Lydia Harrell

Lydia Harrell

Doctor of Philosophy candidate

The freedom and independence to pursue her ideas is what Lydia Harrell loves most about her doctoral studies.

“I would recommend the Doctor of Philosophy to anyone wanting to enter into an academic or research career. I love the flexibility it offers me. There are no classes; just independent thinking, reading and writing.

“I enjoy my supervisor meetings and intellectually stimulating discussions – they constantly open me up to new ways of thinking. There’s also a lot of support in terms of research workshops, tutorials and seminars,” says Lydia whose doctoral supervisors are Professor Nesta Devine and Marek Tesar from the School of Education.

Global perceptions of students
Having studied in both India and the UK, Lydia draws on her own experiences for her doctoral thesis.

“I realised that what makes a good student in India is very different from what makes a good student in the UK. When I started studying and then teaching in the UK, I had to completely unlearn and change my learning style, beliefs and practices in order to succeed.

“This led me to question who makes decisions as to who is a good student, and what are the ideas that influence these decisions? I’m now exploring this topic through my PhD, focusing on the current image of secondary school students in southern India.”

Some of her earlier work has already been published in few Indian journals of management and education, and she was a finalist in AUT’s three-minute thesis competition.

Responsive and supportive
She chose AUT for its welcoming response to her research proposal, Lydia says.

“I had sent my research proposal to academics at different universities in Australia and New Zealand. The amazing response I received from AUT, the speed with which they responded to my queries, the possibility of getting a scholarship and the availability of scholarly supervisors whose research interests matched my own made me choose AUT.”

Settling into life and study in New Zealand had its challenges at first, she admits, but AUT offered plenty of support.

“I had amazing support from the international student services who helped me with all the information and the faculty guided me on how I could apply for scholarships,” says Lydia who was awarded the AUT Faculty of Culture and Society Doctoral Scholarship for three consecutive years. In addition to her studies she also works as a lecturer in applied management at Otago Polytechnic’s Auckland International Campus.

Last updated: 17-Jul-2017 2.03pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.