PhD Student Profile

Melissa Wales

Charles Sturt University

My research will seek to identify and understand the social norms operating within Australian farming communities, and how they may be influencing perceptions of “good” and “bad” farming practices today, and in turn how this influences management and policy decisions.

PhD Title: “A Study of Social Norms and Soil Management.”

PhD start date: March 2018

Supervisors: Professor Catherine Allan, Charles Sturt University, Associate Professor Ben Wilson, Charles Sturt University.

What interested you about this sort of research?
I have always been passionate about the natural world since I was young. I love collaborating with others and learning from each other about all topics to do with the environment.

What do you love about soil?
I love soil because it is the most complex biomaterial on the planet. The more I learn about soil, the more I realise there is so much more to learn!

What do you love about your PhD?
I love the opportunity to contribute to the growing body of research about soil science and social norms. I am grateful as I am being mentored and supported by incredible supervisors. I love that my PhD has enabled me to work closely with farmers, policy makers, soil officers and soil scientists.

How will your PhD help to make a difference for farmers?
I hope my PhD will help farmers better understand their values, beliefs and the social norms that are operating within their communities and guiding their management of soils.

What do you want to do when you finish your PhD?
I would love the opportunity to further develop my skills as a researcher in the public or private sector. I am excited for the opportunities that may arise out of my involvement with the Soil CRC, with the ultimate goal to work with a wide variety of stakeholders to help improve soil management for the future.