Keeley Whitehead, 31, from Hereford, has recently written an assignment about the techniques used to detect meningitis for her Masters degree
Keeley tells us about the assignment and how she is always looking to broaden her knowledge of meningitis and spread awareness to as wide an audience as possible.
"I am currently studying at Manchester Metropolitan University, but I completed my undergraduate degree in Forensic Science and Anthropology at the University of Central Lancashire."
"During my degree I developed a keen interest in the biological, genetic and medical elements of the course and decided I wanted to take a more pathological direction in my career."
"I’m currently studying for a Masters degree in Cellular Pathology, and the opportunity arose for me to write an assignment about a topic close to my heart – meningitis."
"I contracted meningitis in 2011 when I was 24 years old. When I became ill, probably like most other people my age, I was very ignorant and uneducated to what the disease was capable of and the pathogenesis behind the bacterial strains."
"Since becoming much more academically aware of medicine and disease morphology, it has been a keen hobby to understand more of the disease that almost killed me, and how it has damaged my brain to leave me with such debilitating after-effects."
"Analytical techniques form a large part of my Masters degree, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to research further into the science required to detect and treat meningitis."
"I thoroughly enjoyed completing the assignment. It has opened my mind to the challenges meningitis presents for detection using analytical techniques, especially with the time constraints biomedical scientists face in clinical settings."
"Researching and completing the assignment has made me more aware of the fast-acting diagnostic work that went into saving my life and has made me extremely fortunate to still be here, able to tell my story."
"I am very pleased with my progression within this degree. I tend to push myself quite hard with self-criticism and often need to remind myself that going from a forensics background into medicine was difficult, especially at this professional level of study."
"But trying to keep up with the workload and expected level of research with an acquired brain injury is an achievement in itself, regardless of the grades I achieve."
"I have currently received two grades of above 80% and do feel my personal experiences with the assignment topics have reflected in my work quality and grading."
"After I complete the Masters degree, my next step will be to complete a diploma in anatomical pathology, or to complete my professional portfolio to become a fully registered biomedical scientist."
"Becoming an Anatomical Pathology Technician is my optimal goal, but with my limited mobility I am still unsure at present whether I could realistically cope with the physical demands the role entails."
"If I were to continue my studies in the future, I can quite positively guarantee it would be either in the field of meningitis research to further broaden scientific understanding of the disease, or pharmaceutical drug research into improved vaccines for meningitis prevention or (hopefully one day) a cure."