My name is Dr Ashleigh Larkin and I graduated with a PhD from QUT in 2018. My PhD thesis is titled An empirical investigation into how young women engage in and upload female-to-female fights on social media. I started my PhD in 2014, after being awarded an Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship. I was encouraged to apply for the scholarship by my Honours supervisors, and I am so glad I did.
Receiving the scholarship meant I could focus on my PhD. It was such a good opportunity to be able to learn new skills, explore different areas of research, and take the time to engage with different areas of literature. I received so much support from the School of Justice through the whole PhD process. All of the academics were always willing to provide advice or guidance.
I made use of the office space and developed lasting relationships with other scholarship recipients. Being surrounded by other PhD candidates and having high level academic discussions everyday about a range of difference subject areas, is a unique experience. The PhD process provides the opportunity to have free reign over a research project, something that is hard to replicate in other work environments. I was also able to undertake research assistant and sessional academic work to further develop my research skills.
While completing my thesis I developed a working relationship with the Youth Advocacy Centre (YAC). Being awarded the scholarship gave me the opportunity to do voluntary research assistant work for YAC for a number of years. I continue to be engaged with YAC as a member of their management committee.
Since completing my PhD, I have worked in two government organizations. I worked for the Queensland Family and Child Commission and held various research positions. I analysed data from the Queensland Child Death Register, undertook systemic research reviews into child deaths, and worked on an evaluation of the child protection system. I am currently working for Queensland Corrective Services in as part of the Research and Evaluation Group, leading projects relating to criminal justice issues.
Doing a PhD at QUT has given me a wide range of skills and experiences that have allowed me to work in various research evaluation roles. Doing a PhD with the School of Justice at QUT is something I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to develop their research skills and give themselves a competitive advantage in the workplace.
The QUT Centre for Justice is accepting Expressions of Interest projects that align to any of their three research programs: Access to justice, Technologies of justice and Ecologies of justice.