Nivedah Kuganenderan

Nivedah Kuganenderan

Why did you choose to study for a PhD at the University of Leeds?

Research has always motivated me to discover something significant. Hence, DTCTERM at Leeds was my first choice, as it included all the aspects I have been looking for to progress my personal and professional development in a cohort.

It is a new style of PhD that combines research experience with a taught element in a supportive environment. The first year involves a substantial research experience with lab placements, which provides a platform for my research in the beginning of second year. This programme provides intensive training, placements and modules in the first year and towards the end of the year, the final project will need be chosen. We also had access to specialist facilities and laboratories at the University of Leeds, University of Sheffield and University of York. In addition, we were given the opportunity to choose from numerous challenging projects offered across various facilities.

Tell us about your research

My PhD project is looking to establish a relationship between the biological structures and mechanical properties of the natural ankle joint. An understanding as to why ankle cartilage might be less susceptible to damage, compared to other joints will also be addressed.

What is your favourite part of studying at Leeds?

Studying at the University of Leeds has given me a great opportunity to undertake a short placement in a corporate firm - this is completely unrelated to my current research and enables me to widen my future and career prospects.

What activities do you take part in outside of your studies?

As a PhD student, there are numerous opportunities waiting for you to grab, especially if you love a challenge! I have been involved in checking the accurate marking of exam papers. I also took up a few invigilating jobs recently, which was a complete different, yet interesting experience as I’m mostly used to sitting the exams myself!

During my 2nd year, I was part of the committee as ‘Head of Acts’ for the Leeds South Asian Society (LSA) at the University of Leeds. My role involved bringing various talented acts together for ‘The Bollywood Show’, which takes place annually in the Riley Smith Hall. Every year for the Bollywood show, I take part in the dance and fashion acts – as I love dancing and I get to wear stunning outfits! As the head of acts, my role was to organise and manage a variety of acts and performances for the show. In addition, I also organise social events for marketing and promotional purposes. My experience within the society helped me strengthen my communication skills and team working skills.

I’m currently a private tutor for Mathematics and German up to A-levels as teaching has always been rewarding for me.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I’m currently keeping my options open and want to be open-minded about the future. However, research and development might be something I would like to try next and see where it takes me.

Your advice to prospective students

I highly recommend anyone thinking about studying a research degree in engineering at the University of Leeds to go ahead and apply! The last three years of studying at the University has been truly life-changing for me. The supportive environment, great resources, fantastic opportunities, in addition to friendly staff members encourages you to be the best you can!