Savannah - Elevating Performance

Savannah Sturridge

PhD Researcher and Lecturer

BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science

Savannah thought her future involved a career in competitive sport, when that no longer became an option, she began to consider how she could still have an impactful career in the world of sport. After being encouraged by her tutors at BCU to pursue PhD study, Savannah is now contributing important research to the world of sport, supporting athletes to thrive.

“I’ve always had a love for sport and knew it would be a big part of my life. Unfortunately, illness prevented me from making competitive sport a career. Due to my illness, I had several exercise cardiology and respiratory tests completed in hospitals, and I became interested in exercise physiology. It was clear that a degree in sport and exercise science was the right choice to combine my interests.

The Sport and Exercise Science course at BCU stood apart from the other universities I considered. It was clear the staff are keen to give their students the best opportunities and support them individually on their journey.

My tutors encouraged me to take on work experience that consolidated my knowledge. There were so many opportunities thanks to BCU’s partnerships with local sporting organisations. I completed several short-term projects with Warwickshire County Cricket Club, City of Birmingham Swimming Club, British Athletics and more. I learned about physiology, performance analysis and strength and conditioning and developed my understanding of the roles within the sports industry.

After completing my undergraduate degree in July 2021 I went on to begin a PhD at the University of Kent. In this degree, I am researching the role of hydrogen as a non-pharmacological therapy to manage inflammation and lung function in those with exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (formally known as exercise-induced asthma).

When I applied for the PhD, I didn’t actually believe I was capable of completing one and I was shocked to be accepted onto the course. I’ve come to realise that I should have had more belief in myself and my academic abilities. I’m thankful to my BCU lecturers who pushed me to apply for further study and explore my passion. I’m now in my third year of my PhD, I have presented at national and international conferences; I work at both BCU and the University of Kent as a casual lecturer; and I’ve even worked with GB swimmers and para swimmers.

It should not come as a shock for me to say that the world of sport is still heavily dominated by males on and off the pitch, the research statistics support this. Since I began my studies as an undergraduate student, I have seen the rise of women in sport as athletes and practitioners. I’m proud to be a part of the growing female research community in sport and to be encouraged by my peers to put important research out into the world.

No matter where I teach or complete my research, I’ll always be a part of the BCU family. The staff foster an incredibly supportive environment that’s helped me get where I am today.”