Home-grown homecoming


6 minute read

Having grown up in Canberra, Claire Petelczyc feels that while she was born in the nation’s capital, she was raised at its national university – The Australian National University (ANU). 

One of the University’s local research success stories, Claire obtained her First Class Honours in Psychology in 2012, and has now completed her PhD in organisational behaviour and management.

“Apart from a brief high-school transfer to America, an undergraduate exchange to the University of Nottingham, and my Masters at the University of Cambridge, I have lived in Canberra for most of my life. I’m incredibly grateful for my time at ANU, as it’s led to opportunities to study overseas and provided me with a world-class education,” shares Claire.   

Passionate about psychology since her high-school days, Claire always knew she wanted to pursue the field at ANU, not just because it was in her hometown but also due to its research reputation.  

ANU has such an excellent academic reputation that it was an easy call for me to continue living in Canberra to start my research journey.

“ANU has such an excellent academic reputation that it was an easy call for me to continue living in Canberra to start my research journey. It was also here that I began full-time work in the field of organisational psychology, which influenced my decision to do a Master of Social and Developmental Psychology in the UK, and then pursue my PhD in the area of organisational behaviour,” says the graduand. 

Claire was a PhD candidate at the ANU College of Business and Economics’ (CBE’s) Research School of Management, where she studied different types of “play at work” and their effects on a range of work-related outcomes. 

“While anecdotally many agree that there are benefits of engaging in play at work – for example, Google’s renowned ”playful” work environment – there is little systematic, rigorous academic research in this area. To me, this is an exciting and innovative area of research, with real-world applicability,” she explains. 

Claire’s work has been published in the Journal of Management, and she has presented at a number of national and international psychology and management conferences.

As an early career researcher, she is grateful CBE has provided many opportunities for both academic and pastoral growth. 

As I graduate from CBE, I feel more confident as a researcher, presenter and writer.

“In addition to the chance to teach courses in organisational behaviour and management, the College offered me other opportunities for my career growth. For instance, one of its seminar series facilitated my learning about conducting research on a national and international level. Through CBE, I’ve honed my academic skills by participating in 3MT, a competition where candidates present their research in plain language for three minutes, as well as participate in a thesis writing boot camp. With the support of the College, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend an international conference,” she adds. 

Assistance also came in the form of mindfulness workshops, and a range of social events and celebrations, which proved to be instrumental in helping Claire deal with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Particularly early in the pandemic, I found it lonely working from home, as I was used to being in the office alongside my colleagues and friends. At CBE, collecting data and teaching meant interactions with students, research participants and other academics was a routine, and these exchanges ceased to exist when we couldn’t be on campus. While I had my dogs to run with to help me restore some routine, my social connections, colleagues and occasional post-work Zoom catch-ups helped me through the pandemic,” she shares candidly.

Today Claire feels she has gained numerous skills that she can bring to her new job as a senior consultant with Workplace Research, a management consultancy specialising in organisational psychology services.

“As I graduate from CBE, I feel more confident as a researcher, presenter and writer. My critical thinking and analysis skills have vastly improved, and I have broadened my horizons by engaging with a wide range of research topics outside my area of specialisation,” she explains.

The College is always keen to explore research collaborations with the public and private sector and to reconnect with alumni. Please get in touch if you would like to know more about partnering with us.

The ANU College of Business and Economics offers an extensive range of specialised programs. Click here for more details.