| November 14, 2016

Natasha Moulton, Solicitor in the Police and Compliance Branch of the NSW Ombudsman’s Office

Natasha Moulton, Solicitor in the Police and Compliance Branch of the NSW Ombudsman’s Office

BY: Catherine Nygren

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For Natasha Moulton’s PhD, she researched the wartime and homecoming experiences of American female military nurses who served in the Vietnam War. External funding and TAships meant that she didn’t need funding for her final years, but she knew a number of peers who took on full-time work to complete their degrees. Her supervisor also helped her finish; she had a good working relationship with him, he was quick at providing feedback, and he didn’t micromanage her work.

Natasha finished in five and a half years, which was longer than she would have liked, but oral history interviews and research took a lot of time, and sometimes she had to wait for feedback from her committee. Additionally, in her fifth year, Natasha’s partner was offered a job contract in India. At first she wasn’t sure if she would go with him—her supervisor didn’t discourage her, but did warn her that she probably wouldn’t finish—but she decided to go. At first, she was worried that her supervisor had been right, as it took her a couple months to get settled and in a working routine. But she treated her time there as a job, and worked regularly.

One day, as Natasha was completing her final chapter, her computer and external hard drive were destroyed by a power surge and she lost the draft of her final chapter. At that point, she had to decide whether to keep going—especially since she had already accepted a place in law school in Australia for the following semester. After a month of recovering and reflecting, she decided to rewrite it and finish the degree. Natasha started law school in February, and defended that July.

During her Juris Doctor in Law program, she worked as a paralegal for a large firm in Sydney, as well as a community legal centre, which is similar to Legal Aid but funded by donations rather than the state. She graduated from law school in November 2015 and is now working as a solicitor in the Police and Compliance Branch of the New South Wales Ombudsman’s office, overseeing and reviewing how police handle complaints and investigations about police misconduct. The strong analytical skills developed during her PhD are valuable in her work, but her written communication skills have been especially handy, especially in positions where independence is necessary.

In hindsight, Natasha wishes that she’d taken the warnings about the lack of academic job prospects more seriously when she started—she had a sense of exceptionalism, and thought that she would be one of the few who would land an academic job. Natasha knew by the end of her degree that she didn’t want to pursue academia anyway, and although she doesn’t regret the PhD, her path hasn’t been quite what she expected.

 


 

POLL: Job market anticipation

For Natasha Moulton’s PhD, she researched the wartime and homecoming experiences of American female military nurses who served in the Vietnam War. External funding and TAships meant that she didn’t need funding for her final years, but she knew a number of peers who took on full-time work to complete their degrees. Her supervisor also helped her finish; she had a good working relationship with him, he was quick at providing feedback, and he didn’t micromanage her work.

Natasha finished in five and a half years, which was longer than she would have liked, but oral history interviews and research took a lot of time, and sometimes she had to wait for feedback from her committee. Additionally, in her fifth year, Natasha’s partner was offered a job contract in India. At first she wasn’t sure if she would go with him—her supervisor didn’t discourage her, but did warn her that she probably wouldn’t finish—but she decided to go. At first, she was worried that her supervisor had been right, as it took her a couple months to get settled and in a working routine. But she treated her time there as a job, and worked regularly.

One day, as Natasha was completing her final chapter, her computer and external hard drive were destroyed by a power surge and she lost the draft of her final chapter. At that point, she had to decide whether to keep going—especially since she had already accepted a place in law school in Australia for the following semester. After a month of recovering and reflecting, she decided to rewrite it and finish the degree. Natasha started law school in February, and defended that July.

During her Juris Doctor in Law program, she worked as a paralegal for a large firm in Sydney, as well as a community legal centre, which is similar to Legal Aid but funded by donations rather than the state. She graduated from law school in November 2015 and is now working as a solicitor in the Police and Compliance Branch of the New South Wales Ombudsman’s office, overseeing and reviewing how police handle complaints and investigations about police misconduct. The strong analytical skills developed during her PhD are valuable in her work, but her written communication skills have been especially handy, especially in positions where independence is necessary.

In hindsight, Natasha wishes that she’d taken the warnings about the lack of academic job prospects more seriously when she started—she had a sense of exceptionalism, and thought that she would be one of the few who would land an academic job. Natasha knew by the end of her degree that she didn’t want to pursue academia anyway, and although she doesn’t regret the PhD, her path hasn’t been quite what she expected.

 


 

POLL: Job market anticipation

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