew that I wanted to end up having a career within this field.
An old teacher of mine was also a registered accredited nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition, and she told me what a nutritionist does, why that role is important and how a nutritionist can make meaningful improvements to an individual’s health.
She also told me that if I wanted to become an accredited or a registered nutritionist, it was best to do it through an accredited degree course, so I knew then that I wanted to do a Nutrition degree after this.
Why did you choose Leeds Beckett?
I am from the Midlands originally and when I was around 16, I visited Leeds with my grandma for a short city holiday, and I quite quickly fell in love with the city. I loved how the city itself was smaller than others I had spent time in, such as Birmingham, but I adored how vibrant, diverse and cultural the city itself was. So, it made my decision of choosing a university, or at least the city to study in, easier. I am also the kind of person who seeks a variety in taught modules; placement opportunities or the opportunity to apply academic learning; and the experience of learning and socialising within a diverse community. So, both the BSc (Hons) Nutrition degree programme and choosing to study at Leeds Beckett University became the obvious choice for me.
What has been your favourite thing about your time studying at Leeds Beckett?
There have been two invaluable things or experiences that I have gained during my time studying at Leeds Beckett. Firstly, I believe that the almost holistic approach that the course has taken to the field of food and nutrition has been a valuable experience that I truly believe has set me up to being a more holistic, ameliorative and better practitioner in my future career path. From studying the biochemical, microbiological and food science-side of nutrition; to the role of diet and nutrition in health; the effect the food system has on food accessibility and usage; socio-economic, psychological, cultural, religious, political and ethical influence on nutrition, disease and diet; and to the opportunity to explore nutrition in further fields such as sports nutrition.
The second thing that I have undertaken during my time at Leeds Beckett was my final-year research project, a dissertation. I loved having the opportunity to undertake a piece of independent research in a field that is personal to me. Because of this opportunity, I have decided that I would like to work towards a career within nutritional-related epidemiology research.
What advice would you give someone thinking about studying this course?
I think the first thing I would say to anyone who chooses the undergraduate Nutrition course at Leeds Beckett, is congratulations. I know how hard A levels can be and the pressure that they entail. So, congratulations for making it into university and choosing this course. As a final year student who has just finished the degree programme, there are a few pieces of advice that I have learnt over the last couple of years:
- Enjoy your first year; make friends both on and off the course; have a few good nights; join a Beckett society; and that diet cola and paracetamol will be your best friend. But in all seriousness, you’ve worked so hard to get here, enjoy your first year
- The first year of the course is designed to cram everything nutrition into your brain, so just make sure you make some good revision notes. These will be your saviour in future years
- Be reflective. Looking back at your academic work, study methods and work ethic reflectively will put you in good stead throughout the course
- It's impossible to be flawless at everything you do, and you will make mistakes or have weaknesses. From my own experience, I hate essays and essays hate me, and that’s okay! Try to have fun because the first few years will be some of the best you’ll have