Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Pet positive (Giselle Roberts)

This interview with Professor Pauleen Bennett by Giselle Roberts first appeared in the SHE Review (October 2018) and is republished here with kind permission. 

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Pauleen Bennett and Errol | Photo courtesy of Giselle Roberts
My guess is that Dr Pauleen Bennett is rarely without a dog in tow. On the morning I met her, Errol, one of Bennett’s Lagotto Romagnolo dogs, sat happily in a sunshine-filled corner of the office, gnawing on a chew toy.

Bennett is an anthrozoologist and behavioural psychologist who has devoted her career to understanding the relationship between humans and animals. She heads Australia’s first dedicated human-dog interaction laboratory, and together with Dr Tiffani Howell, has embarked on a ground-breaking program to train assistance dogs for veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

I sat down with Dr Bennett to chat about how animals enrich our lives.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Done with PhD…and still miles away from Paradise (Fazeela Ibrahim)

Photo collage provided by Fazeela Ibrahim

Could it be three and a half years already?

It still seems like yesterday that I left ‘Paradise’ to embark on my doctoral journey back in 2015. If you're curious to know more about my leaving Paradise, my story begins here.

Approximately three years, two months and a week later, I submitted my thesis for examination in early June 2018 (i.e. just before the three year, three-month minimum submission mark). It was a two hundred and seventeen-page document. To put it simply, for me, it was a proud moment and significant achievement but also a reflection of hard work, exhaustion, self-doubt and tenacity.

It was a shocking moment when my thesis amendments were approved by my supervisors.

My initial reaction was, “I am not ready! There is still a lot more improvement to be made.” But mostly it was because I really wasn’t ready to let go of my prized possession yet, for several reasons (most of which were not directly related to my thesis). What I felt at that time was a quiet moment of joy followed by the dread of what was coming next.

Monday, 10 December 2018

More than words: Reflections from La Trobe’s Academic writing month 2018 (James Burford)

The beginning of the 'Creative ways into academic writing' workshop | Photo by James Burford
In this post RED (Research Education and Development) team lecturer James Burford reflects on the activities of the La Trobe Academic Writing Month, which took place in November.

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This probably comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me, but I’m not super good with numbers.

The slide-sweep-click movement that my thumb does on my phone to find my calculator is a familiar one, and you’ll sometimes see me counting out big numbers on my fingers.

Despite my rather humble abilities in the maths department I know that (taken collectively) the La Trobe researchers participating in #LTUAcWriMo this year will have written more than tens of thousands of words. Indeed, some individual writers clocked up word counts in the tens of thousands. Perhaps the total number of words written by #LTUAcWriMo participants numbers in the hundreds of thousands, or maybe even more?