16 November 2017

When Kay Oddone began her PhD in education at the beginning of 2016, she didn’t expect to be part of a team organising a key international research event that would add a rewarding and real-world experience to her course. 

The Faculty of Education’s HDR Conference was held from 3-4 November, a biannual event that gives HDR students the opportunity to present and showcase their research work to fellow students and academic staff.

The conference is organised by students for students, an arrangement that allows them to shape and deliver the event so it benefits their needs and aspirations. The theme for this year’s conference was Imagine. Inspire. Impact with over 40 research students from QUT, Beijing Normal University and University of Calgary presenting their research across a range of educational topics.

Kay, whose own research focuses on teachers’ professional learning, said that being part of the organising committee allowed her to feel a sense of accomplishment that can sometimes seem distant when undertaking a research degree.

“The HDR process is a long one. You live in your head a lot of the time, and it can sometimes feel like you haven’t actually completed something in a long time,” Kay said.

“Being part of a team to deliver an event from start to finish helped me feel a sense of achievement, and reinvigorated work on my own research project.”

Being part of the team also allowed Kay to connect with other students and build an important support network that would be there throughout her degree.

“It’s easy to believe that you are the only one experiencing challenges, but being able to meet others who are sharing the journey and to form a little community helped immensely,” Kay said.

Before starting her research degree, Kay was a teacher and librarian for Brisbane Catholic Education for 20 years, where part of her role involved delivering large professional learning events for teacher librarians in the Brisbane Archdiocese.

Despite Kay’s extensive event management experience, she said that being part of the conference was an amazing learning opportunity and experience as a HDR student.

“I didn’t know many of the academic or professional staff beyond my supervisors and course coordinators. After organising the conference, I was able to see the ‘inside’ workings of the university and step into the academic world in a new way.”

“It can be challenging to take on ‘one more’ thing when juggling sessional teaching, HDR research, and home life – but the hard work was worth it. It’s a wonderful opportunity that the faculty provides, and I wholly encourage others to get involved.”

Visit the Faculty of Education website for more information PhD and research degrees and opportunities.  

Faculty of Education higher degree research student Kay Oddone


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