Dr Chitra Jayathilake (completed 2015)
Dr Chitra Jayathilake is a Senior Lecturer in English and a Faculty Member of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda (Colombo), Sri Lanka. Her thesis title was "Biopolitics and postcolonial theatre: a comparative study of Anglophone plays in South Africa, India and Sri Lanka", and was supervised by Dr Mariangela Palladino and Professor David Amigoni. Chitra successfully defended her thesis in October 2015.
What have you been doing since you left Keele?
I am a Senior Lecturer in English and a Faculty Member of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda (Colombo), Sri Lanka. Currently, I conduct lectures at the Department of English and am the chair of the fifth International Research Conference on Humanities and Social Sciences at the University, in addition to all administrative duties and responsibilities required from a Faculty Member.
I also contribute to various academic programmes at the national level of Sri Lanka. For instance, I am on the committee of the syllabus curriculum programme of the General Certificate of Examinations (Advanced Level) at the National Institute of Education, Sri Lanka. I also contribute to G.C.E examinations administered by the Ministry of Education, Sri Lanka.
What did you enjoy about/gain from studying at Keele?
The exposure I had as an international candidate at Keele was immense and enjoyable. In addition to my supervision sessions, I used to attend almost all English seminars. I also actively participated in many other workshops conducted by the Research Institute, and other academic bodies at the University. The Postcolonial forum, in particular, was interesting and I enjoyed presenting there on a Sri Lankan film based on Leonard Woolf's The Village in the Jungle. In the meantime, I developed a good relationship with other PhD candidates - national and international - and always attempted to get exposed to social meetings.
What advice would you give to any PhD students who want to go into academia?
If one wants to join academia, current PhD students should, above all, love teaching and their PhD work and they should also consider them therapeutic. They should sustain their interest not only in the research area but also in the related, contemporary human issues in the world. To succeed in their PhD attempt, they should be honest to their supervisors and themselves, and to the work; they should develop a good, positive rapport with their supervisors, and win their hearts (by working hard, completing all assignments on time, contacting supervisors regularly, being punctual in every aspect, being grateful to supervisors' service, advice and contribution etc.) The fact that I love(d) my supervisors - especially Dr. Palladino and Prof. Amigoni who worked closely with me - as my teachers helped me a lot in pursuing my PhD happily and without much stress.