Doctor of Philosophy candidate
For her doctoral research, she is investigating the ecology of fire, says Shanta Budha Magar who came to AUT as an international student from Nepal to study a PhD.
“I’m interested in understanding how plants and plant traits influence the flammability and fire in New Zealand alpines. Globally, there have been losses of lives, properties, monuments, cultural heritages and biodiversity due to increasing megafires, and New Zealand is no exception. Climate experts are anticipating that megafires will be increasing in temperate and alpine regions.
“Through my research, I’m investigating the causes and effects of wildfires that are linked to plant species and traits in indigenous tussock grasslands using the long-term data sets of over decades. Then, I will predict how these changes can affect future wildfires. These outcomes will help New Zealand to better prepare for future fire risk management.”
She has been impressed by the calibre of her PhD supervisor, says Shanta whose PhD is funded by the Hellaby Indigenous Grasslands Research Trust of New Zealand.
“My primary supervisor, Professor Hannah Buckley, is incredible. In my academic career, she has been the most compassionate, supporting and approachable professor I’ve ever met.”
The right university environment
AUT’s university environment is what she has enjoyed most about her studies so far.
“The most notable aspects of AUT are its learning and working environment. It’s a pleasure to work at this university, as people are friendly, cooperative and supportive.
“There are also many opportunities for students and staff to interact. This includes the monthly postgraduate morning tea and the postgraduate student society, which is run by postgraduate students at AUT. There are also cultural student groups where students can mingle and develop an understanding of each other's cultures.”
There have been a number of highlights throughout her time at AUT, Shanta says.
“I’ve experienced many moments that have encouraged me, including being surrounded by a group of good friends at AUT. I’m also proud of being able to attend the New Zealand Ecological Society Conference online and presenting a portion of my research project.”
Shanta says she would suggest a PhD to those who are interested in pursuing higher education.
“A PhD is a comprehensive learning programme that offers the opportunity to explore and examine a particular subject in depth. The programme helps you develop your skills and knowledge about a particular subject.”
She wouldn’t hesitate to recommend AUT.
“AUT is a young university, but it’s making rapid progress in terms of science and technology. The reason I recommend AUT is that students can find all the facilities they need here. AUT has a wide array of research facilities ranging from high-tech laboratories to nature-based research facilities, including AUT's Living Laboratories.”