Strengthening the postgraduate community
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Each year, the Doctoral College at Surrey hosts a two-day event for the University’s postgraduate and early career research community. It’s a chance to share research, meet fellow researchers and gain conference experience. PhD researcher, Eleanor March, was one of the students involved in organising the event.
She said: “I was fortunate to receive funding from the Doctoral College Studentship Award for my PhD, so the conference was a way for me to give something back. I applied for the role of Marketing Lead as a way to maintain and develop my professional skills, but I subsequently also took on the role of Vice Chair.”
"I now feel a lot more confident in how my own work fits into a wider research community here at Surrey"
Eleanor recognises the importance of the conference, partly because it is interdisciplinary. She said: “It was a chance for us to each escape the academic bubble of our own discipline and find out what people were doing in other departments.” In addition, she felt that the conference was a great showcase for the scope of research taking place at the University. She also benefited personally from her involvement. “The conference was one of the highlights of the first year of my PhD. I learned a lot about navigating University bureaucracy, from dealing with budgets and cost codes,through to booking tablecloths! And I feel a lot more confident in how my own work fits into a wider research community here at Surrey.” Her fellow PhD student, Marcela Moraes Mendes, who chaired the 2018 Conference Committee, agrees.
“It definitely looks good on my CV, particularly by showing engagement with science advocacy. I got more confident, and I got to know and work with people from different departments, faculties and backgrounds.” With the skills she has honed working on the conference, Eleanor now organises research events and is part of a PGR-led group that holds monthly interdisciplinary research sessions. She said: “I’m looking forward to progressing my own research and continuing to strengthen our postgraduate community here at Surrey.”