Doctor of Philosophy candidate
The challenge of self-learning and growth is what makes a PhD so exciting, says Renata Bastos Gottgtroy who expects to complete her Doctor of Philosophy in 2022.
“After completing my bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and health sciences, I knew that I wanted to continue with research in exercise and sports science, but that I also wanted to learn new skills in computer science.
“What drove me to do a PhD was wanting to learn how to plan, problem solve and overcome obstacles by myself – with guidance from my supervisors of course – without a structured, predetermined outline.”
Choosing AUT for her PhD was an easy decision, says Renata who grew up in Auckland but completed her bachelor’s degree in Canada.
“AUT is internationally recognised for having one of the top postgraduate sports and exercise research programmes, with some of the best supervisors, atmospheres and facilities. When I came across the work of Professor Patria Hume, who is now my primary supervisor, I knew I wanted to work alongside her in the future.”
Technology and traumatic brain injury
For her doctoral research, Renata is exploring a new, personalised approach to support people with traumatic brain injury (TBI).
“My PhD focuses on exploring how data analytics and machine learning can provide a personalised approach for concussion/traumatic brain injury assessment and rehabilitation management.
“I chose this research topic because I wanted to develop skills in data science and machine learning in an area I was interested in. The area of concussion and TBI is still under constant development and as someone who has had a serious concussion myself, I wanted to dedicate my work to advancing research to positively impact those that have had, do and will have traumatic brain injuries.”
While she is still in the early stages of her research, Renata is already looking forward to using the skills she is gaining through her PhD to analyse, evaluate and advance other areas of sport and recreation.
The postgraduate sport programme at AUT is one of the best in the world, Renata says.
“So far my experience at AUT has been great! The facilities, labs and office space are fantastic, and the supervisors and connections available are at an extremely high calibre.”
The atmosphere at the AUT Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand (SPRINZ) has exceeded Renata’s expectations.
“The facilities and space make for a working atmosphere that is refreshing. I’m located in the same facilities as my primary supervisor and so am able to access her expertise either through our weekly meetings or by popping in when she is available. The workspace at SPRINZ also allows for PhD students from similar areas to communicate and network with each other.
“Here at SPRINZ we’re also lucky enough to have the opportunity to be part of statistics workshops, ethics and librarian advice, student culture groups, journal clubs and social/sport clubs. All of these make the experience that much better.”