International Women's Day: Andrea Bickerdike
Lecturer and PhD Candidate, Cork Institute of Technology.
Andrea Bickerdike graduated from University College Cork with a First Class Honours’ Degree in Medicine in 2013. As an undergraduate, she was awarded the title of ‘College Scholar’ and, during her final year, she designed and implemented a study to investigate the learning strategies of UCC medical students. This later formed the basis of an international, peer-reviewed publication.
Upon graduating, Andrea spent time working within the health service and subsequently within the accounting services industry. In 2015, she returned to academia to commence her post-graduate research studies at Cork Institute of Technology [CIT]. Concurrently, she became involved in the delivery of academic programmes within the Faculties of ‘Engineering & Science’ and ‘Business & Humanities’. In 2018 she was appointed as a full-time Lecturer within CIT’s Dept. of Sport, Leisure & Childhood Studies.
She is currently completing her studies for the award of PhD. This body of work has served as a designated research arm to inform a new, campus health promotion initiative (‘A Healthy CIT’) at Cork Institute of Technology. Notable activities have included the dissemination of tailored, web-based health questionnaire instruments to all students (N=11,261) and staff (N=1,705) of the multi-campus institute. Findings have been disseminated internationally and have generated empirical evidence regarding the health status and habitual lifestyle behaviours of students and staff within higher education settings. This is of relevance to public-health practitioners and policy makers within a multitude of comparable organisations, as well as to multi-sectoral stakeholders engaged in efforts to counteract the global pandemic of non-communicable diseases.
As an adjunct to her PhD studies, Andrea is directly involved in the strategic governance and development of ‘A Healthy CIT’ as a sustainable, health promotion entity. She represents CIT on the Irish Healthy Campus Network; an initiative under the remit of Healthy Ireland and the Department of Health. She is also CIT’s point of contact for communications from the UK Healthy Universities’ Network.
Andrea is a member of ‘HExSpo’, a designated research group in sports science, exercise and health within CIT’s Dept. of Sport, Leisure & Childhood Studies. She has supervised numerous dissertations relating to health-promotion, athlete wellbeing, and health-related nutrition and currently supervises post-graduate research evaluating the wellness parameters and lifestyle behaviours of varsity Gaelic Games players. She has also collaborated with colleagues from UCC’s School of Medicine to investigate the association between cannabis use, aberrant salience processing and schizotypal symptoms among third-level student cohorts. In 2017, this work was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Washington D.C.
Outside of academia, Andrea is a keen athlete and enjoys competing for her club Leevale AC at local, regional and national competitions in middle and long-distance running events. She is a former Irish Universities’ Champion over 1,500m and has represented Ireland at international inter-varsity competitions. She is an advocate of inclusivity within the workplace and is currently a member of the Organising Committee of CIT’s forthcoming ‘Empowering Women Festival’, in celebration of International Women’s Day.