PGSA Executive

The PGSA is managed by a group of postgraduates who volunteer their time to represent their fellow students, encourage excellence, and build community among postgraduate students at VUW. The current Constitution of the Victoria University of Wellington Postgraduate Students’ Association Inc was ratified at the AGM on 6 October 2014. Executive members are guided by a code of conduct and the PGSA Executive Manual.

 
 

President: Elizabeth Olsen

Joined the Exec: September 2018
Programme of Study: PhD Philosophy

As the president of the PGSA, I am committed to building a strong, connected postgraduate community at Victoria University of Wellington. I’m mid-way through my PhD researching the philosophy of logic presented in introductory textbooks. The PGSA offers me a outlet when I need to do some constructive procrastination and a place where I can connect with others who know just what I’m going through. I believe in the power of a united voice to advocate for change, and the importance of including the postgraduate voice in decision-making at VUW.

Elizabeth Olsen

Elizabeth Olsen

Will Abbiss

Will Abbiss

Co-Vice-President: Will Stanford Abbiss 

Joined the Exec: October 2017
Programme of Study: PhD Media Studies

I’m a PhD candidate in the media studies programme, studying television period drama. As a newcomer to Aotearoa New Zealand, it’s been wonderful to be involved with the PGSA from my very first day of study and take advantage of its ready-made postgraduate community. I’ve loved getting involved in all the events we run, which as both participant and organiser have helped me start to get used to public speaking. I also help to manage our committee representatives, and edit the PGSA’s monthly newsletter ‘Informer’. I’d encourage all postgraduates at Vic to get stuck in and make use of the PGSA to practise presenting your research, celebrate excellence or just make new friends!

 

Co-Vice-President: Leo Mercer

Joined the Exec: July 2018
Programme of Study: PhD Environmental Studies

Kia ora, my name is Leo and I am a PhD candidate in Environmental Studies within the school of Geography Environment and Earth Sciences. I started university here at Victoria University in 2013 and they haven’t got rid of me yet! I completed my BSc in 2015 majoring in Environmental Science and Geography and I am now in the second year of my PhD which is examining the land use options available to Māori landowners on the East Coast of the North Island. My research is particularly interested in the role that carbon farming can play in the development of Māori land and how this land use is valued when compared to its alternatives. In my spare time I enjoy mountain biking, tramping and attempting to read non-academic material! I am also a tutor and have developed an understanding and passion for this process. The PGSA occupies an important role for post graduate students who may often miss the sense of camaraderie enjoyed by undergraduates, who instead toil away in isolation. Developing connections between oneself and others in the same boat may at times feel daunting and difficult but incredibly important for the journey we are all undertaking. Connecting post graduate students, building a sense of fellowship and advocating for their interests at local and national scales is one of the important roles occupied by the PGSA, and one which I am excited to take part in. It is my aim to contribute to this good work by fostering links between the university, organisations that advocate for and represent students, and the student body itself.

Leo Mercer

Leo Mercer

 
Déanna Ayupova

Déanna Ayupova

Executive Member: Déanna Ayupova

Joined the Exec: June 2019
Programme of Study: PhD Chemistry

Salut ! My name is Déanna. I would like to think I am still relatively new in Wellington. I have moved here after finishing my Master degree in Paris, France. Although Wellington is not as big as Paris, it has its unique charm. I am still discovering calming views of Wellingtonian life and infinite open air.  That being said, I am currently on my second year of PhD studies in Chemistry. Much of my student life, first at Bachelor and then Master degrees, has been involved in a medical research and specifically cancer. My current PhD project involved developing a device for early diagnosis of lung cancer. In my studies I combine two disciplines: Biology and Chemistry to tackle a difficult problem in the most efficient and non-invasive way.

Besides my studies, I quite heavily engaged in other extra curriculum activities in our university and Wellington community. I am currently an active participant of VicPlus leadership development program and Victoria International Leadership Program (VILP). I also enjoy cooking, travelling, and outdoor activities. I am a dog lover! I have 3 dogs back home and I miss them dearly.

When I started my PhD I didn’t know anyone yet. That’s when PGSA appeared in my life. I first joined PGSA as a participant. PGSA really helped me out to connect with other students like me with whom later on I went to many trumping trips and participated in several missions such as cleaning beach, Mountain Vic, and planting trees. I believe that PGSA plays an important role not only in connecting postgrads form different disciplines, but also plays an active role in their development. PGSA offers a variety of events and workshops that help to build useful skills in a friendly environment. Where else you can find a better place and audience to practice your research talk?  I encourage everyone to join PGSA and make a use of this great organization that represents US! I am very happy to join this organization as one of their executive members and I am thrilled to see what I can bring to make it even better.

I believe that I can utilize my skills and knowledge to be the best of my abilities and contribute positively to my personal growth as well as growth of the organization.

 

Executive Member: Jessica Shaw

Joined the Exec: June 2019
Programme of Study: Post Graduate Diploma Strategic Studies

I am studying towards a post graduate diploma in Strategic Studies while working full time as a policy adviser at the Ministry of Education. I am all things social media and website updates for the PGSA. In my spare time you can catch me practicing yoga, at a spin class, brunching around Wellington and listening to political podcasts.

Jessica Shaw

Jessica Shaw

 
Amy Lynch

Amy Lynch

EXECUTIVE MEMBER: Amy Lynch

Joined the Exec: November 2018
Programme of Study: PhD Chemistry

Hello! My name is Amy and I am studying towards my PhD in organic chemistry, investigating how to synthesise and utilise glycopeptides. I completed both my Bachelor of Science (2013-2015) and Master of Science (2016-2018) at Victoria University. Outside of my studies I enjoy crafts, such as knitting and tatting, as well as getting overly invested in a good novel. I joined the PGSA because as a Master’s student I became aware of the importance of the representation of postgraduate students in the university. Postgraduates are the backbone of the research output of the university, but also have a specific set of stresses, concerns and needs. I hope to listen to postgraduate students and contribute to a positive postgraduate community.