Elena Titkova

Elena Titkova

Doctor of Philosophy student
Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology with First-Class Honours
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

She has always been interested in understanding human behaviour and studying mental health, says Elena Titkova who came to AUT as an international student from Russia to study psychology.

“I had amazing lecturers throughout my undergraduate degree. For instance, Dr Erik Landhuis and Dr Richard Siegert got me interested in the research side of psychology and psychometrics. My favourite course was Experimental and Applied Behaviour Analysis. I really enjoyed learning how basic principles of behaviour analysis can be applied in real life, for example when raising children, helping clients diagnosed with autism, or when dealing with mental health issues like depression.

“I’d highly recommend studying psychology, even as a minor as part of your degree, to people who would like to work in the areas of education or mental health in the future.”

For Elena, her own future is bound to be in academia; a goal she has had since her early days at university.

“My goal is to become an academic, so getting into the postgraduate programme was my priority since I was an undergraduate student. After I completed my Bachelor of Arts, I continued my studies with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and now a PhD.”

Hoping to improve sexual education
For her PhD research, Elena is focusing on social psychology.

“I’m studying people’s perception of sexual consent communication. I believe it’s a very important topic and education in this area has a huge impact on young people.

“I’m hoping that my research findings will contribute to the improvement of sexual education in Aotearoa. After completing my PhD, I’m planning to continue doing research and complete a post-doctoral fellowship.”

Elena’s doctoral research is being supervised by Dr Erik Landhuis, Dr Ying Wang and Dr Jay Wood.

Supported to thrive
Now completing her third AUT qualification, Elena has had plenty of highlights throughout her time at the university.

“I’ve really enjoyed having smaller classes as that allowed me to engage in more interactive learning as well as getting to know my classmates and teaching team better. I also appreciate AUT’s focus on diversity and equity in education.”

The supportive learning environment was another highpoint for her, especially during her time as a postgraduate student.

“The huge amount of support, help and guidance that I received over the past few years, first as an honours degree student and now as a PhD student, really makes a difference for me. Being an international student in New Zealand can be quite challenging at times, but I’ve been very lucky with my supervisors.”