Hilary Causer is a qualitative and mixed-methods researcher. Her research interests include suicidology and postvention, mental health and wellbeing, and workplace culture and wellbeing. Hilary was awarded her PhD from the University of Worcester following her Viva in December 2020. Her thesis explored the experiences of staff members in two United Kingdom Higher Education Institutions following a student death by suicide.
Alongside her studies, Hilary was a founding member of the University of Worcester Staff Mental Health Network and worked alongside the University of Worcester Research School to develop improved routes to mental health information and support for PGR students.
Hilary is currently authoring a book chapter and two academic papers reporting the findings of her research. In addition, she is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Prior to undertaking a PhD Hilary worked in social care and mental health settings within the public and third sectors with children, young people and their families.
To take time away from the screen Hilary enjoys hillwalking, photography and quilt-making.
“I first came to VWR in April 2020. During the early weeks of lockdown, with a thesis to write, I was in search of some structure to shape my days and a way to hold myself accountable. What I also found was a welcoming and friendly community of PhD and ECR academics who offered encouragement, support, and kindness. I quickly became a community regular and when the opportunity arose to become a retreat facilitator it was easy to say ‘yes please!’ I wholeheartedly believe that VWR played a crucial part in enabling me to write and submit my thesis, during a pandemic, ahead of my deadline.”
You can follow Hilary on twitter: @HilaryCauser
Hilary facilitates on Fridays, 0845 - 1515
Becky Musgrove is a mental health researcher and analyst. She is in the process of writing up her PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Manchester. Her thesis focuses on suicide and other causes of death in the year after people are discharged from inpatient mental health care in England.
She developed an interest in mental health, in particular the experiences of people with severe and enduring mental illness, through her work as a data analyst with the mental health team at NHS England. Becky has continued to work for the NHS throughout her studies and will continue into a more senior role utilising her PhD experience later this year.
Although the PhD is extremely important to her, Becky has always aimed to keep life balanced and enjoys running and hiking in the hills and singing in her local choir.
“When the lockdown started in 2020 I was at a loss. I thrive on learning from conversations with others and needed to be ‘in the office’ to get any work done. I really struggled with isolation and lack of focus during the summer. However late in 2020 I discovered VWR. I can honestly say it has transformed the way I approach my work. I now have a clear process of goal setting and structuring my days. The retreats are friendly and supportive and I have learned so much about approaches to writing from others in the group. During the last year the group has seen me through my first publication and cheered me on as I put together the application for my new job”.
Becky is the driving force behind the 24/7 drop-in-room for monthly pass holders. She facilitates in there on Tuesday 08:45 - 15:15
You can follow Becky on twitter: @beckymus
Margie McKerron is a researcher in theology and higher education. She is in the process of writing up her PhD in Philosophical Theology at the University of St Andrews. Her thesis focuses on non-institutional communities of learning in the nineteenth century, and their relevance for challenging educational paradigms today. She has published articles and chapters on children’s health, university pedagogies, and theology & the arts.
Alongside her studies, Margie is interested in heritage studies and community development work. She is currently working on a mental health & well-being grant to create a community garden and community workshop/makerspace in Aberlour, Scotland. She enjoys hosting international film nights with her neighbours, celebrating local folk music, and keeping in touch with friends across Scotland and in her home country of Canada.
Rest has been an important part of Margie’s PhD journey—reading a good novel, looking out the window with a cup of tea, or going for a walk in her favourite woods with her camera.
‘When I first came to VWR, I wasn’t sure what to expect—but it has become the pillar around which my week is built. Having come from a very community-minded master’s degree in Canada, I found the isolation of doctoral work in the U.K. really challenging. While I have always been an introvert, I missed the solidarity of working with other students—sharing the joys and burdens of our research together as we work on our own projects.
After two years, I felt I was at a crossroads: how I was working needed to change or I needed to leave the PhD program. VWR came along not long after that. The community has made such a difference. We encourage one another, we learn from one another, and we celebrate one another. We keep each other accountable—not just to the tasks that we set for ourselves, but also to the good working habits and compassion needed to sustain the doctoral marathon. It’s a myth that we can do a PhD alone. As I come into the homestretch, VWR continues to be a key part of my dissertation team.’
Margie facilitates on Wednesday, 08:45-15:15.