Dr Andra Ivănescu completed her PhD in Video Game Music at ARU in 2017. She is now Programme Lead for the undergraduate Games Design degree at Brunel University London, and part of the institution's video game music research group, Ludomusicology.
‘After I finished my PhD, I started working as an hourly-paid lecturer, and then applied for a full-time lecturing job at Brunel University London, where I have worked ever since,' Andra explains. 'Since the publication of my first monograph, I have continued to publish consistently in the field.'
"My intellectual curiosity keeps me exploring all sorts of different areas of my field. Since my first monograph, I have continued to publish consistently."
When asked what her favourite part of the job is, Andra admits that 'it is difficult to pick’, before reflecting, ‘I love the time I spend teaching and learning with my students, and the intellectual (and personal) growth that consistently happens in a classroom. I also love research, and my intellectual curiosity keeps me exploring all sorts of different areas of my field(s).'
Andra explains that her interdisciplinary background posed some challenges as it was ‘too specific for both careers advisors and networking events, although I did attend the latter’. In the end however, she closely monitored ‘online platforms, mailing lists, and relevant websites for positions that were relevant to my expertise’ and ultimately secured her current role.
"I love the time I spend teaching and learning with my students, and the intellectual (and personal) growth that consistently happens in a classroom."
In terms of the skills she gained from her PhD, Andra highlights an important issue experienced by many in academia. ‘While I could list many research skills, communication skills, time management, etc I think one of the main skills was overcoming some of my imposter syndrome by engaging with different academic communities.'
Imposter syndrome is experienced by many PhD students and for Andra, learning to overcome it by working with others was the most important takeaway from her doctorate. To achieve this, she stresses the importance of a robust academic network. ‘The academic communities I engaged with outside of the university are the ones I am now still a part of and have helped my research and my career development overall.'
In addition to working with others and finding your network, Andra also advises PhD students to ‘Put yourself out there. Don’t hesitate to share your work, to meet different academic communities, and take advantage of the opportunities you have at these early stages to explore and grow.'
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