Who am I?
I’m Sophie Buijsen. I am currently doing a part-time PhD at the University of Edinburgh (UoE) in Scotland. I do this part-time because I received the Alice Brown Scholarship from the School for Social and Political Science at UoE. This scholarship wants to support students to build a CV by being able to work alongside their PhD. So with the other half of my time I work in several capacities at UoE and other (academic) organisations.
Why did you choose this project?
For my undergraduate degree I wrote a dissertation on the evolution of human sexuality. I chose this, as it is such a multi-faceted subject. Sex is biological but also social, it is complex but also primitive, it is private but also public. I think therefore that this is a fascinating subject for research. And coming from the Netherlands, I find the differences in which we culturally talk about sex, especially when related to teenagers, very interesting. Starting to develop your sexual identity when you are a teenager is a normal part of life, but many of the discussions in the media, academia, public health policies, etc often treat young people as if they are unable to navigate this development. I strongly believe that young people’s voices should be heard within these discussions, and therefore decided to focus my PhD project on amplifying those voices.
MSc by Research, Science and Technology Studies,
University of Edinburgh, 2017 – 2018
I completed a Research Masters in Science and Technology Studies as an introductory year to my PhD, to ensure I had all of the relevant skills to conduct my own research. My final piece of work for this degree was a research proposal for my current PhD.
MSc in Science Communication, Imperial College London, 2011 – 2012
I was drawn to Science Communication because I enjoy the process of making complex ideas accessible to a wider public. For my dissertation I wrote about the way scientific ideas are used in comic books. I rounded out this qualification with 6 weeks of work experience at BBC World Service at their science desk, which includes programmes such as the Life Scientific, Science in Action and Click.
BSc (Hons) in Human Sciences, University of Sussex, 2007 – 2011
Human Sciences is a degree that combines Biology, Psychology, Philosophy, Anthropology and Linguistics, to create a multidisciplinary approach to human life. I wrote two dissertations for this degree, one on the use of mental health disorders in Batman comics, and one on the evolution of human sexuality.
Other relevant work
I am a member of the operations group of IReSH: the Interdisciplinary Research in Sexual Health network Scotland. This is a network for everyone who works or does research in the field of sexual health. We organise events, circulate relevant work, publish interesting blog posts, etc.
I tutor in courses at the School for Social and Political Science, and sometimes also the Medical School at the University of Edinburgh in subjects such as the History of Science and Western Medicine, Sociology, Internet & Society, and for the medical school I help with some seminars about social dimensions of practicing medicine.
Between 2014 and 2016 I hosted a monthly science and technology themed night in Crystal Palace, London, called ‘the Silicon Triangle’. Every month a different scientist or science adjacent professional would come and speak about their work. It was always fascinating to hear people talk passionately about their work.