Senior Lecturer, La Trobe University, Bendigo, Australia
Doctor of Philosophy
The opportunity to work in an international environment was great, says sport and recreation alumnus Dr Rodrigo Rico Bini who came to AUT as an international student from Brazil.
“I was sharing an office with people from all places in the world. While I was studying at AUT, I had access to all I needed to do my research, including top quality new lab facilities at the AUT Sport and Research Institute New Zealand (SPRINZ). I was also fully supported to attend conferences and seek high-quality publications for my work.
“I would definitely recommend AUT’s postgraduate sport and recreation programmes because you’re supported by highly skilled academics who will walk with you during your journey. They will help you develop your skills, and get yourself positioned in a good place for applying for jobs later.”
The internet helped him find his way to AUT, Rodrigo says.
“I was halfway through my master’s degree in Brazil and realised that doing a PhD overseas would be important for my training. I found AUT’s Professor Patria Hume when I was doing some online searches for a potential PhD supervisor. She was extremely open to my ideas, and receptive to my experience and limitations.
For his doctoral research, he focused on cycling biomechanics, supervised by Professor Patria Hume from AUT’s School of Sport and Recreation, as well as Professor Andy Kindling and Dr James Croft.
“I had engaged in research on cycling biomechanics during my undergraduate training; a topic I expanded on during my research master’s degree in Brazil. When I moved to New Zealand, Patria wanted me to continue on that path and expand my skills.”
A career that makes a difference
After graduating in 2011, Rodrigo returned to Brazil where he spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow, followed by another two years as a lecturer. In 2016, he moved to Australia to join La Trobe University where he has worked ever since.
He knew fairly early on that he wanted to be a lecturer, Rodrigo says.
“By the time I was finishing my undergraduate degree in my native Brazil, I knew I wanted to be a university lecturer. My supervisor at that time said that in order to do that, I had to get a PhD. This was possibly one of the best pieces of advice I received during my life.
“What I love most about my career is the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. Through your teaching and research, you can help athletes to improve their performance, coaches to plan better training sessions and clinicians to make better decisions about their treatment plans. It’s also great that our students see us as an example they could use to go even further than where we are.”