From work placement to my first research publication – Johanna Einhorn

In this blog post, Johanna Einhorn reflects on her work experience with us that led to her publishing her first academic paper

I vividly remember numerous instances during my university days when I found myself learning something for my degree and asking myself what I would use it for in later life and my future work. Being in university only gave me a vague idea of what my work would look like one day. So, to gain insight into what I would be working on in the future and what jobs I should apply for, I decided to pursue an internship funded by my University.

Additionally, I wanted to gain more experience and ascertain what interests me and which professional career I should pursue.  I wanted to know what I am talking about when applying for my first real job and to be able to engage in conversations with colleagues on my first day of work. Moreover, I understood that in order to be successful, completing an internship would enhance my CV, my knowledge, and my confidence.

Thus, I chose to undertake a placement with HDR UK Wales and ADR Wales. I spent 12 weeks analysing data collected from the HAPPEN Wales survey with primary school children, focusing on how their self-reported health and wellbeing changed over the past years. I presented the results to my supervisors, who then assisted me in writing the findings into a research article that was recently published.

During my placement, I frequently heard the phrase, “I don’t know anyone else so passionate about data,” which essentially was a polite way of saying I’m a bit of a nerd sometimes but also just showed how much fun I had during the internship. Most days felt like they flew by because I was so invested in uncovering the secrets the data could reveal if I looked closely enough that I didn’t want to stop working.

I loved gaining experience in research. I also enjoyed the environment where I could learn so much and gain insights into the everyday life of a researcher.

Furthermore, while I had some idea of what data analysis and statistics were like due to studying the theory in my degree, analysing fake data in university feels entirely different than the opportunity to potentially discover something no one else has found before. I appreciated experiencing how useful my degree could be for the first time and realising that I could potentially make a change in the world with it.

The fact that the placement led to a paper publication feels incredibly surreal but amazing and makes me very excited. It strengthens my belief in myself and provides me with opportunities to advance in my career.

But most of all it inspires me to dream of all the things I could potentially change in this world with the talents given to me and by just using my degree. It makes me smile, thinking that I sat in university those days wondering what I would be doing with what I was learning and that all these big dreams I now have started with a simple idea of doing an internship that would lead to much more than just something that boosts your CV.

Read Johanna’s publication Changes in self-reported health and wellbeing outcomes in 36,951 primary school children from 2014 to 2022 in Wales: an analysis using annual survey data