Jen Ward, a project worker at HOT. I am excited to start a new career in the mental health field where I can combine my love of science with a passion for supporting people. For me, science is about discovery and learning, and I think there is nothing more exciting than learning about the way we think, act, and feel.
- Trusting and trust-worthy
- Good Listener
I’m from Ireland and I moved to Edinburgh a year ago. Prior to moving to Scotland I lived in New Zealand for 7 years.
My journey before starting work at HOT has taken me down some unexpected and enjoyable paths. I originally studied a BA (Hons) in Medicinal Chemistry from Trinity College Dublin. After graduating I left Ireland and travelled around Asia, New Zealand and Australia for two years. I lived in some amazing places like North Tropical Queensland in Australia, but I felt like New Zealand was a home away from home and I moved there permanently in 2013.
I worked in the biosecurity industry which protects NZ’s borders against any unwanted pests or diseases which can be found in imported shipments of fruit, second-hand cars, plants…like tarantulas in bunches of bananas from Ecuador or snakes in containers of tyres from Australia!
This job took me all around NZ and I really enjoyed the travel and meeting so many people every day.
I completed a Graduate Diploma in Psychology from Massey University in New Zealand while I was working, and then I made the decision to move back to this part of the world to be closer to my family.
I completed a Masters Degree in Psychology of Mental Health from the University of Edinburgh earlier this year which led me to HOT.
I started as a volunteer at HOT in the Nae Worries group and now I am a Project Worker providing emotional, mental and sexual health support to young people.
I really enjoy walking and hiking so in my spare time you can usually find me outside.
In 2018, I hiked to Mt Everest Base Camp with my dad and my brother which was a great experience and achievement for me! I’m currently planning what my next mountain challenge will be. If I am not hiking, then I will likely be somewhere near the sea as I find it relaxing and therapeutic. I adore travelling, experiencing new places and cultures, and I have been really fortunate to have the opportunities to visit some amazing countries.
I have always loved being a volunteer and I have been involved with volunteer projects such as teaching children in Honduras and Guatemala, teaching deafblind NZ sign language and leading summer holiday camps for children in Ireland.
Other things that bring me joy include cuddles with dogs, the sun on my face, cheesy 80s pop music, laughing, being on stage, true crime podcasts and cooking.