Joanna Wolton - PhD Social Policy

Joanna Wolton

What do you enjoy most about your PhD?

The aspect of my PhD that I enjoy the most is that I am able to research a topic that I find not only very interesting but that my research has the potential to have an impact both within and outside the academic community. The fact that my hard work and commitment to the project is not just for the development of academic knowledge but that my project can change people’s lives in wales for the better

What would you tell prospective research students about college life?

Don’t be afraid to push yourself outside your comfort zone and make the most of the opportunities presented to you! The colleges and Swansea University in general has worked tirelessly over the years to develop great links with external organisations so that students have a variety of opportunities available to them. This can include work experiences, internships, exchange programmes and personal development opportunities.

Therefore, I would strongly urge prospective students to engage and make the most of the time and experiences you have at Swansea.

So, make the most of the opportunities that the University or College offers. This could be a conference or competition. You may be out of your comfort zone but the challenge will help you develop.

What are you most proud of achieving personally or academically as a result of your time at Swansea to date?

The personal achievement that I am most proud of is the development of my public speaking and communication skills.  The fact that I can deliver an oral presentation to an audience and receive constructive and positive feedback is my proudest achievement.

Before studying at Swansea, any occasion where I was required to speak in public I would actively avoid. However, as I began my PhD journey I realised that this was an issue which I needed to address for my own personal and professional development. This meant that I found myself saying yes to conferences and speaking engagements with my co-funder and I am now at the point where I can control my anxiety and speak in a competent manner in front of an audience. Now I feel as though although the nerves have not completely gone away, I have more control over them now. I can stand up and speak at conferences, present findings to my external funders and conduct workshops.

I can’t say that I have overcome the public speaking anxiety entirely but I am at a point where I can present in a outwardly calm and competent manner which may not have happened if I hadn’t come to Swansea University to study and received support from my supervisor and the College.

Future career/academic goals

In terms of a future career, I am hoping to continue researching in some capacity. Ideally, I would love to continue working with the third sector or the public sector researching social policy or health and social care issues. Any career which allows me to use my skills and help improve the lives of others would be my preferred line of work.