Katie Ann Smith
PhD candidate, Katie Ann Smith, gets to bridge the gap between the biology and psychology of the brain, and connect with communities at the same time.
“I have always been fascinated by the unbelievable things the human brain can do. Throughout my undergraduate degree in biological sciences and psychology, I became more interested in how to bridge these two fields.
“I loved learning about the biochemistry of the brain and all the molecular interactions that occur, but I also wanted to connect this science to real-world outcomes. I have also always enjoyed working with children and am interested in understanding how the brain grows and changes in childhood.
“What I love about postgraduate study is that you have the autonomy to craft your programme to suit the topics that you find the most exciting and meaningful.
“I have designed a programme of research in my PhD which bridges the gap between biology and psychology, and which has also offered many opportunities to work with children and families. It’s always a pleasure to communicate my science to the communities it impacts, and to have some fun teaching the children about the electricity in their brain and how it works.
What I love about postgraduate study is that you have the autonomy to craft your programme to suit the topics that you find the most exciting and meaningful.
“I feel lucky to be in a department of motivated, intelligent, and fun people. It’s great to feel a sense of whanaungatanga in the school. My supervisors have inspired me to continue my journey in academia. I feel lucky to work with leading experts in the field, and to have their advice and support.
“I feel very privileged to hold the University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship. This scholarship has helped me by lessening some of the financial pressure of being a student, so I can focus on my research.
“I think pursuing a postgraduate degree can be some of the best years of your life. There are so many options out there. I recommend talking to an array of potential supervisors to see what kind of research excites you. Postgraduate study can be tough, but with the right topic and the right people, you can really surprise yourself with how much you can achieve.”