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Ulster University graduate, Jasmine Neil, graduates this summer with an MSc in Human Nutrition. While completing her masters amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Jasmine worked on the frontline both as a care assistant and as a volunteer Emergency Transport Attendant with St John Ambulance Northern Ireland (SJA NI).

Jasmine is currently the Assistant Unit Manager of Dufferin Cadet Unit in Bangor and during the pandemic began work as a care assistant at Carmen House Residential Home. Speaking on her experience she said:

“During the pandemic I have been assisting the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) with St John Ambulance carrying out patient transfers and discharges from hospital, which has been very challenging at times. I have been a volunteer with St John Ambulance Northern Ireland for 18 years now, where I have found the role to be extremely rewarding, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to give back to the community in some way while playing my part on the frontline.

I was furloughed from my part-time job at the beginning of April, however, I was fortunate enough to start working as a care assistant which has been fantastic and allowed me to incorporate both my voluntary experience with St John Ambulance and my education and interest in nutrition.”

Jasmine’s enthusiasm for nutrition began in secondary school when she was a student at Glenlola Collegiate School:

“I have always had a keen interest in food science, so after my A-Levels I completed a FdSc and a BSc (Hons) at the College of Agriculture, Food & Rural Enterprise at their Loughry campus, where both courses were accredited by Ulster University. I knew from then on that I wanted to continue within the field of nutrition science and use this knowledge to help others.

“I chose to further my studies at Ulster because I knew they had a very well-established human nutrition research facility at NICHE and the Coleraine campus meant that I was close to home while having access to top-class facilities and renowned researchers undertaking world-leading research.”

Speaking about her future plans, Jasmine said:

“I hope to be able to secure a Dietetic Assistant Practitioner role within a clinical setting and gain as much experience as I can within the field of nutrition while trying out different specialisms. My ultimate goal is to qualify as a Registered Dietitian (RD) and secure full-time employment with the NHS as an RD, although it must be said that I am still engrossed in the exciting and ever-evolving area of nutrition research, so who knows what the future may hold!”