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Dr Stephanie O'Neil

 Name: Dr Stephanie O’Neil


Age range: 26-29

Research institution: Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University

Research career length: 5 years

Research Council:
Project currently funded by NIHR and exploring next steps for post-doc Fellowship funding. Previously funded by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Location: Newcastle, England

Salary: 22-29k

Brief summary of research: Explores the influence of alcohol marketing (including price) on young people’s drinking choices and behaviour.

School qualifications:
A-levels: English Literature, Psychology, Media Studies

Qualifications post-school:
BA Criminology (First Class Hons), Northumbria University

Career path:
Research Associate (July 2011 to present), Newcastle University

My first degree was…

Criminology I chose this because… I became interested in crime and sociology midway through my A Levels when this was covered briefly in a Psychology module. After doing some careers research, I originally wanted to join the police and knew that a relevant degree would ‘fast track’ my career progression. However, upon starting my degree, I fell in love with sociology, research and all things policy and theory related, and decided an academic career was for me.

For my PhD I am researching...

My PhD work aimed to investigate the influence of industry-driven alcohol marketing processes (price, promotion, product branding and placing) on young people’s drinking choices and behaviour. I took a mixed method approach and combined a systematic literature review to examine the impact of industry-driven price and other marketing techniques on young people’s drinking behaviour; qualitative interviews were conducted with young people aged 14-17 in North East England to explore accounts of when, why, where and how they drink alcohol and Q methodology was used to derive factors underlying alcohol choices, based on the results of a card sorting procedure with young people aged 14-17 in North East England.

My career aspirations are…

In the long-term, to work towards a post-doctoral fellowship which will allow me to develop my own programme of policy and sociological theory driven public health research into young people and risk behaviours, in particular alcohol. In the short term, I am the lead research associate of a mixed-method feasibility pilot trial exploring embedding alcohol education into a school setting, and will be involved in progressing this work to a full trial. Finally, I have one lead author publication to date and I am in the process of writing up journal articles from both my PhD and project work, as well as disseminating findings through other channels.

I would recommend studying social science at university because…

It is fascinating! Everything we do has sociological implications and studying social science at university feeds into and informs a number of additional academic disciplines (such as health, crime, law, economics) careers.

In my spare time...

I like to run and will once again be taking part in the Great North Run. Next year, I intend to take part in a marathon! I also like to read, travel, go to the cinema and theatre; and will be learning Italian over the coming year!

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