Manon Schallig, student
'Fascinating how the brain and mind work'
Dutch student Manon Schallig joined the research master Clinical and Psychosocial Epidemiology (CPE) after completing the bachelor Human Movement Sciences. 'The subjects I liked best – psychology and medicine – form the base of CPE.'Also appealing to her: the fact that the programme is small-scale and top researchers share their knowledge on the reciprocal relationship between the psychological and physical health. ‘There are sixteen students of ten different nationalities in my year...
The master track CPE trains students to become top researchers. Each one of them will explore the fields of Public Health, Health Psychology, Epidemiology, and Psychiatry. Within these four fields, Manon will have the choice to apply to divergent research projects. ‘In January the Principal Investigators will submit a list with projects to apply for. My aim is to participate in the research programme of Interdisciplinary Centre Psychopathology and Emotion regulation or the department of Psychiatry, where Clinical Neuropsychology is a topic as well.’Psychotic disorders
‘It fascinates me how a small dissimilarity in someone’s brain, can cause an emotional and psychological “malfunction” of some kind,’ Manon explains. ‘Psychotic disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorders are quite common. For healthy people it’s hard to imagine what this mental disorder means, because it is intangible.’Functions of the brain
The twenty-three-year-old student is also enrolled in a second master programme: Clinical Neuropsychology, which is focussed on the associations between the brain and neuropsychological functions like cognition, emotion and behaviour. ‘Dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease is a terrible disease but unfortunately also common. My upcoming internship and thesis will focus on the relationship between Alzheimer’s dementia and disease insight. To PhD or not to PhD
At the end of the master thesis project, Manon will have written a PhD-proposal, which could give her access to a PhD-position at any top institute. ‘I don’t know yet if that’s my future, there are plenty of CPE alumni that choose another path,’ she says. ‘Moreover, it’s somewhat of a misconception that you are only admitted for CPE when you are a straight A-student aiming to do a PhD. The commitment and motivation you show in the admittance interview and during the master track can outweigh your grades.’
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