Studying Infectious Diseases online - Imogen's story

Imogen, from the UK, is studying Infectious Diseases by distance learning. She hopes the programme will help to shape her career with the Red Cross, whom she currently supports as an Emergency Response Volunteer.
Imogen Lay

Please explain a bit about your academic/professional background 

I started this course fresh out of my undergraduate degree (First Class Hons in Medical Science from Anglia Ruskin University). During university, I developed an interest in tuberculosis, which I wish to continue to study during my time at LSHTM.  

Why did you choose to study your course with LSHTM? 

The university has a prestigious reputation and amazing facilities. Learning from international experts was a high priority for me, and LSHTM provides this.  

What advice would you give to a student about to begin their studies at LSHTM? 

Time-management is crucial! It is important to give yourself plenty of time to study, work, socialise. And if you feel burn-out or are struggling, reach out to somebody for help.  

How will the programme help your career in the future? 

The programme has a broad range of optional modules, which will help me to focus on topics I want to specialise in, leading to better knowledge in my chosen career - crisis response. I want to make sure my optional modules are not too specific, as I don't want to limit myself in a career. I'm keen to study Water, Sanitation & Hygiene, as this ties in nicely with my interest in sociology in disease control. 

What have you enjoyed most about your course? 

Because I am distance-learning, I am enjoying the freedom to study. Feeling productive at 11pm? No problem!

In terms of modules, my favourite of the core modules so far has been IDM103 - Biology of Infectious Diseases. It builds on my previous knowledge of bacteriology and virology so I don't feel out of my depth. 

The university has a prestigious reputation and amazing facilities. Learning from international experts was a high priority for me, and LSHTM provides this.  

What are your plans for after you complete your studies? 

I would love to complete a PhD, however I think I want to get a job to finance this step. I want to work in the charity sector, preferably with the Red Cross, whom I currently volunteer for as an Emergency Response Volunteer. I attend fire and flood situations to provide support to the victims. We transport families to temporary accommodation, give them clothing and personal care items, give advice and emotional support, and occasionally financial support. The Red Cross helps with critical situations all over the world, including outbreaks and epidemics, so I think this degree will provide the base knowledge I need to give scientific insight. 

What advice would you give to someone considering studying your course? 

Before you start, take some time to catch up on basic microbiology and statistics. It helps to prepare yourself. Also, plan out assignments and study milestones before you start - saves you from falling behind! 

Tell us a bit about you – what do you do when you’re not working or studying? 

I am a part-time nanny and housekeeping, which is amazing because I get to work with two hilarious boys and two gorgeous dogs. I volunteer as an Emergency Response Volunteer for the British Red Cross. I love organising and digital planning, shopping and cooking! You can also find me writing blogs for the University of London.