A qualified Sport Nutritionist who puts her new-found knowledge into her own training is amongst 950 others to graduate at the University of Stirling’s Winter Graduation today.
Gifted middle distance runner Hannah Sheridan studied the latest cutting-edge hydration techniques whilst completing the Masters degree at Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence.
Hannah, from Barnet in North London, compared the benefits of sports drinks, water and mouth rinses through a trial with elite cyclists. “I didn’t find a clear-cut difference, but often finding nothing is finding something,” explained Hannah, who previously played Squash at County Level before becoming a Cross Country runner.
“Research of training at repeated intervals suggests that as you fatigue then a mouth rinse might have a greater benefit. I use mouth rinses at my track training sessions and my research suggests less trained athletes may well benefit more.”
Stirling’s postgraduate Sport Nutrition degree is an upgrade qualification for those who already hold the International Olympic Committee Diploma in Sports Nutrition. Eight universities worldwide have this established arrangement.
She added: “I did some freelance work with the English Institute of Sport (EIS) and they told me about the University of Stirling and the great health and exercise science research group. It sounded good and the fact the University is attached to the sportscotland institute of sport was another big pull for me to choose Stirling. I have loved it. It’s a really supportive environment and full of talented researchers.”
Hannah has taken every opportunity to further her career prospects, working in football with Watford Ladies FC and the Men’s Academy as well as for England Hockey, providing nutritional support for athletes transitioning from junior to senior level. During her time at Stirling, she has also volunteered with Scottish Cycling, providing physiological assessments to elite mountain bike and endurance track cyclists.
Her dedication to her sport saw her selected for the EIS Skills for Performance programme, an intense five days working with leading performance sport nutritionists.
She said: “All the nutritionists came from a science background and the workshops showed us how to apply what we learned in the lab. My ultimate aim is to work at the EIS and I’ve been invited in to work with their team and shadow them so hopefully it’s another step in the right direction.”
Hannah steps onto the stage at the first of two University of Stirling Winter Graduation ceremonies held at the Gannochy National Tennis Centre on campus, celebrating the achievements of graduands from the Schools of Sport, Arts & Humanities, Management and Applied Social Science. The second ceremony acknowledges graduands from the Schools of Health Sciences, Education and Natural Sciences.
There are also two honorary doctorates being awarded, to retail expert and women in business champion Dame Mary Perkins, founder of Specsavers and to Stirling alumnus Paul Dumbleton, who helped establish PLUS, a Stirling charity for young people with disabilities.
The Stirling ceremonies complete the University’s Graduation programme in 2014, following its Highlands & Islands celebration at Inverness Cathedral last month.