In our website feature “Researcher in Spotlight” this month we ask our researcher Sonya Campbell to tell us a bit more about herself.
Could you give us a quick overview of your background and career so far?
My first degree was in Health Psychology, my Masters in Cognitive Neuropsychology, and my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Since qualifying, I have worked clinically in the NHS with individuals with mental health problems, chronic long-term health issues and neurodevelopmental disorders. In 2012, I got the opportunity to join the Patrick Wild Centre research team and begin to influence research. Since then I have been splitting my week between working as a clinician in the NHS, and a clinical researcher for the Patrick Wild Centre.
How did you become interested in your current field of research?
As a teenager, I initially volunteered and was then employed at a summer camp for children with neurodevelopmental disorders. This showed me first-hand the benefits that intervention could have on both the individual and their families and I realised that I wanted to work in a career which helped people.
What are you currently working on and what importance does your work have for autism research?
I am fortunate to be in a position where I get to work across several projects. I am particularly excited about a potential new study that I am pursuing funding for; if successful, the project will focus on supporting parents whose child has recently received a diagnosis.
What do you enjoy most about scientific research?
I enjoy the problem solving and learning.
What do you like about the scientific community in Edinburgh?
It is a friendly, creative and dynamic community to be part of.
What is your favourite high tech research tool?
SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Science). I know this statistics package has been around for a long time, however, I can’t imagine doing all the statistics without a statistical package
What is your favourite low-tech research tool?
My senses; when you take time to be aware of your senses it helps you realise what questions you should be asking and if you are correctly understanding the story your data is telling.
Where do you usually get the best ideas for your research?
Talking to families; it helps me identify and learn what the real issues are and what research is wanted and useful.
What is your hidden talent?
I used to fence and am qualified to coach beginners to use a couple of different weapons.