The PGSA is the representative organisation for postgraduates at VUW. We exist solely to ensure you have the best possible academic experience. So, how do we do this? Simple! We cultivate:
We love to talk; even better: we love to listen so get in touch!
Who are We?
The Association is run by up to 12 postgraduate students who work voluntarily on your behalf. The pillar of the Association is our Executive Assistant, Sue Kelly, who is likely to be your first point of contact.
We actively work with the University to ensure the unique concerns of postgraduates are included in University policies. An important aspect of this work is the Minimum Resources Agreement, which specifies the minimum resources all research students are entitled to.
We promote excellence through:
- opportunities for personal growth in leadership
- opportunities for academic growth in workshops, forums and informal discussion
- recognition of success in:
3 Minute Thesis Competition
Research Excellence Awards
We focus on creating a thriving, university-wide postgraduate community. Are you looking to:
- network with fellow postgrads (outside of your office)?
- attend social events (our annual quiz night)?
- escape your office/lab/dungeon?
Then we are here for you! If at any time you have queries, problems, or grievances come and chat to us. We can provide guidance and assure to respect your confidentiality.
Where to find us
PGSA Office: Room 211, Level 2, Student Union Building, Gate 1, Kelburn Parade
Postal Address: Victoria University, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140
Tel: +64 4 463 6973
You can also join in the conversation on facebook and Twitter (@pgsavuw)
Postgrad Computer Suite
The PGSA has a computer suite reserved solely for postgrads located in the PGSA office (room 211), Student Union Building – now with swipe access (using student ID cards)! There are four computers available (one staff & three student domain) also a student printer. The kitchen facilities include a fridge, microwave, tea/coffee. There is also a large desk space and lounge area to use for meetings, study or just to read and relax.
PGSA Executive Members
Bich Thi Ngoc Nguyen (Emerald)
Programme of Study: PhD Criminology
Joined the Exec: March 2017
Bio: I am a PhD student in Criminology, researching the development of dangerousness and risk in New Zealand society. I am passionate about criminal justice reform and social justice, which are the driving forces behind my postgraduate research. I completed my undergraduate here at Victoria, and have worked with a diverse range of students over the years through my experiences both working in accommodation and tutoring within the university. I want to be on the PGSA executive because I think that it would provide a bit of diversity in my PhD experience. I think it is important to have a diverse range of postgraduate students on the executive, and I can bring my knowledge of the postgraduate experience in my school, as well as the institutional knowledge I have gained since starting at Victoria in 2011. I think that having a representative body for postgraduate students is vitally important. Postgraduate study can be an isolating experience, and there needs to be a both a representative and inclusive body to provide opportunities and experiences for postgrads, as well as defend their interests at an institutional level. I have worked with students in a variety of capacities throughout my time at Victoria University, and I have been a postgraduate student at VUW since 2014, so I have a good knowledge of the challenges that are part of the postgraduate journey. I hope that I can bring some insight and experience to the role, and that I can help to improve the postgrad experience for others.
Josh Brian email@example.com
Programme of Study: Master’s Marine Biology
Joined the Exec: March 2017
Bio: Hi I’m Josh and about to enter my sixth year at Victoria University, studying a Master’s student in Marine Biology examining potential genetic resistance in corals to the effects of climate change. I also hold a special interest in the classical Greco-Roman world; in particular, ancient myth, literature and propaganda and hold a BA in Classical Studies, in addition to my BSc. Outside of university, I love running, reading, or watching the Hurricanes and the Phoenix. Given postgraduates do not often attend large lectures (if at all), the sense of community that is easily generated at undergraduate level is not naturally present. This can leave postgraduates rather isolated and disconnected with the rest of the university. PGSA bridges that gap, and allows a wide variety of students to come together at different events, facilitating community and inclusiveness. Something as simple as this can make a huge difference to the mental health and success of postgrads. In addition, it serves an important function in reminding the university that postgraduate students do not just exist for their benefit. Many university adverts highlight the high-quality research and large economic benefit that (especially international) students bring to Wellington. I think the university administration needs to be reminded occasionally that while these metrics are important, providing support and services to postgrads that facilitate these numbers is just as important. By sitting on many boards, I think PGSA does an excellent job of ensuring postgrad interests remain high on the list of university priorities, rather than just maintaining favourable economic reports. I have served on the Science Society executive for two years, including as Vice-President. This has given me an appreciation for how boards work (as well as university politics!), and believe this is an excellent base from which to continue my service to university students, learning many effective communication skills and how to achieve results from staff that have many better things to do!
Priyanka Roy firstname.lastname@example.org
Programme of Study: PhD Theatre
Joined the Exec: June 2017
Bio: I am pursuing my PhD in Theatre Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. I am passionate about writing. I have published two collections of poetry, ‘Willow Tree’ (2014) and ‘Love and a Thousand Questions’ (2016). Apart from working on feminism and theatre, I also write on culture, women’s issues, theatre and films for HuffPost. Joining PGSA felt like a natural process for me as I wanted to add a greater dimension to my PhD experience. Becoming an executive member, I felt, would not only help me support student issues in a meaningful way but also assist me in engaging with important issues of diversity, gender parity and student support that matters to us, not just as students, but as significant contributors to society. The very first day I attended the PGSA meeting , it was clear to me that PGSA was of immense value to student life at Victoria. It not only promotes greater engagement among students but also organises social activities and events to share crucial information regarding student services. PGSA endeavours to make university life both enriching and exciting for all students. Being immersed in creative pursuits like theatre and writing, I sought out PGSA to gain a better understanding of the student body at Victoria and contribute to student wellbeing. I have a background in communication and policy research and I wanted to bring my experience to PGSA and help in the activities that facilitate broader engagement between the students and the university. This experience would help me in building connections, applying my leadership skills and providing me with a great platform to work with students from all walks of life and from every corner of the world.
Rehan Shaikh email@example.com rehan
Programme of Study: PhD Architecture
Joined the Exec: October 2016
Bio: Being an engineer I want to try and strengthen the bridges between PGSA and the 20% of students that are postgraduates at Victoria University. I am a team player with the desire to work with fellow executive members to make the PGSA a truly students’ representative union. I believe strongly in the dynamic power of collaboration. PGSA is making progress but it needs to be refined. As a Finance Secretary and then Chairman of Mehran Student Welfare Trust I have a strong background in student leadership. I have the skills, experience and energy to make the cause of PGSA possible and to work as a team member for incredibly talented, creative and intelligent researchers working for society and the future.
Sue Kelly firstname.lastname@example.org
Joined the Association: April 2007
Bio: I hold the only paid position on the executive and work part-time (20 hours per week). My duties include managing the PGSA office and postgrad computer suite, organising events, publishing the PGSA e-newsletter, website, facebook & database maintenance, managing PGSA finances and undertaking a vast array of secretarial/administration duties. Outside of work I help run my husband’s business, raise two teenagers, enjoy watching their sport and also enjoy gardening and travel.
Taylor Cooney Taylor.email@example.com
Programme of Study: PhD Microbiology
Joined the Exec: March 2017
Bio: My name is Taylor and I’m a scientific researcher in the Cancer Immunotherapeutic field - specifically looking at development of novel peptide cancer vaccines. I moved to Wellington after spending four years studying at Otago, and throughout my time down south always had a keen involvement in all aspects of University life – from two years as a Residential Assistant, member of the Otago University Rowing Club to various board and class representative positions. I believe that as a collective, postgraduate students have the experience, skills and maturity to shape the culture of both our own classes and also those of the undergraduates. I believe this board position is vital for maintaining a positive connection between the student body and the faculty, to ensure that both parties work together for the common goal and allow the postgrad community to make their mark on the Vic Uni culture. Postgraduate study can be challenging and even at times frustrating and isolating. Access to an inclusive, friendly and open PGSA is crucial for creating an enjoyable environment in which to ‘ride the research rollercoaster’. I feel that PGSA provides the important stepping stone between the student body and the faculty staff members. One of my favourite experiences at University was living in a residential college. This experience has given me a hugely valuable set of skills including the ability to work in very diverse teams, a ridiculously large amount of patience, the ability to relate in different ways to different individuals and strategies for prioritising many varied tasks. I have also spent time as a Student council representative and secretary, captained various sports teams, mentored undergraduate students, and been both a school prefect and class representative for science and commerce papers. I thrive on being involved in all aspects of University life, and would thoroughly enjoy the experience and new skills this position may bring. I believe I have the skill set and enthusiasm to be a constructive and valuable member of the PGSA board.
Alyssa Ryan firstname.lastname@example.org
Programme of Study: Master’s Environmental Studies
Joined the Exec: June 2017
Bio: My name is Alyssa and I am currently studying a Masters in Environmental Studies, with a focus on winegrowers’ perceptions to climate change and climate change adaptation in the wine industry. I have been enrolled at Victoria University for the past six years and have completed my BSc in Environmental Science and Geography. I have also spent a year of that time in the United States on an exchange programme for a GradDipSci, to gain a different perspective outside of what is taught at Victoria University and the School of Geography Environment and Earth Sciences. Since returning from the States, I learned the importance of being involved in campus life and that the opportunities and connections made are crucial to both personal and professional development. I have previous experience working with students as a lead tutor and residential assistant, as well as volunteering around university. Through these roles, I have had opportunities to enhance my leadership skills and I hope through the PGSA, I can apply what I have learned to support other post-graduate students. I am interested in the resources available for postgraduate students and promoting the space where students can develop a community. I want to join the PGSA executive so I can apply to skills and knowledge I have gained to improving student’s experiences at Victoria University by offering support and to help make the most of their time here.
Kris Santoso Kris.email@example.com
Programme of Study: Phd Chemistry
Joined the Exec: March 2017
Bio: I am currently in the second year of a PhD in Chemistry, where we are researching new potential antibacterial targets in Mycobacteria tuberculosis. Science research occurs in a collaborative environment and as a result, throughout my postgraduate studies I have worked closely with a number of other postgraduate students in different areas of expertise, each of us trying to understand the other’s language. This has taught me to interact with many students from all over the world in different stages of their studies - a useful skill set in representing the student body. In this role, I am interested in learning about and being involved in the decision-making processes that take place in the University by representing the postgraduate students and their needs. It is important to bring the issues that postgraduate students may be facing to light for consideration during decision-making processes that the university is undertaking. Postgraduate studies are difficult and can be isolating, particularly for those who did not undertake their undergraduate studies at Victoria University. I believe students will achieve better when they are surrounded by like-minded people to bounce and discuss ideas with. PGSA provides a place for such students to network, which can exponentially improve their postgraduate experience. Not only this, but PGSA can provide support and protection for struggling students who may require help outside their supervisor’s involvement. Hence, maintaining a bridged gap between the postgraduate community and the university will better the reputation of the university and attract more international applications.
Schyana Sivanantham firstname.lastname@example.org
Bio: I’m Schyana, and I’m currently studying towards my PhD in the area of Cognitive Developmental Psychology here at Victoria University. My research investigates how Theory of Mind and motor cognition may be coordinated, and the implications for non-shared and shared intentional activities. I have been a student of VUW for four years so far, having gained my Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Psychology (2013-2016). In my free time I like to practice (and improve) my German language skills, and play the piano. As an executive member of the PGSA, I hope to be a voice for postgraduate students, both domestic and international. Postgraduate study is challenging for many reasons, and while I am on my own PhD journey I wish to help others feel at home here at Victoria, and support postgraduate students in any way I can.
Bich Thi Ngoc Nguyen (Emerald) email@example.com
Programme of Study: PhD Accounting & Commercial Law
Joined the Exec: March 2017
Bio: I am interested in exploring the organisation of the University, which would be beneficial when I return to my workplace (a university in Vietnam) after my PhD. I also like socialising with other people to widen my knowledge and share experience. Therefore, a position of Executive Member at the PGSA would provide me with opportunities to engage in the activities of the University and expand my network. I believe the PGSA is a representative of postgraduate students to inform them of relevant issues and policies, raise their voices and concerns, protect their entitlement, and help them to develop necessary skills for their future. I had experiences collaborating with other people. I consulted and kept records for the Accounting and Auditing student Club at University of Economics of Hochiminh, Vietnam. I participated in the Club of Accounting and Auditing for lecturers with the main job as keeping records and encouraging member participation. I also coordinated to support service agents of Electrolux Ltd when working as an Administrative and Accountant, and other departments to collect data as a financial analyst at PepsiCo in Vietnam. I believe my experiences will contribute to the operational activities of PGSA. I hope working as an Executive Member of the PGSA will be a great opportunity for me to get involved in the University environment where I can make new friends and develop my skills in communicating and negotiating with other stakeholders.
Emma Wollum firstname.lastname@example.org
Programme of Study: Master’s Linguistics
Joined the Exec: March 2017
Bio: I am doing an MA by thesis in linguistics after completing honours in linguistics at Victoria last year, when the PGSA computer lab was my happy place and second home. I started my undergraduate degree at Victoria as an international student (I’m originally from the US) and finished my honours year as a domestic student, after taking two years off in between undergraduate and postgraduate study to work full-time and gain residency in New Zealand. Having experienced life at Victoria as both an undergraduate international student and as a postgraduate domestic student, I can empathise with a diverse range of student experiences and provide helpful tips, support and representation to students coming from both domestic and international backgrounds. It is exciting and inspiring for me to see and to learn more about the incredibly diverse range of research interests, cultural backgrounds, and life experiences represented by postgraduate students at Victoria, and I want to join the PGSA executive in order to further develop a thriving and inclusive space for this diversity. The PGSA and the resources it offers were significant contributors to my academic and personal well-being during my honours year, and I hope to provide other postgraduates with the academic and social support that the PGSA has given to me. In addition to my studies this year, I will be working part-time as a research assistant and tutor in the linguistics department, as well as volunteering as a home English language tutor with English Language Partners New Zealand, and performing around town as a singer and accordionist.
Amy Yang email@example.com
Programme of Study: PhD Accounting
Joined the Exec: March 2016
Bio: I am a PhD student in Accounting at VUW focusing on corporate governance and corporate social responsibility issues. After I got my Master’s degree in the Australian National University, I went back to China and worked as a lecturer. I was teaching financial accounting and international financial management. As a senior student, I would like to contribute to the PGSA community helping other postgraduate students with their life. Furthermore, I would like to share and discuss with others about research and ideas. As a PGSA executive member, I can also develop communication, teamwork and academic skills. PGSA aims at building tight connections among students and creating an effective learning environment for postgraduates while my previous study and work experience in the university with students from different cultural background has indicated that I am a suitable person for this position.
The Postgraduate Informer is our monthly e-newsletter. The current and previous three copies of the Informer are listed here but if you would like to find further copies go to the National Library.
The Postgraduate Students’ Association (PGSA) was formed in 1994 by a committed group of postgraduate students with a focus on providing services to postgraduate students not already provided by the University.
In 1997 Dennis and Trevor Landers established the Landers Award in order to recognise an individual who provided outstanding work which fostered the ethos and the objectives of the PGSA, or who had done much to improve the experience of the postgraduate student experience. This was in recognition that in the informal beginnings of the PGSA there were people working tirelessly to support postgraduate students. The Landers Postgraduate Award was an attempt to recognise those who had gone before (operating with their own personal resources) and to recognise those who would come after. The motivations were also partly in response to the closure of the Graduate Students Office.
The first Executive Assistant of the PGSA was Trevor Landers, who worked in an entirely voluntarily capacity as at this time, as the PGSA had no funding or institutional recognition. A delegation, including Trevor, Peter Howland and Vicki Culling met with Alastair Shaw (then President of VUWSA) and argued for a devolution of the quantum which postgraduates paid. Vice-Chancellor Les Holborrow and the Senior Management Team needed convincing. Through discussions, came the Minimum Resource Agreement in which the PGSA and Victoria still discuss and adhere to today. The delegation demanded rights for postgraduate students, and argued that postgraduate students bring in the majority of the income of the University.
The mission and values of the PGSA have not changed drastically from its early beginnings: to get support and resources for postgraduates students, and encourage the University to take postgraduate students seriously and to treat them well.
Past PGSA Executives have participated in international fora on postgraduate issues and management of a postgraduate voice. Trevor Landers in August 1997 attended the World Postgraduate Association Conference in Budapest, where the Budapest Declaration was issued and a World Postgraduate Body established, and was achieved without access to external funding. Once external funding was secured and institutionalised, the foundation of the PGSA was determined.
In 1998 the PGSA as we know it now became established and sustainable, thanks to the financial support from VUWSA and the University, and was formally recognised as a representative student association by VUWSA. We operate as an autonomous association for and on behalf of postgraduate students in partnership with VUWSA. The PGSA is the representative body of all postgraduate students, providing representation and services for all postgraduates enrolled at Victoria. Postgraduate students comprise roughly 20% of students at Victoria and are defined as students who are enrolled at Honours level or above (with the exception of Law, for which Honours is included as an undergraduate course), including graduate diploma students.
PGSA Lifetime Members
Professor Neil Quigley
Professor Laurie Bauer
Dr Peter Howland
Here you can view images of the PGSA in action!
22 March: Interactive Postgrad ForumSee photo »
11 May: PGSA Quiz NightSee photo »
2 June: PGSA BBQSee photo »
19 August: 3MT Final photos: https://ImageServices.shootproof.com/gallery/314363MT
22 November: Interactive Postgrad ForumSee photo »
1 December: Victorias Awards photos: https://ImageServices.shootproof.com/gallery/31874VictoriasAwards
28 March: Interactive Postgrad ForumSee photo »
9 May: PGSA Quiz Night
25 July: Interactive Postgrad Forum
3MT Faculty RoundsSee photo »
Friends of PGSA
Hell Pizza (Northland)
Victoria Street Cafe
The Warehouse (Tory Street)
Milk & Honey Cafe
Crepes A Go Go
Student Learning (SL) http://www.victoria.ac.nz/st_services/slss/
Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) http://www.vuwsa.org.nz/
Ngai Tauira (Maori Students’ Association) http://www.ngaitauira.org.nz/
Pasifika Students’ Council http://www.victoria.ac.nz/vicpasifika/our-identity/pasifika-council.aspx
The Constitution of the Victoria University of Wellington Postgraduate Students’ Association Inc. was ratified at the AGM on 6 October 2014.
2016 Annual General Meeting – 3 October 2016
2016 Initial General Meeting – 7 March 2016
2015 Annual General Meeting – 5 October 2015
2015 Initial General Meeting – 9 March 2015
2014 Annual General Meeting – 6 October 2014
2014 Initial General Meeting – 10 March 2014
Due to space constraints, we will only put up the previous 6 month’s executive meeting documents here. If you would like to receive a copy of papers for previous meetings, please contact us.
PGSA Annual / Interim Reports
President’s Report October 2016
President’s Report March 2016
President’s Report October 2015
President’s Report March 2015
President’s Report October 2014
President’s Report March 2014
Treasurer’s Report October 2016
Treasurer’s Report March 2015
Treasurer’s Interim Report October 2015
Treasurer’s Report March 2015
Treasurer’s Interim Report October 2014
Treasurer’s Report March 2014