Meet our student researchers: Victoria McCulloch




Although not a student anymore, Victoria McCulloch benefited from the AWF Student Grant Scheme back in 2017 when she was studying veterinary medicine at the University of Edinburgh. Victoria chose to focus her AWF-funded research project on consumer perceptions of poultry production systems. 


Q: Tell us a bit about you

I am originally from Canada but I moved to the UK in 2016 and studied at The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. I now live in Edinburgh and work as a vet in first opinion practice, completing my certificate in surgery and locuming on the side.

Q: How did you hear about the AWF student grant and what made you apply?

I heard about it online and I applied as I wanted to work on a project that felt important to me. [Victoria focussed her research project on “Public perception and poultry production”, delving into consumer perceptions of poultry production systems and the labelling of poultry products, aiming to gauge public awareness and concern regarding poultry welfare.]

Q: Why did you choose this project to work on?

I always felt naive and uninformed about terms used in the food industry such as “organic” and “free range” and how this applied from a welfare perspective. I felt that as a vet student lacking this knowledge the general public must be just as well, if not more, uneducated on this topic yet were making consumer decisions daily without knowing their impact.

Q: What did you hope to achieve?

I wanted to get people thinking about why they were buying certain products and what those purchases meant especially in terms of animal welfare. In the hopes that long-term, consumers would prefer higher welfare products and build an increasing demand that would in turn have a positive impact on animal welfare.

Q: What did you enjoy the most about your project?

I enjoyed going to the Discussion Forum in London and presenting the findings of my research in front of an expert audience.

Q: What did you find challenging (if anything)?

The public speaking aspect was challenging but I felt really proud of myself for doing it!

Q: What have you learned from your project and this experience?

I felt great accomplishment after seeing this project through from beginning to end.. It provided me with something to think about other than just vet school. Working on this project also boosted my confidence in my abilities.

Q: Finally, what advice would you give to students wanting to get into research/apply for an AWF grant?

If you're considering applying, go for it! Your chances are better than you think.