PhD panel discussion (online)

Join the Auckland branch of AWIS for a PhD panel discussion featuring three women who have obtained their doctorates and taken very different paths. Emily Tosio (Chemical and Materials Engineering), Lauren Smith (Applied Maths and Mechanical Engineering) and Rachel Zussman (Biomedical Sciences) will share their career stories with you and answer your burning questions about life after a PhD.

Anyone is welcome to attend, including non-members, with the content particularly aimed at current PhD students, postgraduates and senior undergraduates, from all areas of the sciences and engineering. There will be plenty of time to ask the panel your burning questions about life after the PhD!

The panel will take place on Zoom, from 6.30-8.00pm, Thursday 4 November. Register at

Emily Tosio
Emily's PhD in Chemical & Materials Engineering used microscopy and mechanical testing to study the changes in cartilage and bone in the early stages of the disease Osteoarthritis. She finished in 2014 and has been working in the medical device industry since then. She has used her testing skills to help design and test new products to treat respiratory diseases with Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. Now she uses her skills in research and data analysis to help Aroa Biosurgery develop new devices for treating wounds using sheep stomachs. While doing this, she's raised her 3 year old daughter and is expecting another child in the new year.

Rachel Zussman
My PhD research was in the area of biomedical science and looked at the mitochondrial enzyme glycerol 3-phosphate dehydrogenase in placentae, supervised by Professor Larry Chamley and Associate Professor Tony Hickey. I submitted my thesis earlier this year at the end of April and will be completing my oral exam in October. After submitting my thesis, I took time off to relax, focus on hobbies, and get involved with voluntary community-based work. I recently got a part-time job to allow for some time to continue working on writing and publishing papers from my thesis. Beyond that, I’m still figuring out what my next steps will be.

Lauren Smith
I am an applied mathematician, studying synchronization phenomena and fluid mixing. I did both my undergraduate and postgraduate study at Monash University in Melbourne Australia, finishing my PhD in 2016. I originally thought I would be a pure mathematician, but I was corrupted during a stint at the CSIRO. My PhD is technically in Mechanical Engineering. After my PhD I started a postdoc at Northwestern University in Chicago. Again, I was in an engineering department, though this time it was Chemical and Biological Engineering (lucky for them I was not allowed near a laboratory). After Northwestern I finally ended up in an applied mathematics department at the University of Sydney – a second postdoc. At the start of this year, I started as a Lecturer at the University of Auckland. I worked the first six months remotely from Sydney which was a struggle, but I finally got here! I am a trans woman, I started coming out to people at the start of 2019, and have been out publicly for a little over a year. This has presented its own challenges, but everyone in my life has been really amazing.