ACADEMICS IN ACTION
CELEBRATING THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF ARMENIAN RESEARCH STUDENTS
ASA NSW is incredibly excited to launch a new initiative which will showcase the achievements of Armenian research students in our community. ASA will feature the work of PhD and research students in our Armenian community here in Sydney to inspire current and future students to pursue a life in academia and research after school and University.
If you would like to take part in this initiative and have your research featured and promoted on our Instagram, Facebook and website, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us!
Meet Kev Dertadian who, as a part of his PhD, researched and studied non-medical consumption of painkillers. Kev investigated how people use painkillers for reasons other than instructed. Some of these include the ability to bulldoze through work, to pre-empt sickness, to manage stress and sleep, to treat chronic pain unknowingly, and the use of injectable drugs. Kev analysed people who use painkillers for recreational use to achieve a state of intoxication, to get more drunk and/or to calm down from other drugs.
Before completing his PhD through Western Sydney University, Kev studied a Bachelor of Arts and Honours in Cultural Studies at Macquarie University and is currently a lecturer in Criminology at UNSW.
What can we learn from his work? Well, non-medical use of painkillers is not limited to communities of people who inject drugs, and in fact, a whole cross-section of people use painkillers for non-medical use. Before Kev’s PhD, there wasn’t a qualitative analysis of the different types of practices that come under non-medical use. It is also interesting to note that people use pain medication for forms of pain that wouldn’t be medically defined as pain but would be socially defined as pain, such as grief after a break-up.
In the future, Kev would like to do research on people who overdose on pharmaceuticals, as well as look into our policy responses, especially as it relates to people who inject drugs. Kev currently has a book titled 'A Fine Line: Painkillers and Pleasure in the Age of Anxiety' which explores the ‘misuse’ or ‘abuse’ of pharmaceutical pain medications. We look forward to seeing how Kev’s research will affect the pharmaceutical and medical industry and manifest into changes in the administration and prescription of pain-killers.
Kev's PhD thesis can be found here. (Dertadian, G. C. (2015). Painkiller (ab)use: the discursive construction and lived experience of non-medical consumption.)
Allow us to introduce to you Carla Haroutonian, an aspiring clinical psychologist, who as a PhD student, is investigating the link between irregular sleeping patterns and the onset of dementia in adults. She investigates this link with the use of brain wave testing, which analyses the electrical impulses travelling throughout the brain.
Before embarking on this enterprise, Carla studied a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Macquarie University and subsequently worked as a psychologist for two years. During this time, she developed an interest in dementia, pediatrics and neuropsychology, which ultimately led to her decision to complete a PhD at the University of Sydney.
There are several key lessons that we can take away from Carla’s research. Her research highlights that sleep is a risk factor for dementia. Furthermore, managing healthy body weight, partaking in regular exercise, remaining vigilant about one’s own mental health and maintaining regular sleeping patterns to ensure proper regulation of circadian rhythms would also reduce an individual's risk of developing dementia. These discoveries are invaluable for members of society, as Dementia is at the forefront of Australia's health priorities.
Her advice to others is always to make time for things that aren't work-related and for family and friends. In the future, Carla aspires to further her specialty in clinical psychology and establish her own practice.
We wish Carla the best of luck with her endeavours. We are confident that she will continue to make ground-breaking discoveries for the advancement of mental health treatment in Australia.
Introducing Armen Karamanian who, as a part of his recent PhD “Returning to Ararat and Home at last”, investigated the social, cultural and linguistic challenges faced by diasporan Armenian adults who, educated in Western Armenian, migrated to and permanently settled in Armenia following independence.
Armen aimed to understand the lifestyle of Western Armenian immigrants and how their identity is affected during their time in mainland Armenia. He raised questions about whether these individuals felt a sense of belonging, whether they felt connected to the Armenian background, whether they continued to speak Western Armenian and whether or not the locals treated them differently.
Prior to completing his PhD through Macquarie University (MQ), Armen studied a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) and a Masters in International Relations at MQ. Following this, he studied a Masters in Research at MQ, which served as a pathway to his PhD. Armen now teaches within the International Studies Faculty at the University of Technology Sydney.
Armen found that most academic writing about diasporans returning to Armenia was related to immigration during Soviet times and mainly focussed on emigration, poverty in Armenia, and issues concerning Artsakh. The lack of writing about immigration in contemporary times, coupled with his first-hand experience of the challenges faced by the diaspora, inspired Armen to investigate this issue more widely.
The main point to gather from Armen’s research is that ‘return’ migration to Armenia is possible but not without its challenges. If the Armenian Government intends to take ‘return’ migration seriously, it needs to consider issues of linguistic and cultural identity that are unique to the diaspora.
In the future, Armen looks to pursue further research in the field of Armenian studies and combining this research with other areas of social concern that haven’t been investigated in great depth, such as concerns of LGBT communities and the evolution of democracy in Armenia.
Armen told us that Academia is something we should pursue. We couldn’t agree more Armen! We can’t wait to see the social impact of your future research on Armenian society in both Eastern Armenia and the diaspora.