PhD Candidate

Aaron Heap

I realised that I really loved learning and answering questions posed to me by collecting evidence and analysing it. So I decided to undertake my own research and get the experience which comes with completing a PhD.
aheap@student.unimelb.edu.au

Q: What “day to day” type activities that you do?

Currently I am researching gaps in the knowledge around areas I am looking at researching as part of my PhD. I have started conducting a structured literature review and liaising with different industry professionals and members of the group to bounce ideas off. 

Q: What pathway did you take to get into the research?

Prior to moving to Australia, I worked in local government undertaking water quality assessments, but I struggled to find similar work here. This led me to consider broadening my horizons and I completed the Masters in Ecosystem Management and Conservation at The University of Melbourne. Originally this was an avenue I took to get back into the workplace. However, I realised that I really loved learning and answering questions posed to me by collecting evidence and analysing it. I then decided I want to undertake my own research and get the experience which comes with completing a PhD.

Q: What is the most interesting thing that you have done during your Masters?

During my Masters, I was able to get work as a research assistant. The position not only pays well for a student job and provides an abundance of new skills, but it also allowed me to see a huge part of Victoria and the impact of the 2019/2020 fires.

Q: Do you have any advice for future PhD and Masters students?

All the opportunities I have gained in my working and academic career have come about through networking. To be successful make sure people within the school know who you are by attending lectures, having your camera on during zoom, and asking questions. You never know when they may have opportunities to offer you or will champion you for opportunities you have applied for.

Q: What is one thing to look for in a supervisor?

When narrowing down who I would approach for a PhD supervisor and for my Masters research component I first considered what I would enjoy doing for the next few years, I then considered who have I interacted with who I could see myself working with. I asked fellow PhD students in the lab how they found the supervisor. During this time, I was considering what research will be important in the future, but more importantly I looked for what I would enjoy researching through the PhD journey – 4 years is a long time.

Learn about my project

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