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Image of Applied Psychology Graduate Rebecca Plimmer from University Centre Shrewsbury

Whether working with street pastors or creating support packages for hate crime victims, Rebecca Plimmer made a vital community contribution during time at University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS).

The 22-year-old, from Telford, gained a First Class degree in Applied Psychology and says the close knit community, strong links with local organisations and support of her fellow students and lecturers have been vital to her academic and professional success.

As the highest achieving student in her cohort, not only did Rebecca hold down several jobs outside of her studies, but she also gained additional training in areas that would benefit her for a future career in forensic psychology.

During her second year, Rebecca completed a group research project in the community with three local partners – West Mercia Police, Shrewsbury Street Pastors, and Door Security Staff.

And in her final year, she delivered a group workshop on the topic of ‘Developing Officers’ Stress Coping Skills,’ all while completing her dissertation – An exploration of male rape myth acceptance and masculine identity amongst police’.

Rebecca said: “During my time at UCS I was fortunate to be able to work with local organisations and charities including police, street pastors and security staff. The opportunity to work with these organisations is due to the emphasis the Applied Psychology degree programme places on applying psychological principles and theory to solving real-world problems.

“I really enjoyed the various voluntary and research-based roles and was also lucky enough to undertake volunteering with Shropshire Mind, which gave me an insight into clients’ perspectives and experiences of mental health.

“My internship with the ‘We Are With You’ young people’s team made me aware of the importance of raising awareness around the topic of child criminal exploitation and I was able to help them in profiling the young people affected by county lines in Shropshire and learn more about the parents’ experiences of this situation.

“For my community project, we examined the resilience and experiences of those working in Shrewsbury’s nightlife, including local police officers, security staff and street pastors. They were asked to complete surveys and I had the privilege of doing interviews with these different organisations. From this experience, I learned about the inspiring work of Shrewsbury Street Pastors, West Mercia Police and those working in the security industry.

“I was able to see their perspective on the many occupational challenges, stressors, and expectations they face working in Shrewsbury’s nightlife, as well as the psychological impact of these challenges and stressors, and learn how they draw resilience from colleagues, each other and from the local community.

“It was an honor to work with all of them and be acquainted with the amazing work they do.”

Dr Shelley Price, Senior Lecturer in Applied Psychology, said: “We are very proud to have had the opportunity to teach Rebecca and learn from her and her accomplishments as well.

“In her own time she supported vulnerable individuals in the community, was a volunteer at Shropshire Mind, a police cadet, trained in adult and child mental health first aid, was a Level Two youth mentor, and took a course in criminal and sexual exploitation vulnerability and awareness.

“Needless to say, that not only did Rebecca complete her degree to the highest of standards, but she also went above and beyond to support her local community outside of the constricts of the degree.”

Rebecca is now pursuing her passion for Forensic Psychology by continuing to work in the field and completing an MSc at the University of Warwick. And she says volunteering has been a crucial part of her UCS experience.

She said: “I loved taking part in volunteering activities, it meant that was able to apply and bring to life the psychological topics, theories, and principles I was studying.

“The highlight of my volunteering activities is the incredible people I met along the way, their stories and experiences have had a lasting impact on me and have shaped me personally.

“These experiences have and will certainly assist in any of my future endeavours, they allowed me to develop my academic and personal skills and have allowed me to meet some lovely people.”

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