Elham Sayyad Abdi

Posted April 20 2018

Faculty: Science and Engineering Faculty, School of Information Systems
Year graduated: 2014
Thesis: Web Professionals: How do they Experience Information Literacy? 
Career category: academic

Passionate information researcher and educator Dr Elham Sayyad Abdi has been awarded a 2018 Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence to explore people’s information experience in all aspects of life, with an aim to enhance informed citizenship.

Dr Sayyad Abdi describes her Fulbright program, her future goals, and how her eagerness to embrace new challenges and build professional networks led her to exciting new opportunities in Australia and overseas.

What motivated you to apply for the Fulbright scholarship?

Fulbright is all about “increasing bi-national collaboration, cultural understanding and the exchange of ideas” between Australia and the US.

I believe any academic, at different points in their career, should challenge themselves with such exciting opportunities. This will allow them to gain more in-depth experiences of the broader world of academia as well as expand their connections, which is a must for young passionate academics.

What will your Fulbright program involve?

My Fulbright program includes both teaching and research at the University of the Pacific, CA, in the U.S.

Teaching an undergraduate signature course, I’ll use my information literacy background to help students to become effective information users, critical thinkers and lifelong learners, all required skill sets for informed citizenship within a rapidly changing information society.

My research will be on the nascent idea of “information experience design (IXD), which is about bringing the theory and practice of information research together. Through exploring people’s information experience and integrating it into real-world interventions, IXD enhances and enriches people’s information use in their everyday lives or at work in today’s rapidly changing information world.

What piece of advice would you give to someone about to start a PhD at QUT?

I started my PhD 8 years ago with no connections in Australia. Thanks to the amazingly supportive people I worked with in the past few years, I’m now reasonably well-connected in my field, and this Fulbright is the result of one of the connections I made in 2015. I cannot emphasise enough how critical, valuable and powerful networking is. Make lots of connections (and of course maintain them!). Each connection could be a potential opportunity in your future.

What’s your main goal for 2019?

I am a passionate information researcher, very eager to develop and expand my “information experience design” idea. In 2019 and post my Fulbright, I’m planning to find a home for my IXD idea where I can further research it, advance it and publish more about it.


Interested in developing your professional networking skills? See Dr Catherine Armstrong’s article How to Develop Successful Networking Skills in Academia.