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BSMS > About BSMS > Alumni > Alumni in focus Bella Tomsett

Alumni in Focus - Bella Tomsett

Bella Tomsett (Global Health 2022)

BSMS alumna and Global Health graduate Bella Tomsett: portrait photo of Bella looking directly at the camera

Bella recently completed her MSc in Global Health and is now fulfilling her dream of doing a PhD, after securing a studentship at the University of Brighton.

She tells us about her journey into postgraduate study, and balancing a job and being a parent alongside study and student life.

Tell us a bit about where you are now? 

I finished my Masters in September and was very lucky to secure a PhD studentship from the University of Brighton which started in October. So currently I am in the very early stages of PhD research, looking at improving tools for the identification of victims of domestic abuse and modern slavery in telemedicine. Doing a PhD has been a lifelong dream, and I am loving it, challenges and all!

How did you find out about the MSc in Global Health, and what led you to postgraduate study at BSMS?

When I finally decided I was going to pursue a PhD, I felt that I would be useful to do a Masters degree first, both to help me figure out what I wanted to research, but also to sharpen my research skills.

I was looking for a programme that aligned with my interests in various aspects of healthcare, and my personal and professional values of social justice, human rights and improving systems for all people. I also had a job and a child that I needed the degree to fit around, so it had to be local enough, and have the flexibility to fit around my other commitments.

The Global Health MSc at BSMS ticked all the boxes. I also attended a couple of research conferences at BSMS previously, so knew the quality and reputation of the work that was being done there. I did my degree part-time, over two years, while continuing to work, and it was very manageable.

Where would you like your career to take you next?

I took a break from my work as a social worker to do the PhD full time, and I hope that this will lead to an academic career. I would like to do more research, and would really love to teach at higher education level, maybe social work, public health, or health and social care. I think there isn’t enough research that’s coming from social work practitioners, and I would like to help change this both by doing research myself, and by encouraging other social workers and students to do research.  

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Academically: “You can edit a badly written page, but you can’t edit a blank one”. More broadly in life, to spend time figuring out what I want, and then make a detailed plan of how to get there, and work through it systematically. This approach hasn’t failed me yet, even if sometimes things take longer than I would like.
What do you feel was the best thing about studying at BSMS?

I felt really supported as a student. The lecturers and tutors were very responsive and encouraging, and they made sure the students were engaged and connected. There was a real sense of community, even while we were studying on-line through lockdowns.
Who has inspired you most in life?

As a social worker, I have been inspired every day by the people I have had the privilege to work with. I would typically encounter individuals during a difficult time in their lives, and witnessing people’s vulnerability, humanity and resilience through it all has been truly humbling. I am forever inspired by ordinary people – despite some of the awfulness in the world, humans are capable of true wonder.

What's your favourite memory from your time at BSMS?

Because I started my degree during first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, one of my favourite memories is meeting the other students on the course face to face for the first time (over eight months after we started!) It was such a joy to meet in person some brilliant people, many of whom will become friends for life.
Describe BSMS in three words

Supportive. Inclusive. Inspiring.