Student profile
Whitney Smith

Whitney Smith

Studying for a PhD offers me flexibility. I like that I can set my own timetable and work, according to a schedule that suits my work ethics.


Hospitality, Tourism, Transport and Events PhD

Entry year


Research project

A Feminist Analysis of Gender Representation in Aviation

After completing my masters at the University of Greenwich, I knew that I was not yet finished with academia. There were many factors that motivated me to continue my studies at the University of Surrey. It is a school widely recognised for tourism, hospitality and events (THE) courses and has a strong focus on research.

Before coming to the University of Surrey, I completed my undergraduate degree in tourism management, followed by a masters in international tourism management at the University of Greenwich.

My overall experience of studying for a PhD at the University of Surrey has been challenging and rewarding. There are several resources available that are effective in providing opportunities for skills development and knowledge-sharing.

While London is only a 35-minute train ride away, there are many local attractions in Surrey that offer many of the same benefits. For instance, many London shows perform at Woking Theatre. Surrey, in general, is a great place to hang out with friends and family.

I am lucky enough to have three experienced supervisors: Professor Scott Cohen, Dr Anna de Jong and Dr Albert Kimbu. Their knowledge, support, feedback and general advice has been instrumental in my PhD journey.

We are a diverse collective, sharing varying backgrounds, cultures, experiences and expertise. The people here are genuine and always willing to help.  

Studying for a PhD offers me flexibility. I like that I can set my own timetable and work according to a schedule that suits my work ethics. While I have yet to engage in any collaborations, there are many opportunities for PhD students to collaborate with other postgraduate research students, members of staff, as well as industry professionals. There are also several workshops held by the Doctoral College, which have been an important part in my journey so far.

Transitioning from one school to another can be challenging sometimes. Becoming familiar with the campus, the facilities and departments may be overwhelming to begin with, but as you immerse yourself more with the University, your peers, and university societies you seem to find a way to settle in and become more comfortable with your environment.  I’m incredibly grateful to have been offered a studentship which has allowed me to continue my studies and pursue my career in academia and I am eager to contribute to the social dialogue on relevant topics that represent current trends in society.

Discover our programmes in hospitality, events, tourism and transport, including our research courses.

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