Personal Development Session

The Personal Development Session will cover your PhD journey, early career planning and potential pathways post PhD.

Building your best self

In this year’s Q & A session, a panel of esteemed guests will share their experiences of life after graduation and provide tips on how to navigate potential challenges and build resilience. You will have the opportunity to pre-submit questions upon registration.

Our speakers may reflect on the following topics:

  • Building resilience and mental agility
  • How to stay positive
  • Time management: prioritising and multi-tasking
  • Gaining transferable skills and increasing your employability – thinking beyond your PhD topic
  • How to increase engagement with stakeholders and industry
  • Effective self-promotion and standing out from the crowd
  • Career directions and opportunities I didn’t anticipate


Our panel of speakers are from varied backgrounds and areas. The guests include (in alphabetical order):

Tiahni Adamson is a proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman and Wildlife Conservation Biologist and 2024 Young Australian of the year (SA).

She graduated from University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Science (wildlife conservation biology) and is now the lead community engagement officer at climate change solutions company CH4Global, where she ensures Indigenous knowledge is embedded into CH4Global’s projects.

Tiahni Adamson


Associate Professor Stacie Attrill is a Speech Pathology researcher investigating health professional education and supervisory practices. Stacie is also the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Associate Dean of Curriculum.

Stacie's primary research interests are in health workforce development and systems design for service provision, health professional education, and learning outcomes for culturally and linguistically diverse students.


Associate Professor Stacie Attrill


Associate Professor Odette Pearson is a Kuku Yalanji/Torres Strait Islander person and Associate Professor and co-Theme Leader of the Wardliparingga Aboriginal Health Equity Theme at the South Australian health and Medical Research Institute. Her experience and post-doctoral training in Aboriginal health policy, health services research and equity comprises a unique comprehensive skillset relevant to existing and emerging complexities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and well-being. Integral to her research is leadership and governance by Aboriginal people and communities.


Associate Professor Odette Pearson


Professor Nicola Spurrier is South Australia’s Chief Public Health Officer. She is passionate about preventing people getting sick and keeping all South Australians healthy. Dr Spurrier is both a paediatrician and a public health physician with expertise in communicable and non-communicable disease control, health promotion, and public health diplomacy. She has a particular interest in the health and wellbeing of children, co-designing health prevention programs with Aboriginal communities and ensuring key health information is accessible to all South Australians.

Dr Spurrier loves living and working in South Australia, fondly referring to it as the Goldilocks state, not too big and not too small – just right!


Professor Nicola Spurrier


Professor Andrew Zannettino is the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Adelaide. He is also a Professor of Experimental Haematology and co-directs the Myeloma Research Laboratory within the Precision Cancer Medicine Theme at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).


Professor Andrew Zannettino


The master of ceremonies for the session will be Professor Mark Hutchinson.

Professor Mark Hutchinson has been recently appointed as the Director of the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS). He leads the Neuroimmunopharmacology laboratory at the University of Adelaide and holds ministerial appointments.

Mark has a strong record of leading successful teams. His expertise spans diverse basic science methods for human and animal research, including biomarker identification, multiomics and complex data analytics. He engages consumers and industry and advocates for their involvement in research. He also has made a positive contribution to commercial translation between basic science and knowledge utilisation.

He also serves as the chair of the Safeguarding Australia through Biotechnology Response and Engagement (SABRE) Alliance and is the chair of the Australian Pain Solutions Research Alliance board.


Professor Mark Hutchinson