Sport and Exercise Science BSc (Hons)
Savannah has been interested in respiratory health in relation to exercise from a young age, after frequent short-term illnesses disrupted her participation in sport. She now thanks Birmingham City University for giving her the confidence and direction to continue her passion for sport in an alternative way.
“Growing up I have seen the ins and outs of sport because of my family, I feel it is a part of me. Despite exercise playing a pivotal role in health, there are so many uncontrollable barriers to regular participation including injury and illness, the latter I have experienced, and it is so frustrating. Going to university to study sport allowed me to continue my love for sport in way that would not end unless I decided.
Originally, my first choice university had high entry requirements for the course that I wanted to do, but sadly I did not meet them in all of my subjects. For me, it was really disappointing that, despite achieving an A* in Physical Education, I was not accepted. Instead, I chose my insurance choice of BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science at Birmingham City University rather than going into Clearing, and I’m so glad I did.
I wanted to go to a university where I felt represented, and I felt an instant connection with Birmingham City University. The student body is diverse and with Sir Lenny Henry, who is from the same ethnic minority background as myself as the Chancellor, I felt a sense of belonging.
I wanted to educate others participating in exercise on respiratory conditions and take physiological measures such as blood and lung function, but how that all married up to form a specific job or career I did not know. During my time at the university, I was inspired by the lecturing staff around me and how supportive they were of their students. Although I did not have the confidence to say, I knew very early on that I wanted to be just like them one day, and become a lecturer.
Although my career path was now somewhat clear, my biggest obstacle short term was overcoming my own confidence. I have volunteered in assisting sports science testing and analysis for a range of sports clubs, including Warwickshire County Cricket Club, Sutton Coldfield Hockey Club Ladies 1st Team and Kidderminster Harriers Football Club. With aspirations to go on to postgraduate research, I took the opportunity to complete an optional placement year as part of my degree (making it a four year course, rather than three). I secured an internship working as an Assistant Technician in the Sport and Exercise Science Department at Birmingham City University for a year. Here I was a member of staff, paid to support practical sessions and support teaching.
Aside from course specific opportunities, I was interested in helping students from underrepresented backgrounds achieve their aspirations. As a Student Ambassador I presented at Open Days, and to schools and colleges. In my final year, I was a BCU Health, Education and Life Sciences Faculty Student Practitioner, researching into building a diverse practitioner learning community. I was supported and involved in so much that I forgot to be shy, and my confidence grew.
In my final year of the degree, I completed the Environmental Physiology module where the impact of pollution on respiratory health in relation to exercise was covered. This solidified my aspirations of becoming an academic one day with a focus in respiratory health in Sport and Exercise Science.
Since graduating, I have begun a PhD scholarship investigating inhaled hydroxy gas in the management of asthma and exercise-induced bronchoconstriction at the University of Kent. I support first year teaching within the department and assist in the Respiratory Clinic where I have tested Team GB Swimmers. I am also the Postgraduate Student Representative for the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Advisory Group.
To me, ‘I AM BCU’ means you are more than just a statistic. As an individual you matter, you are listened to, and you are guided on your journey to reach your aspirations.”
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