My student experience
"My favourite memories of Surrey were getting into the classroom and learning with like-minded people who were interested and engaged in the subject matter."
Louise Rossney embarked on our MSc Nutritional Medicine after illness forced her to give up a successful engineering career. She now runs two businesses; Rossney Consulting, a private nutrition consultancy specialising in depression and Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), and Rent Bright Light, Ireland’s only depression light box company.
Why did you choose to study Nutrition and Medicine and why at Surrey?
Following a successful career as a senior engineer, I became ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).
During the course of my recovery I completed a master’s degree in Nutritional Medicine at Surrey and, in parallel began doing personal research into light therapy and its applications to health. I have set up two businesses as a result - Rossney Consulting and Rent Bright Light.
After graduation, whilst working as a telecommunications engineer, I became ill with ME/CFS. After few years it emerged that, in my case, nutritional problems were contributing to some of my symptoms. As doctors get very little training in nutrition I couldn’t get adequate help in this area. I had to find a high quality, evidence-based, well-regarded postgraduate course in nutritional medicine so that I could learn to help myself. I needed to know that I was getting the most up-to-date information from leading researchers and medics in various areas of nutrition research.
The modular nutritional medicine masters run by the Department of Nutrition and Metabolism at the University of Surrey ticked all the right boxes and that is why I chose it. It has become a world-renowned course with health professionals travelling from all over the world to participate.
How has what you learnt at Surrey helped in your career?
What I learnt at Surrey not only helped my career, it changed my whole life. The practical application of the information I gained on the course allowed me to recover from my illness and use my qualification to switch careers. I now run Rossney Consulting, a private depression and ME/CFS nutrition consultancy in Ireland. I also run Rent Bright Light, Irelands only depression light box rental company.
In the course of my work, I use the information and skills I learned on my course to help people with depression and ME/CFS investigate the nutritional and lifestyle issues that may be effecting their symptoms. There is a recognised gap in evidence-based nutrition training amongst medical professionals unless they have received further training. My qualification allows me to ensure that my depression and ME/CFS clients don’t fall through those gaps.
What has been your career highlight?
My career highlight came when first I opened up the consulting business and became my own boss in 2011. When I was ill, I was told I had a very low chance of ever working in a normal capacity again. The invaluable information that I learnt on the course at Surrey very practically helped me to beat those odds and recover. As a result, I was able return to work with a brand new career. I am currently the only person in Ireland doing what I am doing.
Any favourite memories of your time at Surrey?
My favourite memories of Surrey were getting into the classroom and learning with like-minded people who were interested and engaged in the subject matter. My fellow students were smart and dynamic and interesting. The opportunity always existed to question, challenge and discuss. We all learnt from each other as well as from the lecturers. The university campus is fantastic in terms of facilities and Surrey itself is a lovely town. There’s plenty to do in the college environment so the social life was great.
What advice would you give to our current students about to leave and enter the job market?
Set yourself apart and make sure you like what you do! Find the niche, find that thing that no one else is doing that is needed in your life or in society or by your potential employer. Make yourself an expert. That way you’ll never be redundant and if you like what you do, it won’t seem like work. I’d get up every morning and do my job for free (if I didn’t have to pay the bills!).
Is remaining connected to the alumni network important to you?
The alumni network benefits are substantial. Alumni have access to everything from the library to discounts in stores. The online network is also a useful way of keeping in touch with other graduates.
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