I began a Bachelors of Development Studies (now International Development) at the University of Adelaide in 2007, one of the first years that the degree had been offered. I was attracted to Development Studies as I was looking for something to supplement a Bachelor of Laws as a double degree, and the range of courses offered under Development Studies touched on almost all of my interests – particularly anthropology, public health and gender.
During my undergraduate studies, I found my Development Studies courses so fascinating that in 2010, I enrolled in Honours – focusing my research on the role of masculinities in HIV prevention in South Africa. Working closely with my supervisor, my honours year gave me the opportunity to refine my research and analysis skills; and apply the knowledge I had acquired during my undergraduate studies to a more discrete, longer-term project. During this time, while I was expanding my academic skills during my honours, I was also able to apply these skills more practically through some short-term research and consultancy positions in the community development space.
In 2012 I began a PhD in Development Studies with a research project exploring the intersection of Communication for Development (C4D) and Gender in the Pacific. Through this research I was able to interact with a number of development partners – donors, implementing partners and grassroots NGOs – and conduct research across academic disciplinary boundaries – media and communication, gender studies, and anthropology. I completed by PhD fieldwork in 2013 and am in the final stages of drafting my thesis.
During my PhD candidature I was fortunate to be able to accept a number of research and teaching assistance positions within the department – tutoring for a number of anthropology and development studies courses, and contributing to a range of research and consultancy in the development communication space. Sine 2015, I have been employed full time as a Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) Research Fellow, based at La Trobe University, Melbourne. This position has enabled me to expand on my PhD research, exploring a range of gender and development issues across the Pacific.