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Going full-cycle to a PhD

Saturday 16 December 2017 11:52am

Matt Jenkins Port226Graduating with a PhD in Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, Matt Jenkins reflects on his time, so far, in New Zealand.

Leaving the UK in 2013, Matt was cycling around Asia when he heard about Dr Elaine Hargreaves’ research and a possible PhD opportunity at Otago.

“I applied for and received a University scholarship and arrived in Dunedin in February 2014. I still ride the same bike to work every day,” he grins.

Since being in Otago, he has immersed himself in ‘the whole Dunedin lifestyle’ and what it has to offer.

“I’ve tramped a lot of the South Island, learned how to surf, snowboard and swing dance and have kept up my usual hobbies of cycling and football too. I’ve also been heavily involved in the university, having been president of the Otago University Postgraduate Society and a postgraduate representative for the PE school,” he says.

Matt’s area of research is motivation for exercise, incorporating aspects of mindfulness.

“Essentially, getting people to become physically active and stay active over the long-term using psychological theory-based frameworks” he explains.

“I’m currently working as a personal trainer at a local Dunedin health club (Air Fitness), incorporating exercise psychology consultations to help clients make long-term health behaviour changes."

Graduating doesn’t mean the end of Matt’s association with the School of Physical Education – next year he’ll be working on a postdoctoral grant with Dr Elaine Hargreaves.

“I'm hoping to investigate the role of electric bikes (e-bikes) in the local Dunedin/Otago community; getting inactive people active and improving their physical and psychological health.”