Research Officer, AUT Gambling and Addictions Research Centre
Bachelor of Health Science (Honours) in Psychology
Bachelor of Health Science in Psychology
For Laura Mauchline, enrolling in AUT’s Bachelor of Health Science in Psychology helped her discover her passion for research and inspired her to want to become an academic researcher.
“I decided to study psychology because I wanted to be able to learn more about myself, as well as understand why people act the way they do. I started my degree with the expectation that I would go on to become a psychology practitioner, however my love for research and learning quickly became apparent. In fact, by the time I started my second semester in my second year, I knew that I wanted to become an academic researcher.”
Laura realised that to achieve her goal, postgraduate study would be her next step. Soon after completing her undergraduate degree, she enrolled in a Bachelor of Health Science (Honours); exploring the link between personality, self-regulation and physiological response to gambling for her honours degree research.
“I was fortunate that AUT had facilities that enabled me to measure physiological response on individuals who were playing on a decommissioned pokie machine. My research topic also allowed me to see first-hand that the topic of gambling can relate to a broad range of other topics.
“Both of my supervisors – Associate Professor Jason Landon and Dr Katie Palmer du Preez – are involved with the AUT Gambling and Addictions Research Centre (GARC), and during my honours year I was given the opportunity to work as a research assistant, conducting telephone interviews for one of the research centre’s projects. Being involved in gambling research helped me secure my job as a research officer at GARC; a role where I’m responsible for analysing data, writing literature reviews, coming up with ideas for future research, conducting interviews and focus groups, and writing journal articles.”
Opportunities to thrive
Laura says she appreciates the opportunities she was offered throughout her studies.
“During the third year of my bachelor’s degree, I was afforded the opportunity to take part in a special research topic that looked at self-regulation and heart rate variability, which gave me additional experience with the process of conducting research and writing reports. It also helped me decide on my research topic for my honours degree dissertation.
“Another highlight for me was the opportunity to conduct research during a summer internship between my bachelor’s degree and my honours year. I worked with Dr Katie Palmer du Preez on a project that explored the role of gambling in the lives of vulnerable women. This research opportunity gave me experience in conducting research in a real-life setting, including being able to interview participants and speak at the International Gambling Conference in 2018. With the support of Katie, I was able to develop my skills in writing reports and continue to fuel my love for research.”
Outside of the classroom Laura also found time to share her knowledge of AUT with other students through her role as a student ambassador.
“This opportunity was one of my greatest highlights as I was able to assist new students in finding their place at AUT and preparing them for the years to come. Being able to share my experiences and offer tips to new students also made me feel more at home at the university; a feeling that I still have today.”
Advice for other students
Make the most of the opportunities on offer, Laura advises other students.
“My advice for other students would be to take up the opportunities provided for you at AUT, to keep persevering and to ask for help if you need it. AUT is such a welcoming and supportive university, and it’s important to take advantage of all that is on offer; from library workshops to office hours.”
Keep moving forward, she adds.
“Undertaking a degree is a long journey that isn’t always easy, but I firmly believe that anyone has the ability to succeed, even if the road is rough sometimes. It’s also important to remember that getting a degree isn’t a sprint, but a marathon – the key thing is to keep moving forward, to keep trying and to keep learning.”