Ellen Grady and Marcus Butler
14 April 2016: University of Canberra professional doctorate candidate Ben Hamer is making the most of an opportunity to research at the elite Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
Mr Hamer was accepted into the highly competitive Visiting Assistant in Research (VAR) six-week program, which is open to existing doctoral candidates from other tertiary institutions, and he's currently experiencing life as a Yale PhD student.
"Being a part of this program is incredible and I'm really grateful to be selected to participate," Mr Hamer said.
"I have access to Yale faculty members and academics, classes, seminars and the resources that are available normally just to the students at one of the US' leading institutions."
Mr Hamer said he's focused on learning what he can from his time, especially from his experiences at the Yale School of Management.
"Prominent business leaders are often invited along to present at seminars and lectures, which provides incredible insight, so I'll be getting along to as many of those as I can," he said.
Yale's VAR program is determined though an application process, where individual doctoral candidates apply and have a senior academic advisor 'sponsor' their application to join the faculty on a temporary basis.
"The number of people doing this specific program varies on almost a daily basis, but from what I can tell, at the moment, I am the only visiting scholar," Mr Hamer said.
"Part of the purpose of the program is to really push the participants to integrate into the School's PhD cohort, rather than be part of a separate program.
"I see it as an opportunity for me to network with leading scholars and round-out my doctoral experience, particularly given that I am normally living and working full-time in Sydney.
"That means that I have limited participation in the normal suite of doctoral candidate activities, which take place at University.
Mr Hamer said he entered the program to expand his learning experience and improve his thesis.
"I wasn't looking to improve my eligibility for a particular career, but the experience will benefit any future academic work which I could do," he said.
"I'm getting a fantastic glimpse into the work required from Yale PhDs."