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Our PGR Mentors

Poppy Wilde

During my undergraduate degree, I became increasingly interested in the different ways in which people “performed” online, and the ways in which our relationships with machines affected us. My interest piqued, I decided that I wanted to continue studying in order to attempt to satisfy my curiosity.

I have a BA in Performance Studies and Drama from Aberystwyth University. I initially looked into doing an MA or an MRes, but was lucky enough to find the opportunity to do my PhD with Coventry University.

I’m based in the School of Media and Performing Arts, and after undergoing several revisions at the beginning of the PhD my project now explores the lived experience of posthuman subjectivity using autoethnographic data collected during game play in the massively multiplayer online role playing game World of Warcraft. For me, this methodology fits perfectly with my previous experience from my degree in terms of using my own experiences and reflecting critically on them. Through my autoethnographic reflections, I document the emotional, affective, embodied, empathic and performative   aspects which are at play in the relationship between avatar and gamer. As Braidotti suggests, ‘the relationship between the human and the technological other has shifted in the contemporary context, to reach unprecedented degrees of intimacy and intrusion’ (2013: 89), and in my research I argue that the gamer is one embodied example of this.

It’s been a fascinating journey, and I’m now in the writing up year of my PhD after 3 years full time so currently manage my research alongside lecturing. One of the things that I think is really daunting about starting a PhD is how lost you can feel at the beginning – there’s a whole world of research out there and it can be quite scary!

The thing is, PhDs really aren’t a linear process – sometimes things go really well and everything is working fantastically, but other times you can feel a bit stuck. If you start to feel like these are issues that are affecting you and you’re worried about it – don’t panic, we’ve all been there! A PhD is one of the most challenging but rewarding experiences you will have, and you learn so much over the course of studying. That said, if you ever want to share your experiences or ask questions about what you can expect then please do get in touch!

If your research overlaps into fields of digital cultures, performance, lived experience in research methods, embodiment or posthumanism it would also be great to hear from you and discuss your work.

Poppy’s Top Tip:  parting words of wisdom are: make technology your friend! There are so many great apps and software packages out there that will really take a lot of hassle out of the PhD, so take the time to get to know them early on.

Also, try to give up sugar in your tea/coffee, because you’ll be drinking a lot of them in the years ahead!

Ikechukwu Celestine Maduka

I am sometimes incorrectly called ‘Iyke’ but my full name is Ikechukwu – ask me how to pronounce it! I was born some light years ago, in the far, far away galaxy of Sahel, Nigeria in West Africa.

I wanted to do a research degree as research has a world-changing potential. Through passion and empirically proven knowledge, I want to make a difference.

My first degree in 2009 was in pure science from University of Lagos Nigeria, after which I studied for my Masters in 2011 at Coventry University. Towards the completion of my Master’s in Management Information Technology in 2012, I had developed a great interest for research. After my Masters, I was fortunate to follow my passion for research and for the last three-plus years, it’s been nothing short of a worthy adventure. If you wondered why I still furthered my study in Coventry, it because of the hospitality and diversity of Coventry and how it has offered me the chance to reach and support every aspect of my needs.

I am presently in my write-up year. My PhD in Computing centres around the development of a validated patient generated health data (PGHD) adoption framework for diabetes management in Nigeria.

Looking back to the early years of my research, I realised after five months into my study that I had no clue on how to progress. However, with support from my amazing supervisory team and some wonderful experienced research colleagues, I was able to define a path and consequently find my feet. It would take a long time to narrate my entire research experience, but I know that it has been a bumpy ride filled with  many emotions. As I round up my PhD (feeling like Gandalf the White), every now and then I come across new research students that look humbled as I was years back.

It has always been a privilege to get advice from staff and other students. I would like to help new students and leave them more informed and enabled through mutually shared advise and encouragement.

I look forward to meet you as you start your research in Coventry University, and whether you are a UK/EU student or an international student, the research community binds us as one. In the wise words of Gandalf the White - ‘A wizard is never late, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to’. As you arrive from that beautiful place you come from, you are just in time and Coventry University says welcome. For me, the quest for a research degree could be best described as sweet and sour, and if research is the recipe, then sweet and sour is the process!

Ikechukwu’s top tip: There is no such thing as a stupid question. Be thought-provoking and ask lots of questions. That is what research is all about, needing to know and seeking fountains of knowledge.

May the force be with you as you embark on this inspiring adventure!

Benin Ibn Wahab

I am a Ghanaian, second year, full time PhD Student my research topic is “Critical Economic and Operating Cost Evaluation of Oil and Gas Plays: A Retrospective View of Ghana Keta Basin and the UK North Sea”. The main aim of my research is to contribute my thoughts on cost reduction in the upstream oil and gas operation to the existing ones in the industry and academic environment. I hold an MSc in Oil and Gas Management from Coventry University 2011/2012 UK, BSc in Accounting and Finance from University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA) 2009/2011 Ghana and HND in Accounting from Tamale Polytechnic 2006/2008 in Ghana.

Currently, I am in my second year of my PhD programme at Coventry University in the faculty of Engineering, Environment and computing, researching  petroleum economic and fiscal systems. The research findings will provide knowledge on cost reduction strategies, economic analysis, negotiation and contract analysis of upstream sector of petroleum industry; I started my PhD in September 2015. After completing my MSc, I worked as a Teaching Assistance in Coventry University, as a volunteer Lecturer at UPSA, a part-time lecturer at Ghana Telecom University and Springs College University all in Ghana before returning to pursue a PhD in petroleum Economics.

I will aid beginners and those yet to start their PhD on where to locate their needed service points around the University and the city of Coventry, and share with them my experiences as a PhD student in Coventry University for past year.   

Coventry University and Coventry city is the hub of excitement with diverse cultural backgrounds of people, students and staffs, which makes studies, learning and life exciting at Coventry University. The University has academic professors, industry professionals and a well-equipped library, and funding opportunities for students’ who want to attend abroad conferences and workshops. I am a beneficiary of a grant from the Centre for Global Engagement which I used for two workshops in Canada and US. Coventry University is the only place to study if you want to pursue a PhD. I am ready to answer your questions about life and studies in Coventry University.

Ibn’s Top Tip: I suggest to students to get involved and attend both internal and external seminars, workshops and conferences as these will help them to network and shaping their research ideas.

Ezinne Merianchris Emeana

I am a full time second year PhD researcher at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at Coventry University. I am from Imo State, Nigeria, West Africa. My passion for agriculture, extension, sociology, rural development, climate change, disaster management, sustainable food security and farmers’ livelihood motivated my interest in the alternative ways of farming and feeding the world’s increasing population with healthy food without causing further harm to the environment and stress for the farmers.

My experience in agriculture is dated back in 2007 when I obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Extension (B. Agric. Tech.) at the Federal University of Technology Owerri, Nigeria. After which I took up a Research Assistant role at the Imo River Basin Authority, Nigeria (2008-2009). I contributed in different water resource management projects such as species and habitat conservation, and water drilling for agricultural irrigation. I later proceeded to work as an Agricultural Produce Officer alongside as an Agricultural Extension Liaison Officer, Edo State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Nigeria (2010-2012). I participated in various rural development projects that benefited the rural farmers. I acted as the official mediator between farmers and the agricultural research centres, monitoring and evaluation of new crop varieties.

Due to my striving attitude towards achieving excellence and quest for acquiring new skills, I took a further step in 2012 to assume the post of an Agricultural Research Officer at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Abuja, Nigeria before I decided to take a career break in that same year for further studies. Whilst discharging my duties as an Agricultural Research Officer, I discovered that the recent farming practice in Nigeria is affecting the environment. I moved to Coventry University and obtained a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management, specialising in Ecological Management in 2013.

In the quest to implement my experience into practice, I realised that farmers need to be informed about alternative way of farming known as Agroecology Farming System which does not only provide sustainable healthy food, but also preserve the environment. The wake of the above motivated my recent PhD research which is focussed on the use of mobile phone for agroecology information dissemination in Nigeria. Exploring how mobile phone application use and the interaction amongst farmer to farmer/farmer to extension agents can be used to scale-up the adoption and practice of agroecology.

As a full time international research student who has been living in Coventry (a walking distance to the university) since the start of my postgraduate studies in 2012, I have tremendously adapted in the community with diverse ethnicity and cultural background, and have familiarised myself with the various activities within and outside the University which a new research student should be aware of. Therefore, as a new research student seeking first-hand information I am available to support you to enjoy your research experience at Coventry University, I can offer help and advice on the following:

  • How to settle with ease into the community
  • How to manage your professional development alongside your research
  • The strategies for completing the supervisee journey successfully
  • How to explore the available opportunities in the University

Ezinne’s Top Tip: Always remember! A positive approach, determination and maximising available opportunities are significant.

Kayode Richard Abeleje

My name is Kayode Richard Abeleje and I am from Nigeria. I was attracted to undertake a research degree through the advice of a mentor and supervisor while I was completing my Master’s degree. I obtained my first degree from University of Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria in Accounting in 2002. I have been in the UK since then and got my masters from Sheffield Hallam University in 2013.

I am a full-time year two doctoral researcher (PhD) in Accounting with the Faculty of Business and Law. My research focuses on the influence of adoption of IFRS on Earnings management: A cross Country Analysis. It is a comparative study on developed economies and the developing economies.

I was previously a lecturer in accounting and finance, since 2008, I have taught both at classroom and professional levels, and to a large number of students in Nigeria. I came to the UK for my masters in 2012, but Coventry’s reputation attracted me to move here for my PhD. While in transit to Sheffield on a coach, a couple of students wore T-Shirts with the Coventry University. That was the first time I saw the name and was just a tip of the iceberg and that encounter led me to research the University and led me to my future. While considering taking up a research degree in accounting, I had the best of support right from my application stage to my induction from Coventry University.

I am proud to be a research student of this great institution and am happy to serve in the capacity of a mentor. I am a chartered accountant equipped with over seven years post qualification experience in the area of accounting and finance. I possess good research and information technology skills that could be applied in solving business problems I am a team builder, having excellent interpersonal communication and good analytical skills. I love research and enjoy writing for publication. I am always willing to share my knowledge and enthusiastic to assist on accounting and finance related courses.

I am welcoming you to Coventry University, a nice place to be, where you will always get the support of your colleagues, erudite mentors and faculty members that can keep you informed on getting the best from the great facilities that Coventry University offers.

Please make full use of the mentors – we are here to help!

Kayode’s Top Tip: Be free to ask questions to get the most of your stay in Coventry and the UK. I would recommend making the most of what your faculty/department have to offer.

Mandeep Singh Sehmi

I am a full time and a final year PhD Researcher and Research Assistant at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR). I am exploring British Asian Sikh Attitudes to Marriage within the context of the 21st century. I am covering areas such as divorce, same-sex marriage, inter-faith marriage and the spiritual marriage. Using grounded theory as my chosen methodology to qualitatively analyse interviews conducting throughout the UK, my thesis will provide original insights into this aspect of British Sikhs’ attitudes, social relations and spiritual identities. There is little academic research available with reference to Sikh attitudes to marriage, especially within the 21st century and this is one of the first studies in the UK to explore British Asian Sikh attitudes to marriage. My academic background is in Sociology having studies a BA (Hons) Sociology with Policy Studies, Birmingham City University followed by a MA Sociology, University of Birmingham.

This was the first time I had studied at Coventry University and it is the best decision I have made. My DoS is very supportive. She points me in the right direction and encourages me to attend conferences, give papers, but most importantly, to think carefully about the structure of my thesis and the content. The research centre I am in provided a generous grant for two years, which covered my travel expenses, fieldwork costs and other expenses related to my PhD study. I have organised conferences and given papers at Harvard University and The University of Cambridge. Lastly, the Centre for Global Engagement (CGE) funded three trips in relation to my PhD, including a conference in the USA, and two trips to India. None of the above would have been possible without the support of Coventry University and I am grateful for these academic opportunities.

Students (including mature students) can contact me regarding part time or full time research degrees, the available facilities to help students with their research and advice on how to making timetables to reach their desired goals. Having successfully passed all of my yearly reviews (Progress Review Panels) I will also share the positive points that lead to a successful pass.

I believe one must be “approachable” in order to help others. If you are unsure of anything (e.g. finding buildings, attending conferences, paying fees, places to eat, or you just need someone to talk to), please contact us on the mentor e-mail.

Mandeep’s Top Tip: Time Management - Open Mindedness – Precision

You need to be passionate about your subject area as this will be your life for the next few years. Time management is key. How you choose to manage your personal and academic study time is ultimately a PhD student’s responsibility and you will have to be committed to ensure you are meeting your deadlines. You are going to discover many unexpected findings during your fieldwork (and after) and therefore, it is essential to remain non-judgemental (i.e. remain open-minded) and focus upon the outcome of your study. Stay on point and be precise in what your study is trying to deliver. With an open mind and using your time effectively, make sure you read your work several times, and question yourself on every point you make and make sure your paragraphs are flowing.