Summer Research scholars get a rewarding introduction to the world of research

12 April 2018

Summer Research Scholarships offer students an opportunity to gain practical research experience, collaborate with leading researchers in the University and discover their potential for postgraduate study. They are open to high-achieving domestic and international students who are enrolled in a New Zealand or international university. Summer scholars conduct a research project under supervision for ten weeks over the summer months and receive a tax-free stipend of NZ$6,000, making for a rewarding summer break.

Three Summer Research Scholars in the 2017/2018 cohort share their experiences.

 

Florence Wong (left) with two of her supervisors.
Florence Wong (left) with two of her supervisors, Dr Jennifer Tatebe (centre) and Dr Sue Sutherland.

Florence Wong, a Bachelor of Human Services student, spent her summer working on the project “Evaluating Innovation in Initial Teacher Education”, supervised by Dr Jennifer Tatebe, Dr Sue Sutherland and Claudia Rozas from the School of Critical Studies in Education.

“My summer scholarship has been a lot of work, but it was worth it. I read upwards of 80 articles on preservice teacher identities and social justice teacher identities. In a typical assignment, I would read five articles and be about ready to give up. But the deeper I delved into the topics of this project, the more I wanted to read.

"My time also consisted of reading scenario responses and coding them in NVivo, a qualitative data analysis software. I was also able to make graphs on NVivo, which have been helpful in visualising findings.

“Not only did I get to learn about the research topic, but I also got to grow as an individual. Being a summer scholar involved independent work and taking initiative. I developed confidence in my ability to complete work to a high standard. I also developed a sense of responsibility for the project, almost like a parent wanting it to be the successful child I know it has the potential to become.

“Despite the independent nature of Summer Research Scholarships, I had a lot of support from my supervisors. While most summer scholars worked alongside one supervisor, I was lucky to have worked with three! My supervisors never made me feel inferior, I felt that I was working in collaboration with them rather than for them.

“Regardless of where my professional journey will take me, my extensive reading has given me some insights that will apply to any career I pursue.”

 

Caroline Marquette
Caroline Marquette

Bachelor of Arts (major in Education) student Caroline Marquette spent her summer researching “Gender Identity, Stress, and Coping at School: A Window into Adolescent Mental Health” supervised by Dr Penelope Watson from the School of Learning, Development and Professional Practice.

“My summer scholarship experience was an invaluable asset in advancing my academic and career development.

“It was very fun and educational to work one-on-one with an experienced researcher in the Faculty of Education and Social Work. I learned a great deal about how a study is conducted from beginning to end. Additionally, I have been enlightened about the potential difficulties and pitfalls that one must be wary of when conducting research.

“Entering the quantitative data gave me a better understanding of how SPSS (statistical analysis software) works and how beneficial it is for research. I also learned the necessary skills for building a research database. Coding and interpreting the qualitative data greatly expanded my critical thinking skills and taught me useful research techniques.

“Participating in this project has built my confidence and made me more optimistic about successfully completing the required dissertation for my upcoming masters study.

“Additionally, the research being conducted at the University of Auckland is meaningful and relevant to many issues and questions currently being faced by society. It was gratifying to play even a small part in such important work.

“It was so nice to have a summer job where my ‘boss’ was actually kind and supportive and interested in my learning.”

 

Induja Rasanathan
Induja Rasanathan

Bachelor of Health Sciences student Induja Rasanathan’s project “Digital communities of practice and doctoral writing: What should supervisors know?” was supervised by Dr Susan Carter from the Centre for Learning and Research in Higher Education.

“Research has always fascinated me. In the future I would like to work in health research.

“This project, on improving the academic experience and supporting doctoral candidates, was both inspiring and relevant to my own aspirations for the future.

“With my supervisor’s guidance I was able to conduct an extensive review of the current literature on digital resources for doctoral students at the University.

“Being involved with research was an entirely new experience for me as an undergraduate and allowed me to hone my time management and study skills. Through my participation in this project, I learnt a lot about myself and the way I work. My close-reading ability also greatly improved. I’m now far more efficient in my approach to academic literature, which I hope will stand me in good stead in the future.

“The insight I’ve gained into the process of gaining a doctorate, through this project, has been fascinating. The literature has shown me how doctoral programmes function within an increasingly digitised academic sphere. In light of this, the need to accommodate and recognise social networking as a resource to support doctoral candidates is vital.

“I’ve also learnt a lot about the unique relationship between a student and supervisor, through my experience of this project. Dr Carter supported me through stressful periods where I was juggling familial commitments alongside this project. She acted as both supervisor and mentor, someone whose guidance I greatly appreciated.”

 

Future scholarships

For 2018/2019, the Faculty of Education and Social Work has been awarded 19 standard scholarships and 4 additional scholarships specifically for Māori, Pacific and international students, as well as students from other universities. 

If you would like to find out if Summer Research Scholarships are for you, visit Why do a Summer Research Scholarship?