Monday, 27 July 2015

Orientation for graduate researchers - 21 July 2015 (Tseen Khoo)

There's nothing worse that fronting up at a new degree, then going through those initial weeks and months of not-knowing just about everything.

We like to think we know things, especially if we've managed to get into a research higher degree program!

To help graduate researchers acclimatise quickly to La Trobe University, and let them know how they can find assistance and advice, the Semester 2 Orientation was held last Tuesday (21 July) at John Scott Meeting House.

L to R: Michael Chan, Leda Hidalgo, and Md. Aminul Islam
About thirty graduate researchers, many university staff (academic and professional), and expert panels of PhD students and supervisors participated in the day's activities.

The Orientation program (.pdf) for the day was very full, and aimed to get new graduate researchers off to a strong start with their studies and feeling at home within the institution.

Units presenting at the Orientation included the Graduate Research School, Ethics and Integrity, Library, Student Union, and Student Learning.

Higher degree study is notorious for being an isolating experience, but it certainly doesn't have to be that way.

Monday, 20 July 2015

A worthy experience (Priyanka Reddy)

I am only the second individual, and the only female, in my circle of immediate and extended family that has ventured into the world of academia.

Seeing the life of a science academic, I've found it gruelling and often filled with the trials and errors of unending experiments that require perseverance, grit, and heaps of patience.

So, when I was selected as a finalist for the Australia 2040 Conference as a result of my 30-second video, I was stunned and honoured.

Unknown to me at the time, the weeks ahead would take me on a journey that would prove intoxicating, mortifying, and extremely gratifying.

I knew I’d need to deliver a 5-minute speech about my work to a general audience. What was not so apparent was just how ignorant I was about the concept of ‘5 minutes’! After all, we live in a world where 5 minutes is never enough, or at least not near enough for the things that matter.

As soon as I met with the communications specialist organised by the Cooperative Research Centres Association (CRCA), it became very clear just how important that 5 minutes would shape up to be.

Monday, 13 July 2015

From San Francisco, CA to Bendigo, Vic (Lynna Feng)

Photo by Lynna Feng
Four months ago, I made the move from the United States to Australia to pursue a PhD at La Trobe University.

Whenever I tell someone that I’ve come from California to do my PhD at La Trobe’s Bendigo campus, I often get this carefully constructed question: “So…what made you move out here?”, or from more casual friends, “Why in the world did you move from California to BENDIGO?”

It turns out that people think I'm a little crazy for leaving the US and coming to Australia for my PhD program.

I should probably back up a little bit and clarify that while I have fallen in love with Australia and the lifestyle of a smaller town, it wasn't my lifelong dream to move to and study in regional Australia.

If you had asked me five years ago, I would have told you that, in 2015, I should be one year into a degree in veterinary medicine at the University of California, Davis. I was one of those kids who had their entire life perfectly planned.

So, how exactly did that turn into a solo move around the world to live in fear of hitting kangaroos while driving on the wrong side of the road?

It all came down to making the most of any opportunities – and one really exceptional mentor.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Writing for The Conversation (Tseen Khoo)

Misha Ketchell (Managing Editor, The Conversation) at the podium
Photo by Jason Murphy
We all hear about research outreach and engagement, but what does it actually look like in practice?

On Wed 17 June, the newly appointed Chair of Public Scholarship Professor Chris Mackie facilitated the 'Writing for The Conversation' session, an afternoon of presenters who spoke about their experiences with writing for the public.

Chris has written about his public scholarship role for The RED Alert before, and he said, "The 'Writing for The Conversation' event provided a great example of cross-University collaboration to attain the right result".

The Graduate Research School RED team organised the session with Chris, and it featured keynote speaker Misha Ketchell (Managing Editor, The Conversation), and engaging and expert speakers from ARCSHS (Jayne Lucke) and La Trobe Asia (Nick Bisley).

After the event, Chris said, "Misha's talk was excellent and hit just the right note. I have had very positive feedback from participants."