BSc (Hons) Neuroscience with Psychology, 2012
From Aberdeen to War Child Holland
For Reem Masri, the lure of ‘coming home’ paved the way for her return to Aberdeen and would become the first step in a career supporting the psychological needs of children living with the effects of violence and conflict.
Born and bred in the north-east, Reem was 12 when her father received a job opportunity in the Gulf region, and so the family moved and settled there. But when it came to applying to universities, Aberdeen was at the top of her list.
“I was ecstatic when the acceptance letter landed on the doormat,” she said. “Going back to my hometown to study had always been at the top of my agenda. It wasn’t just the beautiful, historic campus that made the desire to be a University of Aberdeen student so strong, but also because it is one of the top universities at which to study psychology.”
After graduating with a BSc in Neuroscience with Psychology, and then undertaking a Masters in Psychology, Reem was working at a private clinic when a job opportunity in Lebanon with War Child Holland came up.
War Child Holland is an international non-governmental organisation that works to improve the resilience and wellbeing of children living with violence and conflict.
“I was accepted for the position and then given the opportunity to work as a Child Protection Officer. War Child Holland work with children affected by living with conflict, who have been abused, used for child labour or are at risk of being forced into early marriage. The role was challenging, and the situations of many of the children are so bleak, it was an extremely draining position to be in.”
Reem felt that while she was still passionate about working for War Child Holland, there might be another role that would allow her to capitalise more on her knowledge and skills, and she successfully applied for a Psycho-Social Support Trainer role within the organisation.
“The role of a Psycho-Social Support Trainer is to equip people with the knowledge and skills needed to support those in need. “
The knowledge I gained at the University through my BSc Neuroscience with Psychology is hugely relevant to my line of work, but more than that, the style of teaching and the practical skills I amassed gave me the skills needed to be the best I can be at my job.
"Working on group projects, presenting to peers and even the discipline needed for writing up reports are all so important once you are out in the ‘real world’.
“I absolutely love my job – it allows me to use my qualifications for a cause that is extremely important to me.
"It is very rewarding to be in a position where I can help others develop the skills they need to carry out such vital work. My day is usually spent not in an office, but out in the community delivering coaching and training.”
Looking ahead, Reem has a clear idea of what the future will hold, encompassing two of her passions – studying and working with children.
“I would really love to continue my studies and have ambitions of completing a degree in clinical psychology – as well as opening a youth centre. For me, helping others is a gift, and I am privileged that I am able to do this as a career.”