Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies
Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies

Early Career Scholars

Graduate and Postgraduate Training

The Clark Center advances graduate and postgraduate training in two main ways. First, it provides research assistantships and a postdoctoral fellowship to scholars who, in turn, facilitate the Center’s research initiatives and Undergraduate Research and Mentorship Program (URMP). Second, graduate students from across campus receive funding for conference presentations, professional development workshops, methods training, and research activities. Both avenues of support serve to promote the study of Australia and New Zealand across the College of Liberal Arts and the wider University.

Graduate Student Training

Since 2012, the Center has employed six graduate students from the Department of Government and one from the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Due to the expansion of its research initiatives and URMP, it became necessary in 2015 to employ a dedicated Graduate Research Assistant. Two students, Maraam Dwidar and Christine Bird, have held that position.

Postdoctoral Training

Dr. Andrew Gibbons is the Clark Center’s first postdoctoral research fellow. He accepted this appointment in 2018 after receiving his PhD from the University of Melbourne. His research agenda examines the intersection of media and politics, with a focus on election campaigns, political news, and political communication. Dr. Gibbons has greatly enhanced the Center’s research capacity, facilitating the completion of datasets, analysis of data, and conversion of working papers into manuscripts submitted for publication.

Clark Center Research Initiatives

The Center’s Postdoctoral Fellow and Graduate Research Assistant co-manage the construction of large-N datasets. They train undergraduates in data collection and coding, manage teams of undergraduate researchers, draft data-management plans, maintain project codebooks, and clean data. Both are actively involved in co-authoring papers generated from the research. In addition to mentoring all students in the URMP, they assist the Clark Scholars with their independent research projects. All of this affords them important project management, teaching, and mentoring experience, as graduate students who have worked with the Center attest.

As a result of their involvement in Clark Center research, graduate students have broadened their own research agendas to include Australia or New Zealand. Dr. Rebecca Eissler (Assistant Professor, San Francisco State University), an expert on US presidential budget rhetoric, is contributing to the New Zealand Policy Agendas Project by constructing a dataset for New Zealand budget speeches. She and Dr. Annelise Russell (Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky), will present a co-authored paper on this research at major conferences in the near future. Both worked for the Clark Center as graduate students.

Graduate students have enjoyed conference support provided by the Center that has enabled them to present their research at annual meetings of the Australian and New Zealand Studies Association of North America, Comparative Agendas Project, and Law and Society Association as well as various conferences in the fields of Creative Writing, Political Science, Journalism, and History.

The Clark Center has facilitated graduate student participation in grant-writing workshops and software training, including in R, Stata, and Python programing languages. In 2019, it enabled Christine Bird, a Graduate Research Assistant with the Center, to attend the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The ICPSR Summer Program is considered to be the premier quantitative methods training institute for social scientists.

Graduate Students

2017- Present Christine Bird 

2017-2018 Min Hye (Harriot) Park

2016-2017 Annelise Russell

2015-2017 Maraam Dwidar 

2014-2015 Rebecca Eissler

2012-2014 Sean Fern

2012-2013 Stephen Joyce 

ausiiDr. Rhonda Evans and Dr. Andrew Gibbons at the 11th Annual Australia US Innovation and Investment Forum.
 UT-Austin Graduate Student Robert Shaffer in Melbourne, Australia.
carolinamoehleckeUT-Austin Graduate Student Carolina Moehlecke presenting in Guadalajara in 2018.
icpsrGraduate Research Assistant Christine Bird at the ICPSR.

  • Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies

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