School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law

Student views

Alex Smethurst

Alex’s passion for forensic psychology has led to her progressing to a PhD.

Alex Smethurst

BSc Forensic Psychology

The course content was engaging and gave a really good insight into how forensic psychology can be applied in the wider community. The lecturers were excellent.

Why did you choose Teesside University?

After attending a number of open days at different universities, my decision was based primarily on the course content. I was also very impressed by the academic facilities such as the mock courtroom and sporting facilities.

What did you enjoy most about studying at Teesside University?

The course content - it provided a real insight into the different ways psychology operates within the criminal justice system.
I also received invaluable advice from senior psychology lecturers, including advice about working as an intermediary within the criminal justice system. Embarking on this role inspired my PhD project.

Were you a member of any clubs or societies?

I was a member of the Elite Athlete Scheme. It’s an invaluable and supportive scheme, and I achieved a Bronze medal at the 2014 Kitzbühel ETU Triathlon European Age Group Championships in Austria.

Please give a brief description of your career since graduating

I completed my BSc and went on to study for an MSc in Forensic Psychology at Teesside, I didn’t consider any other universities as I’d had an excellent experience during my undergraduate degree. Since then I have worked as an intermediary, facilitating communication between vulnerable people and practitioners within the criminal justice system. I have also been trained to conduct investigative interviews with children and worked as an assistant psychologist. These experiences have inspired and informed my PhD research.
I’m currently a graduate tutor at Teesside University. As part of my role I’m working towards a PhD in psychology. I’m researching how to scaffold children’s communication in investigative interviews. I’m looking specifically at the types of questions asked during interviews, the use of communication aids, and the development and maintenance of rapport. I’m also currently teaching first year research methods and working towards becoming an associate fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

How did your time at University help prepare you for your career?

Both the BSc and MSc provided me with an excellent knowledge base enabling me to gain experience working within the criminal justice system, publish my undergraduate dissertation research and study for a PhD. I also had the opportunity to work on a research project with a lecturer in the psychology department - this was really good experience in planning and conducting my own research project.
On completion of my PhD, I would like to continue working in higher education and become a senior lecturer in psychology. This will enable me to teach, while conducting further research – both areas which I am really passionate about.

Would you recommend Teesside University?

I would definitely recommend Teesside University. The course content was engaging and gave a really good insight into how forensic psychology can be applied in the wider community. The lecturers were excellent. They regularly drew upon their personal experiences which, along with practical activities, such as acting as an expert witness in the mock courtroom, really brought the subject alive. The lecturers’ expertise, quality of the facilities and what I have achieved offered excellent value for money.