Kari Vallury is from the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences and is one of the eight winners of the Best HDR Student Publication Award for 2022. Kari is supervised by Associate Professor Barbara Baird, Professor Sharyn Roach Anleu and Professor Paul Ward.
The winning publication “Going Viral: Researching Safely on Social Media” explores Kari’s experience of her doctoral research going ‘viral’ during recruitment for a national survey on abortion stigma, which resulted in over 65,000 responses in just a few days, and the implications for the safety and wellbeing of researchers.
We invited Kari to share her insights into the PhD journey and what winning this award means and what the future holds.
Tell us about your PhD journey so far.
My PhD journey has been long – I’m in my final and eighth year of part-time candidature. While I was warned ‘life would happen’ during my candidature, I hadn’t quite realised life would be as messy and full as it has been, with university restructures, parenting, and work. Nevertheless, it has done its job – I’ve become a much more well-rounded, experienced and nuanced researcher and human. I’m also incredibly proud of the outputs in progress!
What does winning this award mean to you?
Awards like this are invaluable in formally recognising I am heading in the right direction, and that my work matters. During such a long process, moments of “we see you” are really very affirming.
What is your research about?
My research focuses on understanding the extent, experiences, and drivers of abortion stigma in Australia. It has involved developing and implementing a national survey of over 70,000 Australians and interviewing 20 young people from around the country who both have and haven’t had abortion experiences.
What advice would you give to current or prospective PhD students?
In a changing world, I’d recommend thinking about why a PhD is important to you (trying to take all of the ego out during this figuring-out process), and how you can use the many years it will take you to make the world a bit better. Partnering with organisations and industry can really help to clarify the context and potential impacts of your work, and to ensuring you are able to communicate your research meaningfully beyond academia.
What are your future goals and plans? / Where do you see your career heading in the future?
I feel so lucky to have a job and a PhD which are both helping me to find my place in the reproductive rights and abortion research and advocacy space in Australia. I hope I continue to find opportunities to work in a research implementation/translation space in reproductive health and rights policy, advocacy and/or research for many years to come (with a little dancing on the side for the purposes of sanity).
Vallury KD, Baird B, Miller E, Ward P
Going Viral: Researching Safely on Social Media
J Med Internet Res 2021;23(12):e29737