Assistant Professor Dr. Natalie Pang received her Bachelors in Commerce in 1999, at the University of Melbourne. She obtained her Masters in Information Studies from the Wee Kim Wee School in NTU in 2003, before procuring her Ph.D. in Information Management from Monash University in 2009.
Her time and research at Monash University was certainly fruitful. Dr. Pang’s Ph.D. dissertation earned her two awards: the Vice Chancellor’s Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence, and the Faculty of Information Technology Doctoral Medal.
Today, her research focuses on social informatics, particularly in the use and impacts of social media, and online information behaviour. She examines three areas of research – the first being social media behaviour in the contexts of uncertainty and disruptions, wherein the online user’s personal perception of crises, disasters, and social movements comes heavily into play.
Two other areas of her work include the participatory documentation and archival of social media, and IT effects in marginalised communities – focusing on the use of social theories such as structuration, and actor network theory.
Data collection is another big part of Dr. Pang’s avid research interests. Believing that it plays a crucial role in the quality of any paper published, she finds it the most enjoyable and exciting experience when freshly embarking on a research project.
“Asking and refining questions; encountering stumbling blocks; and finding alternative ways to proceed in a plan of action – that’s all part of research,” she says. “And the process translates to a good paper.”
And with a feel for the practicality of research, she takes pride in disseminating her findings in the form of publications, seminars, or talks – so as to make a tangible impact on real policies and people.
Dr. Pang’s foray into academia began first at Monash University in Malaysia, where she worked as a research associate, before moving to the Australian campus to obtain her doctorate. There, she served as an Honorary Research Associate at Museum Victoria and was involved in curatorial and archival work.
She now teaches at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, of which social informatics and computing, information management, information behaviour, and qualitative research methods make up some of the courses.
Her work in the field of education extends beyond that. Dr. Pang is a Principal Investigator at the Centre of Social Media Innovations for Communities (COSMIC) at NTU. In addition, she is currently a Faculty-in-Residence at Crescent Hall, as well as Faculty Fellow of the University Scholars’ Programme – where she is actively involved in the development of residential education and holistic development of scholars at NTU. With her involvement, Dr. Pang hopes to “shape NTU’s future plans for residential education at the University”
Revealing an interesting side pursuit, Dr. Pang also spends her time involved in creative writing projects, writing children’s books. Her first book The Shepherd and His Cloud, was published in 2009 by the Straits Times Press, and subsequently nominated for the Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award in Singapore in 2010.
At the end of the day, personal motivations aside, Dr. Pang firmly believes in the practicality of making research relevant and understandable.
“The challenge is to make your research relevant to others, while discovering new research perspectives and questions,” she said.