Student Profiles - USA
Mari was born in the United States but her family originally came from Japan where she still has strong family connections. ....
Mari was born in the United States but her family originally came from Japan where she still has strong family connections. Indeed, she went to an international secondary school in Japan. With her father an astrophysics professor and her mother a musician, Mari opted for science with a fascination in forensics from when she was a child.
Mari found out about the University of Huddersfield at an international university fair in Japan and was impressed by the range of courses that were offered, crucially in her area of interest, forensic science.
Coming to Huddersfield in 2006 Mari joined the School of Applied Sciences on the MSci Forensic & Analytical Science course, graduating four years later with upper second class honours. During her degree she carried out her placement year at the University of Virginia working with Professor James P. Landers on an integrated, valveless system for microfluidic purification and reverse transcription-PCR amplification of RNA for detection of infectious agents.
After completing her degree Mari embarked on a PhD program in the group of Dr Graham Williams carrying out cutting edge research in forensic genetics involving the simultaneous analysis of DNA and microRNA. About her experiences, Mari says “the best thing about by studies in Huddersfield has been the travel, on my placement as an undergraduate and going to conferences during my PhD.” Indeed, Mari has presented her research at conferences around the world including the US and Portugal. At the Australian New Zealand Forensic Science Society International Symposium in 2012 Mari stole the show winning the prize for best oral presentation
Currently writing up her thesis and working as a part-time teaching assistant in the School she has now published 6 papers on her research.
“I’ve had great experiences and opportunities at Huddersfield.” says Mari, “In addition to my research I’ve been able to get involved in training and management of undergraduate and master’s students, and have managed the forensic genetics laboratory. I’ve also had the chance to develop my career, through networking at conferences and meeting forensic science practitioners and receiving training from forensic science providers.”
This is the reason I chose the University because my research topic seemed to fit into and match the ideologies of the Music department.....
“I heard of Huddersfield through the renowned Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (HCMF). This festival is written and commented upon worldwide for its outstanding contribution to new music.
“I originally came to the UK to study a Master’s Degree in 2004. After completion of this I decided to stay in the UK to continue my music career and then decided to complete a PhD for further development in 2009.
“The University of Huddersfield is a cutting-edge research institution. The music department offers support and enthusiasm for my topic area, and my supervisors are all innovative in their specialist fields. The music department is not only progressive, but the staff are leaders in the music industry. This is the reason I chose the University because my research topic seemed to fit into and match the ideologies of the Music department.
“My PhD centres on flute performance of tango music outside of Argentina. This field is unexplored and therefore sets the stage for further research of Latin American music.
“Huddersfield is one of the friendliest cities that I have ever been to in the UK! I believe that a city is shaped by its people, so Huddersfield is a wonderful place to be.
“I love the landscape, the gentle rolling hills of green and the fact that it is easy to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle when I take a break from my research. The campus is modern and has facilities I could have only dreamed about. By this I mean a social area specifically dedicated to researchers (The Convivium), world-class recording facilities, and an excellent music library with accommodating staff. “
New Mexico, USA
“The support staff at Huddersfield perform their pastoral duties in a diligent and caring manner."....
“My recent forefathers - Anglos, Scots and Welsh, came to North America as British boatpeople during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. After earning a B.A. in History in 1990 from Walsh University I 'returned' to the homeland of my forefathers in 1995 with nostalgic anticipation, whereupon I earned a PgDip in 1998 from DeMontfort University in Historical and Cultural Appraisals and an MPhil in Sociology from the University of Wales, Bangor in 2001.
“My original supervisor at the University of Birmingham - Dr. Alexander T. T. Smith, took a post at the University of Huddersfield and asked me to join him here; I'm glad I did! The warm collegial hospitality I encountered at the School of Behavioural and Social Sciences has sustained me well during my period of often lonely fieldwork in Ohio.
“Understanding the historical and social connections that contemporary Yankee-American culture derives from looking back at that of its mother country contributes to a deeper understanding of American conservative thought and movements in the U.S. today, which is a major reason why I am doing doctoral research in England.
“The School of Sociology at the University of Birmingham was shut whilst I was pursuing my doctorate as a research student. My supervisor moved to Huddersfield and asked me to follow him. It is to Dr. Smith's credit that I am here with the academic support necessary to complete my research.
“I am doing a PhD in Political Sociology. My background in history and secondary education proved insufficient to explain contemporary human action, especially at the cultural level, so I turned to sociology and participant observation. My supervisor Dr. Alexander T. T. Smith is the biggest reason I am pursuing a doctorate as a research student at Huddersfield, as I followed him here from the University of Birmingham after the School of Sociology was terminated. Strengthening my supervision at Huddersfield are co-supervisors Richard Hayton and Prof James McAuley - a noted political sociologist and Head of School.
“The support staff at Huddersfield perform their pastoral duties in a diligent and caring manner. During my induction process, I felt like a person and not simply a number. I don't say this lightly as I have post-graduate experiences in other British institutions with which to compare.
“Huddersfield appeals strongly to my rural roots. In short, I'm a country mouse who easily feels claustrophobic in a big city such as London or Birmingham. The green hills that surround the town of Huddersfield bring peace of mind and calm conducive to study. Situated between Manchester and Leeds on the rail line, both cities are easily accessible if I feel the rare need for the commotion of urban life.
“I was recently approached in Oberlin, Ohio by a doctoral student of music ethnomethodology from a university in Pennsylvania and queried about Huddersfield. After hearing my description of Huddersfield resembling Johnstown, Pennsylvania with the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Oberlin, Ohio, he decided to apply for a post at the University of Huddersfield.
“I love doing ethnography - for me it is an abiding preoccupation. I have conducted several ethnographies during my career, but have held off publishing these accounts until I've attained a PhD. In the short term, I intend to submit my ethnographies for publication either as journal articles, as chapters in anthologies, or as a book in itself whilst working as a postdoctoral researcher. In the long term, I see myself lecturing in sociology and culture theory whilst I continue to conduct ethnographies of the corporatisation of human action at various levels.”
Robert Allan Williams
Oberlin, Ohio, USA
“Even still, relationships between the offenders in multiple perpetrator homicides remain an untouched research area."....
Meredith Eileen Gafford
“Although the literature on homicide is vast and societal frenzy over crime television shows has brought the forensic side of murder investigations to the forefront, there remains a great extent of information which has not yet been tapped into regarding the psychological underpinnings of those who choose to commit murder offences.
“The particulars concurrent to narrative identity or how the offender relates to their victim(s), for example, have yet to be explored for single murder cases. Additionally, differentiation of offenders based on their level of involvement in the crime (whether they perpetrated the offence alone or with others) has only been addressed in one known Canadian study (Porter et.al., 2009).
“Even still, relationships between the offenders in multiple perpetrator homicides remain an untouched research area. Moreover, there are no known studies to this date which compute general spatial patterns of lone murders in the UK. The implications of gaining insights into these pending issues transposes directly to offender profiling, geographical profiling, investigative interviewing, and the overall police investigation of homicide offences.
“The current study aims to bridge the gap in the UK homicide literature by analysing police files of lone murder cases dating back to the early 1980’s and into the current times. By quantifying qualitative UK police data, the current study will reveal the ways in which single and multiple perpetrator homicides differentiate offenders, victims, and crime scene behaviours.”
Meredith Eileen Gafford
Fresno, California, USA
“One of the best things about coming to Huddersfield has been experiencing another culture. This is part of England that most Americans are unfamiliar with – I feel that I have a different perspective; I’m not as ignorant about the rest of the world. I’m in closer contact with European design culture, which is important for my work.
“I like the fact that I’m not living in a fast paced city, but I’m relatively near Manchester and Leeds. Travel here between major centres is very easy – you don’t have to cross thousands of miles like you do in the US. Americans tend to have a romanticised view of England and initially I found everything very different here. Things in the house like the fridge or the kitchen sink – even at that detail. People here also see the world differently to back in the US. They are much quieter, toned down – it took a while for me to stop grabbing attention!
“I chose to study in Huddersfield because my whole family moved over as my father’s job was transferred. I focused on creative subjects at high school and my portfolio helped get me a place here to study illustration – I swapped to creative imaging in my second year. I never saw art as a career choice until I started getting into different types of music and the designs for posters, albums and tee-shirts. I get really excited about my work now and the possibilities of working with computers.
“I’ve had several tutors who I really get on with. They encourage you to have your own opinions and we’ve clashed a few times! Their industry perspective is really useful and they’re helping me focus on what I want to do. I‘m planning to apply for a work visa and stay in the UK. I couldn’t be happier about coming to Huddersfield.”
Andy Miller is currently studying BA(Hons) Creative Imaging (Graphic Design) at the University.