Moving mountains with psychology

Elliot’s experience with UNICEF has been eye-opening to say the least. From assessing social conflict and security in camps set up for people who have been forced to flee their homes in Pakistan to implementing a feedback campaign on development programs.

“In my current role I’m developing a text message program to get people’s real time feedback on the programs we deliver to deal with water and sanitation, new mothers, menstrual hygiene and youth empowerment.”

Elliot has enjoyed his time at UNICEF but it hasn’t been without its challenges. This includes language, cultural, and religious barriers as well as issues that arise when working with government and other organisations.

“It’s a constant challenge but always very unique day-to-day. Development work puts you in places and situations you’d otherwise never be in, and as a result you never suffer from boredom.”

Lucky for Elliot, these constant challenges are easily overcome with the vast range of skills he gained from his psychology degree.

“My degree gave me the two most useful tools, and I use these on a daily basis. The ability to compile a scientific report and the ability to execute quantitative and qualitative analysis.”

“Social cohesion in this complex community needs to be understood to ensure safety, decrease crime and allow cooperation to achieve common goals. This is where Dr Platow’s lectures on identity theory helped in my efforts to decrease intergroup conflict in the camps.”

When reflecting on his career path Elliot admits he had no idea where his degree would take him.

“That’s the beauty of the degree I did. An ANU psychology degree is something you can push at almost anything. It’s a far more flexible tool than its given credit for. Even a mild understanding of statistical methods can win you jobs in any weird or freaky field.”

He adds that, “a psychology degree is not only useful for those who want to do clinical or research psychology,” but it can also send you on roads less travelled. Elliot’s experience is a testament to this with his degree has set him up to work in development and make a mountain of difference to the lives of others halfway across the world.

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