Ashleigh Haw, University of Western Australia:
As a high school student, two of my teachers strongly discouraged me from pursuing university education because of my ‘poor attention span’. I was told on many occasions that I was simply not cut out for higher education. Fifteen years later, it feels surreal to be in the final stages of my PhD candidature in UWA’s School of Social Sciences after having received a Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Education, and taken part in various teaching, research assistant, and project management roles within the university environment. My PhD research focuses on community perspectives concerning news media discourses about seeking asylum in Australia. Being awarded a postgraduate scholarship for TASA 2017 has been one of the highlights of my candidature and I am very grateful to have received such a rewarding opportunity. Having recently relocated to Victoria for family reasons, this scholarship enabled me to return to Perth to attend and present my research and to assist with the organisation of the conference as part of the Local Organising Committee. My favourite component of TASA 2017 was the Postgraduate Day, particularly the ‘meet a mentor’ session. I had the privilege of being placed in a group discussion led by Dr Shanti Robertson from Western Sydney University, and I found her advice refreshingly honest, practical and encouraging. Since becoming a member of TASA, I have felt increasingly supported and inspired as a budding researcher and I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the entire TASA team. Keep up the amazing work!