Doctor of Health Science student
With a background as a school counsellor, it’s not surprising that Doctor of Health Science student Marcelle Nader-Turner is exploring the role pornography plays in the lives of adolescents.
“My interest in this area has come from listening to the huge number of young people who talk about their relationship and sexual experiences, and how pornography and online sexually explicit material is so common in the lives of young people, not just as something that is viewed, but re-enacted and expected.”
She hopes that her doctoral research can lead to more open conversations about this topic, especially for young women, says Marcelle whose research is supervised by Dr Gareth Terry and Dr Katie Palmer Du Preez.
“I hope to find a way of enabling more open discussion that allows young women to be freed from some of the limiting ways that strict gender roles require and to create an awareness among themselves that elicits support of one another, instead of the often harsh and negative judgements that surround young women and their sexuality.
“Within the area of education and counselling, there is a lot that isn’t known about how young people respond to pornography, or integrate it into their youth culture and peer groups. As adults who work with young people, we have to be sure we are up to speed with them and their cultural environment, so that we can best support them and help them navigate spaces that are difficult.”
Supported to thrive
Studying AUT’s Doctor of Health Science is a great way to discover, create and learn in a variety of ways, says Marcelle.
“It’s a highly academic degree, but within that, there’s a beautiful celebration and encouragement to bring yourself into what you do; not have your voice lost within the piles of literature. The programme leaders bring themselves to the programme and share that with the students. It feels like a very safe environment to do the growing that is required of us; the highs and the lows, the failures and the successes.”
Being able to learn alongside a wide variety of other health professionals has been one of the highlights of her studies so far.
“The programme is full of people from all areas of health, which is a wonderful way to connect and relate and be reminded that actually working together like this is such a great idea. The programme co-ordinators and leaders are incredible – the support is second to none and the kindness, care and genuine interest from them is what makes doing the programme all the more possible.”
The right fit
The Doctor of Health Science was exactly what she had been looking for, says Marcelle who expects to finish her studies in 2023.
“The degree was exactly what I had been trying to find – an open framework for me to complete research and study while working and to have a place for me to use my day-to-day practice to influence my study, and for my study to change and enhance my practice and ultimately inform the practice of others.”
Fitting her studies around the other key parts of her life has had some challenges, Marcelle admits.
“It’s hard trying to juggle full-time work, family and study, and find time for me somewhere in amongst it all. However, everyone’s in the same boat and that reality is recognised by the programme leaders, and they are really supportive and understanding.”