Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Auckland student uses thesis to honour her late mother

Auckland student uses thesis to honour her late mother

For University of Auckland student Marcia Leenen-Young, finishing her PhD was more than gaining a degree, it was also a way of honouring her mother.

During the completion of her PhD thesis her mother, Teresa Young, was diagnosed with cancer and passed away.

“I promised her that I would finish it.”

“I was still quite literally in the midst of grief. I had to finish it for her and for me and everyone who was around me at the time.”

Marcia completed a PhD thesis titled: “Polybius' Self-constructed Image in the Histories and its effect on his Historical Objectivity”. Polybius was an ancient Greek historian of the Hellenistic Period. The complex topic involved critiquing the accuracy of his historiography.

She graduated on Monday as part of the University’s Autumn Graduation.

Marcia was so moved by her mother’s support that in the weeks leading up to her completion she changed her name by deed poll to include her mother’s surname ‘Young’.

“I wanted my mum’s name on the thesis.” “It was a way of acknowledging her contribution to the thesis and an honouring of what she meant to me.”

“She encouraged me every day. She would be sick in bed just after chemo and I would be trying to feed her and she would say ‘don’t worry about me, haven’t you got work to do’?”

Now she can hardly believe she’s completed her thesis.

“I remember just sitting back and thinking ‘I’ve done it. We’ve done it’.”

“It’s a little bit unreal. I look at it and think ‘did I write that? Are those my words on the paper’?”

Marcia’s thesis also marks another significant milestone; she is the first woman of Samoan descent to complete a PhD in Classics and Ancient History.

As part of her completion of the thesis Marcia received a Leadership Grant Fund for Maori and Pacific students that enabled her to travel to the United Kingdom to carry out research at London’s University College, Oxford University and the University of Edinburgh.

“It opened my eyes quite a lot, particularly in Oxford. Everything is centred on education and the acquisition of knowledge.”

The Mt Eden resident now hopes to continue working in academia either in her field, or in student services at the University. She already works for the Faculty of Arts’ Tuākana programme, a University-wide mentoring and tutoring scheme for Māori and Pacific students. She also co-runs Tall Poppies, a project to assist Waitakere College’s Maori and Pacific pupils gain academic skills before entering university.

Marcia has written about her experiences by contributing the chapter Maintaining motivation: a postgraduate thesis when life gets in the way to the book The postgraduate student handbook: Surviving and succeeding in further study set to be published in mid-2014.

Marcia’s experiences in coping with grief and achieving under extreme pressure are already well proven, but she wants to continue to be strong. While recently supporting a team of walkers at the Oxfam Trailwalker 2014 - a gruelling 100km fundraising walk around Lake Taupo - she heard a woman on the side-lines shouting a statement of encouragement to the competitors that she now uses to boost her confidence: “Pain is temporary, pride is forever.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Howard Davis: Orson Welles' Masterpiece - 'Chimes At Midnight'

Never widely distributed in the US, but Welles' own personal favorite and hugely influential on directors as diverse as Kenneth Branagh and Mel Gibson, a restored 50th anniversary print has now reached the New Zealand Film Festival. More>>

Off To Leeds: Wellington’s Local Naked Girl Spreads Her Wings

Wellington born, bred and based live artist Virginia Kennard, self confessed “local naked girl”, has earned a place on the MA in Performance programme at Leeds Beckett University and flies away in 2 months time. More>>

Free Diving: William Trubridge Breaks World Record

With just a single breath, New Zealand free diver William Trubridge has successfully broken his own unassisted free dive world record of 101 metres. More>>

ALSO:

RLWC 2017 Draw: New Zealand Set For A Festival Of Rugby League

New Zealand Rugby League fans will have the chance to see the Kiwis in action against the best in the Pacific region for the Rugby League World Cup 2017, as announced today at the Official Tournament Draw. More>>

ALSO:

Non-Pokemon News: Magical Park A Safer Augmented Reality For Younger Audiences

Since May, Wellington City Council has been trialling a new app, Magical Park, in collaboration with the game’s New Zealand developer Geo AR Games, in parks around the city. Magical Park uses GPS technology to get users moving around the park to play within a set boundary. More>>

'Erroneous': Pokemon App Makers On Huge Privacy Flaw

We recently discovered that the Pokémon Go account creation process on iOS erroneously requests full access permission for the user's Google account... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news