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An interview with Career Changer Scholarship winners: Teri Crawford, Lauren Jane Hales and Greg Brown

Following successful careers across various fields, these professionals decided they wanted to embark on new challenges and sought out opportunities to pursue further education and skill development. They were awarded with our Career Changer Scholarship and were able to start their studies to achieve their goals. We caught up with them to discuss their careers and what inspired their decision for change.

By Elsa Tatam. Published 11 March 2024.


Lauren Jane Hales worked for the United Nations – Food and Agriculture Organization, Governing Bodies Servicing division before deciding to retrain as a solicitor and studying an MA Law (SQE1) with us online.

“My decision to retrain as a solicitor stems from years of searching for a role where I would be able to use my education to serve those more vulnerable and disadvantaged than myself. I have always been passionate about social justice; from studying the politics of the non-West at SOAS, learning Arabic in the West Bank, to dedicating three years teaching in refugee camps in Jordan, I have learned about different forms of oppression and have strived to redress these. I believe the law can be a tool to lift people out of precarity and restore a sense of justice, and I wish to be part of this change.

In 2017, I founded and managed a startup organisation called Capoeira al-Shababi which aimed to provide psychosocial support activities to refugee youth in Jordan. I worked in close contact with youth who had their safety, education and futures stolen from them. I witnessed similar stories of innocent lives being dismantled in my volunteer role visiting asylum seekers and providing emotional support in Campsfield House, Oxford. I was awarded the UNIDO award for young social entrepreneurs in the Mediterranean for my project which assisted hundreds of children in Za’atari refugee camp. In my current role as a Governing Bodies consultant at the UN FAO, I regularly provide an interpretation and analysis of the Constitution and rules of the Organization. I have been given responsibility for drafting documents, meeting minutes, notes and speeches due to my drafting abilities. The preparation for intergovernmental meetings, particularly in the transition to virtual meetings during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, entailed an intense workload with tight deadlines and a significant amount of coordination between various departments.”


Teri Crawford was an Academic English tutor for international students before being awarded a career changer scholarship to study an MSc Psychology Conversion course part-time online with us.

“My career change is driven by my journey with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and my determination to enhance the health and well-being of those affected by the condition. Living with IBD means navigating unpredictable flare-ups, enduring agonising pain, feeling socially isolated, and grappling with emotional distress, which is often exacerbated by the financial burden resulting from time away from work. Over the years, moving from one medication to the next has prompted me to question the reliance on pharmacological interventions and the inadequate information and psychological support provided to patients.

My questions led me to research IBD health literacy whilst studying at university. I reviewed the literature on IBD health literacy across disciplines including psychology, gastroenterology and psychoneuroimmunology. I critically assessed current IBD care approaches and found that despite the growing recognition of the role of the gut-brain axis in IBD management, research connecting mental health, IBD and patient education is lacking. To address these gaps, I proposed an evidence-based intervention designed to improve IBD health literacy while providing social and psychological support through collaborative education. Although limited in scope, the project strengthened my determination to improve IBD healthcare. Motivated by the research gap and my personal experience, I aim to pursue a PhD focused on IBD and mental health. I aim to become a Health Psychologist, researching to inform evidence-based approaches, developing patient information materials, and expanding efforts to provide integrated care. Integrated care approaches have the potential to enhance health outcomes by empowering healthcare professionals to offer personalised and holistic support. Simultaneously, by helping patients understand the relationship between psychological well-being and IBD, individuals can adopt a self-management approach that is more likely to improve long-term health outcomes.”



Greg Brown is studying a Postgraduate Diploma (Law Conversion) PgDL as a part-time online student after working as a Profession Welfare Rights Advisor at Maggie’s Cancer Charity and being awarded a career changers scholarship.

“Since graduating from my Master’s degree in 2013, I have pursued a career empowering vulnerable members of society as a welfare rights adviser. I am deeply passionate about social justice and derive immense rewards from achieving legal redress for the disabled people and carers that I represent. I also have first-hand experience with some of the prejudices faced by people with ‘hidden’ disabilities, including when seeking adjustments to manage symptoms of my chronic health condition during my undergraduate degree (2008–11).

In my current job for Maggie’s (2018–present), I have developed key skills in critical analysis, legal research, and written and oral articulation that have allowed me to excel as a non-legally qualified representative in the First-tier Tribunal (Social Entitlement Chamber) and the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber). One of my recent appeals has now become reported case law, GH v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2023] UKUT 104 (AAC). Every month I open around 100 cases helping benefit claimants to obtain their legal entitlements. Many clients are terminally ill and destitute, I support them with utmost compassion and dedication. The annual reported gains for the clients of our 1.7 FTE service exceeded £2 million in 2022 – much-needed income put directly into the pockets of some of our society’s most vulnerable members. In addition to this, I work freelance for the Scottish Legal Aid Board as a Welfare Benefits Peer Reviewer. I assess for technical accuracy case samples of advice agencies seeking accreditation with the Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers, a Scottish Government owned quality assurance framework. I also have a good working knowledge of housing and homelessness, discrimination, and employment in both the English, Welsh and Scottish jurisdictions.”


Find out more about our scholarships and bursaries.