Linden Moore

Linden Moore

Doctor of Philosophy candidate

The topic of ambassadorship resonates deeply with her, says Linden Moore who came to AUT as an international student from the USA and is exploring ambassadorship in women’s and girls’ sport for her PhD in sport management, particularly focusing on basketball.

“The reason I found New Zealand basketball was because one of the country’s top players, Penina Davidson, was one of my role models when I was at uni. Although Penina and I don’t share identical journeys, her bravery in speaking about mental health helped me find vulnerability in expressing my feelings that had built over time as someone who felt out of place due to a heart condition. When I found her, I also found the Tall Ferns, the national women’s basketball team. It stuck out to me how relatable Penina and her teammates were.

“It was amazing to me how Penina and the Tall Ferns helped me find my voice – half a world away at that. However, the more I tried to learn about them or women’s basketball here in general, there was little to no information. This made me emotional because if these women can inspire a woman in her early 20’s from across the world, imagine what they can do for women and girls in New Zealand!”

For her PhD research, Linden is drawing on this experience for her investigation of ambassadorship in women’s and girls’ sport. Her research is supervised by Dr Michael Naylor and Dr Mel Johnston from AUT’s School of Sport and Recreation.

“When I decided that I wanted to pursue a PhD, I knew I wanted it to be in New Zealand because I was confident that my area of interest would be catered to here: marketing women’s sport. People who are ambassadors for their sport are effectively performing a marketing function on the grassroots levels. By understanding who is helping grow their sport, what their activity is and the motivation behind it, organisations can create resources to help support the ambassadors continue their important work.”

Opening up new opportunities
Linden says the opportunities and experiences her studies have opened up are what she has enjoyed most about AUT.

“My research is an official partnership with Basketball New Zealand, and we’re currently working together on ways in which to integrate my research on ambassadorship within the basketball community. Aside from research, I’m a member of the research project team of the National Sport Club Survey, which is a partnership between AUT SPRINZ and the New Zealand Amateur Sport Association.

“I was fortunate to receive an AUT Doctoral Scholarship, and had opportunities to present my research at the 2022 Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand (SMAANZ) conference, the 2023 European Sport Management Conference and the 2023 SMAANZ conference. I’ve also worked as a teaching assistant, assistant lecturer and as an academic supervisor for students doing their workplace experience. My supervisors have made a huge effort to line me up with opportunities in and out of the classroom.”

She says she wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the PhD in sport management to other students.

“I’d definitely recommend this programme to others because my experience with supervisors and other staff have been positive and they want to work with you to make cool things happen. I like the relationships that the people at AUT have with the sports industry and that they use those connections to create beneficial outcomes for both the industry and students.”

Advice for other students
Linden’s advice for other students is simple: stay curious and remember your ‘why’.

“Remembering what your goal is can help ground you and keep you motivated when things get tough. There will be highs and lows on whichever path you choose, but if you’re passionate and keep an open mind and ask questions along the way then that makes things more manageable. Control what you can control and do the best you can with what you have.”

Keep showing up, she adds.

“You never know what interaction or event might influence or change the game for you. There are heaps of opportunities but you have to put yourself out there. If it sounds cool, ask and try it out! Surround yourself with good people and believe in yourself.”