Working towards brain injury rehabilitation

A dream to work in brain injury rehabilitation has been the fuel for study for Hannah Smith from Forestdale.

The Bachelor of Psychology and Criminology Honours student is currently in the fifth year of her study at Griffith’s Mt Gravatt campus. Having studied the criminology component of the program mainly for interest, Hannah says she is really enjoying the broad range of topics within psychology which have now provided her with a keen interest in neuropsychology.

As part of her Honours requirements, she is working alongside Griffith Health Institute’s Dr Mark Chappell to complete a research study examining how people perceive optical illusions.

“My study is looking at the flash-lag illusion,” she says. “When a flashed stimulus is presented in alignment with a moving stimulus, we perceive the flash to be lagging behind that of the moving object. So this research is trying to isolate the parts of the visual system that create this illusion. We hope that this information can be applied to road and air safety, as well as ball sports.”

As part of her goal career goals, Hannah worked in the brain injury rehabilitation unit at the PA Hospital in Brisbane where she had the chance to undertake a practical component over a five week period.

Great real-life experience

“It was really great to get some real-life experience of what goes on in these units and it confirmed my decision to work within neuropsychology.”

Hannah says the opportunity to join the Griffith Honours College was a goal she worked towards during her first year of study because of the opportunities available for members.

Designed for outstanding students, the Griffith Honours College provides students with enriching experiences in combination with undergraduate degree studies.

Part of this opportunity was the chance to go on a study exchange to the UK where Hannah completed two semesters of her degree at London Metropolitan University.

“That was really one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as it allowed me to experience the culture of other universities and network with other like-minded people in my particular study area.”

Now weighing up her career choices, Hannah says she is looking at options including working as a psychologist in an acute phase brain injury unit.

“I am excited about where the program is taking me. It’s a competitive world out there, so acquiring this depth of knowledge helps to gain an edge and opens up opportunities such as progressing onto a Doctorate in psychology which is what I hope to be pursuing next.

“I am thankful that Griffith has provided me with so many opportunities and so much experience.”