Taking a career turn

01 May 2017

The perfect opportunity to give her professional profile a sharp turn towards natural science. This is what went through Camilla Pedersen’s mind, when she found out about the Master’s programme in Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.

With a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Southern Denmark, Camilla was originally determined to become a psychologist. However, over the course of her studies, she got more and more interested in the brain, and even neuropsychology was not sciency enough for her.

Surprised by the sense of community

“To be honest, it was 100 per cent the academic content of the programme that attracted me. The fact that the education took place in China was not important to me,” says Camilla Pedersen.

When she left for China she saw the experience as an opportunity to lose herself in a field of her interest, and she expected that being far away from friends and family would leave a lot of time for the studies, but the great sense of community surprised her. Most of the Danish and Chinese students stay at the dorms, which means that they naturally spend a lot of time together.

“It was not quite what I had expected, but today I am not sure whether I would have stayed in China, if I had to do it all by myself. Both socially and academically, it has been of great value to share the experience with the other students,” Camilla says.

Collecting data in China

Camilla has really benefitted from the technical, physiological and biological courses. Even though she has struggled with mathematics, programming etc. she sees a great value in the new opportunities she now has due to the competences she has gained.

At the moment, she is finishing her Master’s thesis on addiction and attention. More specifically she looks into drug and internet game addictions and how sensitive the addicted persons are to stimuli in their surroundings. To do this she uses a method based on a theory and a mathematical model, which has never been used for this purpose before. In her Master’s thesis she combines her interest in the brain with her wish to deal with it in a very scientific way.

“My Danish supervisor has strong competences within attention, while my Chinese supervisor focuses on addiction. I have taken part in the programming and instructed researchers from my Chinese supervisor’s research group in using the program. Now they collect the data on drug and internet addiction, which I use in my thesis,” says Camilla.

She explains that it is much easier and faster to gather a valid data set in China as the population and thereby the number of people addicted to drugs or internet is higher than in Denmark.

More research on the horizon

Camilla will hand in her Master’s thesis this summer, and afterwards she hopes to continue the research within addiction and attention as a PhD student. The brain is still the focus area, but she has given up the idea of becoming a psychologist in favour of a future within research.