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New PhD student Munirah Bangee

PhD success for local student Munirah

A local student has been described as an inspiration by her sister after she overcame her disability to achieve her dream of becoming a doctor of psychology.

Munirah Bangee, a 26-year-old PhD student from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), became a doctor this week after spending the last three and a half years working towards her PhD in psychology. The former Penwortham Girls’ High School and Runshaw College pupil suffers from a life-long muscular disability that affects her speech and mobility but was determined to pursue her ambition to work in research.

Munirah said: “After gaining a first in my undergraduate degree in neuroscience at UCLan, I was awarded a scholarship to go onto a PhD and jumped at the chance to develop my research in psychology in the area of loneliness. Over the years I’ve had a lot of support from my family and tutors and I’ve made sure to take advantage of every opportunity that has come along.”

This included spending two weeks at the University of Chicago working with distinguished psychology Professor John Cacioppo on a collaborative research project and also presenting at three conferences in Reading, Austin Texas and New York.  

Over the years I’ve had a lot of support from my family and tutors and I’ve made sure to take advantage of every opportunity that has come along.

“Working with Professor Cacioppo gave me invaluable experience and although I was nervous presenting at the conferences, I really enjoyed it and made some fantastic contacts,” Munirah said.

Her sister, 29-year-old Misbah, has supported Munirah throughout her studies. She said: “My sister is a real inspiration and the whole family is incredibly proud of what she’s achieved. Munirah takes everything in her stride and has never let her disability hold her back from reaching her goals.”

Munirah is now working at UCLan as a Senior Research Assistant on stroke and cancer care projects and has already seen some of her PhD research published in two prestigious journals.

She added: “I’ve worked towards this goal for such a long time and now it’s all come together. I want to thank my colleague Dawn O’Shea for this nomination and I hope I can show other people that having a disability doesn’t have to be a barrier and with the right support anything is possible.” 


Munirah Bangee with her very proud sister Misbah.

Lyndsey Boardman | 14 July 2016