Water Journal : Current May 2016
www.awa.asn.au 34 Mentoring international researcher, and we talk very carefully about how we can establish links and lead in his area internationally. It's important to think strategically about what work you take on and how you prioritise it, because that is going to dictate how your career pans out. You can very quickly career-wise. I've learnt not to expect that people are going to have the same ambition that you have. There is an assumption made that all people doing a PhD are aiming to become an academic, but I know a lot of people who have used their PhD very successfully in the industrial workplace. Arash is incredibly motivated and enthusiastic. He seems to have unlimited energy for things. Beyond that, he's got a very, very good understanding of what is needed to complete a task to a high standard. The work that we do is directly related to industry, it's very applied research and he is fantastic in bringing the team together, making sure everyone's kept involved, listening to feedback and making sure it gets imple- mented. I think that's a great skill of his. You need a lot of energy to be able to do that. He is also very good at seeing the research need. I think he gains motivation from that. He sees the bigger picture. Mentoring is incredibly worthwhile. I think I'm only where I am today due to good mentorship. others too. I also feel like it's just very much entwined with what I students too. They come through not sure of what to do, and I end up discussing what my path was with them. I don't think I'd be doing that role. Mentee DR ARASH ZAMYADI UNSW In 2010, the Young Water Professional Conference was held at UNSW. Rita was the Chair and I was encouraged to attend. I was told that Rita was a good researcher. At the time, I was towards the end of my PhD and I thought that good things might come from working with her. Rita spent half a day showing me around the laboratories, the university, and we talked about potential projects. I had a good feeling about receiving support from her, as she found the time to show me around and talk to me about work, even though she was very busy. Once we started working together on a project at UNSW, we organised regular two-hour meetings. I was surprised how much time she dedicated to speaking with me. I would bring to the table what I had been doing and what I wanted to be doing. We talked about what I was getting right and what I could improve. I would take notes and then go home and think about them. I'd then come back to her with questions, and we would talk about the things I didn't know how to approach. For example, I wanted to boost my publications record. We had a chat about it and she helped me set goals for myself. was mainly due to her support. I also realised I needed to develop my own independence as a researcher. I spoke to her about how I could do that. We decided that I could start by supervising small honours projects, and then move forward from that. Rita put me in contact with industry partners. I received a lot of international support from her too -- she helped me to enhance my professional connections outside of Australia, which I wasn't expecting. That was a really pleasant surprise. That is one thing that I really like about Rita; she has very good relationships with our industry partners. I am trying to learn more from her about networking. Rita is a very good academic; she sees the value in innova- tive research, but also applied research. I really believe in that, particularly in water. The research we do has to be applicable. I think mentoring is the most essential thing. I have to say that within academia, some supervisors are just supervisors. They just tell the students what they have to do and then help them do it, while a mentor is more than just supervising. Having a mentor is very important. Research can be really hard; there are so many things that we don't know. It can to give instruction. The hardest thing about professional research is trial and error, and having someone to talk with about that, and to help you see your strengths and your shortcomings. It's essential. Everyone needs a mentor. My experience has been fantastic. To get involved in the Australian Water Association's mentoring program, as either a mentor or a mentee, contact your state branch. RITA PUT ME IN CONTACT WITH INDUSTRY PARTNERS. I RECEIVED A LOT OF INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT FROM HER TOO -- SHE HELPED ME TO ENHANCE MY PROFESSIONAL CONNECTIONS OUTSIDE OF AUSTRALIA, WHICH I WASN'T EXPECTING.
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