Meet our Science Ambassadors
Our Science Ambassadors are current students in the Faculty of Science from across many different disciplines; they volunteer their time to help with a range of future student, alumni and current student activities.
- Jack Simkin
I've enjoyed the opportunity to learn from experts in their fields, and meet new people who are driven to create change.Master of Environment
- Kathryn Teo
Science requires a lot of hard work and motivation to understand content; therefore, it is essential to have an interest in learning. What's most important is the 'big picture' to get life-long knowledge and skills applicable to your area of study.Bachelor of Science, Mathematics and Statistics major
- Kok Loong Chu
I have met amazing friends from all walks of life, from all over the world.Bachelor of Science, Animal Health and Disease major
Amanda Hwei Ee Loh
"UniMelb provides a safe platform and sufficient support for students to discover their inner passion and strengths. It isn't all about results in UoM, it's also about the life we live in Melbourne." -Amanda
I aim to pursue Music Neuropsychology within the Neuroscience field. It’s an extremely specialized area and there aren’t many people that had delved into it just yet, but it’s my dream to integrate music, neuroscience and psychology. The lecturers I've gotten thus far in UoM has been one of the best lecturers I had ever been taught by. I still can't believe that some of my favourite textbook authors are teaching me live, and this is probably the best experience ever.
Hailing from a Commerce background before university, it is due to sheer determination as well as mentoring that got me to where I am today. It started with attending a Bio-Psychology talk back in Malaysia, whereby I first met my mentor, who coincidentally was the Head of Department of the program I was in. Her speech was awe-inspiring and talking to her more about it after the speech made me more intrigued in the area of Biology with Psychology. Since then I have been hooked on Neuroscience.
What made me ultimately choose UniMelb was the student-life that the university would be able to provide me with. UniMelb provides a safe platform and sufficient support for students to discover their inner passion and strengths. It isn't all about results in UoM, it's also about the life we live in Melbourne. UniMelb provides a safe platform and sufficient support for students to discover their inner passion and strengths. It isn't all about results in UoM, it's also about the life we live in Melbourne.
I’ve only been in UniMelb for two years, and in this short amount of time I’ve met true friends, developed good skills and am determined to get a good career. Being put into a situation where I’m living away from my parents, I have had to be independent. This can be tiresome, but at the end of the day I usually get a feeling of accomplishment.
"Discovering creative, innovative climate change adaptation & mitigation methods inspired me to start a Geography major." -Benjamin
I began my Bachelor of Science wanting to pursue health sciences by seeing the positive impact that health care had on my family & friends, and started completing pre-requisites for graduate entry. After my first year I took a Gap Year and undertook a placement as an Outdoor Education Instructor in Anglesea, Victoria. I worked with students and community groups - teaching them the basics in rock climbing, canoeing, cycling and surfing etc. I had a fantastic time and discovered my love for working outdoors, researching interactions between people and the environment and encouraging them (especially students) to engage and learn about the nature around them.
The internship also led me to get involved in learning about community development and making a difference in the levies of those around me: I realised that people did care about the environment, i.e. climate change, but often did not have the tools, knowledge or support to make meaningful changes in their lives. Discovering creative, innovative climate change adaptation & mitigation methods inspired me to start a Geography major when I returned to study.
My course has meant travelling internationally to learn about climate change resilience in some inspiring communities and environments; studying glaciers in New Zealand, learning about landscape management with rural farming communities in China and working with aid organisations in East Timor in climate change resilience, to name a few! It has allowed me to make many new friends across the world and network with inspiring and friendly academics. Plus, getting involved in a wide range of extracurricular activities! From volunteering in the Community Garden and Student Welfare, to teaching at Collingwood Children’s Farm & working for the Students At Work program.
My dream career would be to work with environmental education in the Asia Pacific Region; empowering local community leaders through the Asia Pacific region to respond creatively and innovatively to climate change through social enterprise. I have learnt that knowledge and talent are incredibly valuable, but interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate ideas clearly and critically is just as important!
Through enthusiasm in class, one of my breadth subjects "Glee Singing" led to us getting involved with a State Library of Victoria arts project with the Les Miserables Cast and performing in Her Majesty's Theatre for a non-for-profit Mental Health Awareness event. After that experience, I realised how much a choir could be a wonderful community builder and so I started a community choir in my local town with friends, local churches, Eltham Chamber of Commerce and Nillumbik Council. Today the choir has kept growing and we regularly visit local retirement villages, perform at a variety of local markets and childrens programs and engage in welcoming new Syrian Refugee families into the community. All from a breadth subject...as a Science Student! It's been an amazing ride and I'm still getting blown away by how much I'm learning.
Benjamin received the Melbourne Global Mobility Award and a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant, which have helped him travel to New Zealand and China respectively. He has also been working toward the Leaders in Community Award (LiCA).
Brad Den Heijer
"From medicine to business or research to law, all of these options remain open to you while studying a Bachelor of Science." -Brad
I moved to Melbourne after completing high school in New Zealand and for that reason the university has been a great platform to meet a lot of new people, develop some life-long friendships and really experience all that Melbourne and Australia has to offer. The fact that the University is right in the heart of Melbourne’s biomedical research precinct which opens up a lot of opportunities for further study and work, influenced my decision to come here.
There is nowhere a degree in Science can’t take you. From medicine to business or research to law, all of these options remain open to you while studying a Bachelor of Science and the Melbourne Model really allows you to figure out what you are most interested in during your degree.
I have thoroughly enjoyed studying genetics and biotechnology because they are areas of immense growth and expansion. Not only do they involve very interesting theory and principles, but these fields also have the capacity to create positive change in the world around me – right down to the individual level in human and medical genetics, and large industrial improvements in areas such as biopharmaceuticals and agricultural biotechnology.
The hardest part of university life is choosing exactly what it is you want to get involved in – there is so much to offer from clubs and societies, to sport and theatre. Getting involved in these activities can be a great way to enrich your university experience. However, with so many options it can be a fine balance because you still want to leave enough time for your studies!
For more information on clubs and societies, see here.
Eileen Phoenix Aquino Lam
"I am specifically interested in viruses; how they can affect our immune system and how they have co-evolved with us." -Eileen
Studying here at the University of Melbourne is not just studying for me. It has meant new friends I have met from lectures, clubs and events. I am very blessed to have met all these amazing wonderful people some of whom have become my close friends.
I have always loved science since a young girl. Watching all those Animal Planet and Discovery Channel documentaries has fuelled my love for science. Having great science teachers from a very young age and seeing women in science has inspired me to pursue a career in science. Also just the wonderful world created around us has gotten me fascinated and amazed by the wonderful work and art that is life and science.
My dream career would be a biomedical researcher, particularly in the areas of microbiology/immunology, working in the lab with other cool scientists from all different science backgrounds. I am specifically interested in viruses and how they can affect our immune system and how they have co-evolved with us. There is also so much we don’t know about microbiology and immunology that I can’t help but wonder what is out there for us to discover.
While at high school, I was still sheltered under my teachers. Coming to university, I just didn’t expect the amount of freedom but also self-responsibility that came with it. Suddenly there was no one at university to hold my hand. But I also realised that the helping hands so many students seek of are actually just there; not holding onto us but beside us so that whenever we need help, we can always reach out and hold on to a hand.
Eileen has achieved the Leaders in Communities Award (LiCA).
Find out more about LiCA here.
"I've really enjoyed the variety and scope that I’ve experienced with my subjects, as well as practical components such as field trips and camps to locations outside of Melbourne." -Harriet
I’ve always loved animals and the environment, and I hope to contribute to the conservation of organisms and ecosystems by learning about ecology and conservation and gaining practical research skills. I was attracted by the broad range of subjects offered throughout the Faculty of Science, as well as the ability to choose a more specific focus and pathway later in the degree.
I really appreciate the flexibility of study within my course at the University of Melbourne, and the university’s great reputation both locally and internationally helps to be more confident about the quality of education and post-graduation employment prospects. I’ve also really enjoyed the friendly and welcoming atmosphere and the wide variety of extra-curricular activities offered, such as student-run clubs which cater for a huge range of interests!
I've really enjoyed the variety and scope that I’ve experienced with my subjects, as well as practical components such as field trips and camps to locations outside of Melbourne. I’ve also been able to follow my passion and carry out a number of research-focused subjects in my third year, meaning that I’ve been able to enjoy my time studying while still gaining useful skills for after graduation.
Kok Loong Chu
"I was inspired to pursue Veterinary Medicine by my passion for animals and the innate desire to want to see all animals in their best health." -Kok Loong
I chose the University of Melbourne because of its proximity to Singapore (compared to America or UK), the study pathway via the Melbourne Model, the prestige of the school, people who had studied here telling me it was great, and finally because Melbourne is a really awesome place with so much to offer! So far I have met amazing friends from all walks of life, from all over the world.
The university has opened a door to many exciting opportunities ahead and allowed me to pursue my dream of becoming a veterinarian. I was inspired to pursue Veterinary Medicine by my passion for animals and the innate desire to want to see all animals in their best health. I hope to be able to treat all kinds of animals and also wish to be the owner of a world-class veterinary clinic.
"My dream career is to work in a multinational pharmaceutical company as a business development manager, where I travel the world and interact with new people." -Michelle
My introduction to biotechnology was when I was taught genetic engineering at school. I took biotechnology as a core subject during high school and never looked back since. I went on to do my Bachelors and now Masters in the same field, broadening my knowledge and experience.
Attending numerous workshops, seminars and networking events have benefited my professional development as a graduate student. I get the opportunity to meet passionate individuals from the industry, exchange ideas and obtain career advice.
The University of Melbourne is where I invest in myself, embrace the challenges and pursue my passion ruthlessly to achieve my goals. There are lot of career options after my Biotechnology degree, which I did not realise before. My dream career is to work in a multinational pharmaceutical company as a business development manager, where I travel the world and interact with new people.
For more information on industry and career events, see here.
"Listen to advice, but in the end, make the choice that you are happiest with, strive towards your goal, and you will do extremely well." -Nathan
I initially chose the Bachelor of Biomedicine, and completed my first year in that course. However, I did not find that course to be personally fulfilling, as it left many of my interests such as physics and engineering, unanswered, and so I transferred to the Bachelor of Science at the beginning of my second year. I can honestly say that this was one of the best decisions that I have made, as Science has been extremely rewarding, interesting, exciting and inspiring. The subjects are incredibly challenging yet rewarding at the same time, and really explore the potential of each student. Additionally the University of Melbourne fosters a wonderful environment to make and deepen friendships, which is definitely an important highlight for me.
I don’t actually have a particularly dream career that I want to strive towards. Going forwards into the future, there will be so many new jobs created that don’t exist now, in conjunction with all the careers that do exist now that I don’t yet know about. I am keen to explore and broaden my horizons, and find a career that is rewarding and fulfilling.
University has taught me how big the world really is. It is so easy to get caught up in school life and the school routine, and to sometimes forget that so much is happening in the world that we are unaware of. There is so much knowledge out there, so many intelligent people, and so many ways to help you grow in character. It is okay to feel a little overwhelmed at everything, but there are many services at the university, career counsellors, the internet, and people who are there to help you. Listen to advice, but in the end, make the choice that you are happiest with, strive towards your goal, and you will do extremely well.
For careers advice and more information, see here.
"The Melbourne Model is structured so that you can try a variety of subjects. This way, you have the opportunity to try a whole range of subjects and see what suits you the best." -Nayana
After attending the Open Day, I knew I wanted to study at the University of Melbourne. I loved the idea of being able to call this beautiful campus home, and knowing that I would be able to get a world class education during my time here made my decision very easy. I also did not want to go into a very specific degree straight out of high school, so the Melbourne Model suited me well.
Coming into my degree, I wasn’t sure if I had made the right choice doing a Bachelor of Science. That said, during my first year I took a wide range of classes to try out different aspects of science and found myself in a stream that I am now in, and love! My time here is making me a better, well-rounded person and will hopefully help me achieve my future goals.
I went on exchange to America and studied at the University of Virginia for a semester. This was an incredible experience as for five months, my life consisted of meeting people from all around the world, experiencing life as an American student and travelling. I could not recommend going on exchange enough. It really opened my eyes up to possibilities for the future and, in the process, I made lifelong friends dotted around the globe.
Don’t worry too much about whether you’ve made the right choice in terms of what you are studying. The Melbourne Model is structured so that you can try a variety of subjects. This way, you have the opportunity to try a whole range of subjects and see what suits you the best.
For more information on exchange opportunities, see here.
"I would like to be able to benefit disadvantaged nations whose people lack the technological benefits I’m fortunate enough as a citizen of a first world state to consider mundane." -Phil
Science is endlessly fascinating. So much that is mysterious has been demystified by science throughout history, and yet for evermore there will exist phenomena awaiting explanation. I love ideas and this area of study fuels an already keen interest in understanding the world surrounding me.
Melbourne’s high entry standards results in every student you meet having some positive combination of smarts and work ethic, with engaging opinions and ideas of their own. This creates a dynamic atmosphere within which to both become educated and grow as a person.
I would like to be able to benefit disadvantaged nations whose people lack the technological benefits I’m fortunate enough as a citizen of a first world state to consider mundane – such as potable water. Humanity needs to push forward, to look beyond perceived limitations and find solutions to global challenges, and I want to be a part of it. I see the study of engineering as equipping me with the tools to make the most of my talents to this end.
"Never be afraid to try new things. The opportunities provided here to develop yourself are endless." -Ruchir
Prior to studying at the University of Melbourne, I did a research B.Sc (Hons) at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom, with a thesis in mead fermentation. I wanted to do a degree in coursework to learn more about the industry and make myself more employable in the future, which led me to the Master of Biotechnology.
Throughout the course, the modules along with my interactions with faculty, industrialists and peers in my field have been valuable to my career path. The degree includes many business subjects useful for learning industrial concepts such as financing and product development in biotechnology companies. Melbourne has a good start-up scene and a booming biotech (healthcare, food) industry.
Current research developments in the biotechnology field and the variety and breadth of applications of this field in everyday life fuelled my interest to join this study area. I didn’t expect to learn how deeply interconnected biotechnology and business are. My dream career is to own a start-up company specialising in wine-making in South Australia.
Completing the internship subject has been a key highlight of my studies. Mine was at the School of Applied and Biomedical Science Federation University, where I was made to perform a variety of tasks and assessments related to brewing and malting sciences. This internship subject and placement made me more job ready and willing to compete in industrial environments.
Never be afraid to try new things. The opportunities provided here to develop yourself are endless… smart work and humour are keys to success!
"Breadth has enabled me to appreciate the non-scientific parts of society, such as the history and the development of the Japanese language." -Selena
The high-tech laboratory facilities and the dedication to science of our enthusiastic academics during open day talks, really appealed to me about this university. In addition, there are numerous research facilities partnering with the University of Melbourne, and I think being a Melbourne University student gives you more opportunities to network with project managers and senior demonstrators.
I knew I liked science but I wasn’t sure which specific field I wanted to study or work in. The best advice I can give would be to get involved with university events such as career talks, discovery tours or club and societies, to get more understanding of what kind of person you are and what you are really dedicated in doing. This will definitely help you with your course planning.
Studying Japanese as breadth has been more than merely introducing vocabulary and grammar; it is a combination of exploring new ways of learning to maximise our understanding of the Japanese culture as well as improving team work skills. It has enabled me to appreciate the non-scientific parts of society such as the history and the development of the Japanese language.
For more information on breadth subjects, see here.
"Go up and talk to people, ask questions, join clubs, do subjects that aren't with your friends - don't be afraid to jump a little bit out of your comfort zone." -Serina
I've always been interested in science as it explains so much of what happens around us. Particularly, I am so fascinated by the human mind and body and its ability to function in everyday life without us needing any conscious control over it. In terms of career I'd love to be able to work on the human brain as I'm constantly fascinated by that, but in terms of whether that means in research or further into the realms of medicine - I just don't know yet.
Through studying at Melbourne I've been able to push my boundaries in terms of what I've been able to learn and experience. I have loved the broad variety of subjects I’ve taken and the resources particular topics use to reinforce learning. Currently, I’m doing 3rd year anatomy subjects which use real human cadaveric tissue and it is so surreal that the layers you see in text books are actually there physically!
I think the biggest thing about university is you have to really embrace the experience. Go up and talk to people, ask questions, join clubs, do subjects that aren't with your friends - don't be afraid to jump a little bit out of your comfort zone.
I always had a passion for science and I’ve always known I wanted to study at The University of Melbourne. The Bachelor of Science stood out to me as the perfect degree that offered flexibility and relatable post graduate study. My dream career is to work in rehabilitation or sport as a physiotherapist.
Studying here has meant that I’ve been able to move out of home into the wonderful city, meet a large circle of new friends and discover hundreds of new things I am interested in learning. The highlights of my degree have included meeting heaps of new people (including lecturers and professionals), changing my major (many times), discovering new aspects of science that interest me, attending uni events and engaging in so many opportunities.
Taking part in the Kwong Lee Dow Young Scholars Program helped me decide that I wanted to definitely study at UoM. It allowed me to explore the campus and meet new people and continues to give me excellent opportunities.
For more information on the Kwong Lee Dow Young Scholars Program, see here.
Studying at the University of Melbourne has been a great experience so far. I’ve developed various skills like critical thinking and problem solving through my assignments, and this year I'm getting industry exposure as I complete my industry project. In an industry project, groups of four as assigned an industry and are asked to make a commercialisation plan for it. I have also made many amazing friends by joining various types of clubs and societies.
A highlight of my studies has been attending various networking and careers events during the first year of my Masters. They gave me opportunities to interact with my potential employers and insight into what they are looking for in an employee. My dream career is to work as a product manager in a pharmaceutical company, as I think working in that field will help me to enhance my skills and broaden my knowledge.
For more information on careers and industry events, see here.
At the University of Melbourne, I have been so fortunate to be able to join so many different extra-curricular activities and other external opportunities, such as volunteering in science classrooms with In2Science, as well as going on exchange to Bristol in the UK in semester 2 of my second year. These experiences have allowed me to develop so many skills which I wouldn't have previously had, and were also some of the highlights of my tertiary study experience. Going on exchange was one of the best decisions I have made, and I would definitely recommend it to everyone who is willing to step outside their comfort zone and explore somewhere new.
The Bachelor of Science is a fantastic degree which allows you to keep your options open and not lock yourself in to one specific career pathway. You will discover so many fields of science, and have many opportunities to develop skills applicable to a diverse range of workplaces. There are also great internship and research opportunities, which are incredibly helpful in gaining experience and knowledge.
My advice to prospective students of the University of Melbourne would be to keep your options open in first year, because you never know what area you might find interesting, or what subjects might appeal to you that you have never tried before.
Ever since I was a child I wanted to study the stars, and that inspired me to pursue astrophysics. That led to a general love of physics and mathematics, which is why I chose to major in Physics at university. I like understanding why things happen at a fundamental level and physics lets me do this.
The highlights of my studies thus far have been having the opportunity to get involved with so many extracurricular activities, and getting to know my department really well. The Physics department has a great relationship with students and makes you feel very welcome.
Do your research and make sure you're aware of any prerequisite subjects you should be taking in year 12 to ensure you can continue with certain topics (such as maths) straight away, as some individual university subjects will have different prerequisites to the actual 'Bachelor of Science' course. Also, consider and be open to the freedom you could have at Melbourne with the Bachelor of Science, as you are able to select from so many different subject disciplines (in first year especially) that it's very easy to tailor a degree to you and what you like.
For more advice on course planning, see here.
After working in the water monitoring industry for four years, I decided that I would like to learn more about the policy decisions being made regarding resource management, and more broadly, how the system could work better.
I've enjoyed the opportunity to learn from experts in their fields, and meet new people who are driven to create change. The Master of Environment course attracts a combination of professionals coming back to study after a period in the workforce, and students continuing on from their undergraduate studies.
The flexible structure of the course has allowed me to study in both science and social science disciplines. Being able to embark on a 50 point research project has also given me the opportunity to explore a topic of interest in much greater depth than standard subjects allow.
My advice would be to ask everyone questions. The course (Master of Environment) has so many good classes to choose from, and student experiences are the best way to find out which classes will suit your needs best. Also, don't be afraid to try new things. Whether it's being involved in extracurricular organisations like the Postgraduate Environmental Network, or taking a breadth subject from a completely different field to what you're studying. You never know where making the most of the opportunities the University offer might take you.
I have an interest in science and I particularly enjoy studying Mathematics as it is very useful, interesting, and fun.
At the moment I don't really have a dream career, I'm really just seeing where the winds will take me. I know I will be equipped with the skills for a good career path and I will be open to many opportunities after I graduate. The high level and standards of education at UoM has made me aware of how privileged I am to be studying here.
My advice would be to enjoy every moment of studying, as hard as that may sound, so that you actually learn the content and don’t solely care about the marks. Science requires a lot of hard work and motivation to understand content; therefore, it is essential to have an interest in learning. What's most important is the 'big picture' to get life-long knowledge and skills applicable to your area of study.
I am currently participating in the In2Science mentoring program for disadvantaged students at Simonds Catholic College, a program that aims to increase the STEM participation of low-socioeconomic students as they transition towards VCE. I have been attending Year 9 science classes, and tutoring some students that are experiencing difficulties. I’ve also just started the Job Ready short course "Employment and Communication Skills for STEM Students," to improve my public speaking skills and learn more about science communication in the public arena.
I am planning on majoring in Human Structure and Function, so as to apply for medical school. My desire to become a physician is born from a genuine interest in health sciences and growing up in a family affected by chronic illness. I am passionate and read widely about the intersection of science, philosophy, medicine and scepticism, and the role they play in rational discourse. I believe science promotion and acceptance is critical for the success of humanity and our environment. Psychiatry, bionics, biogerontology (ageing), global health, and even aerospace medicine (yes, I would like to be a doctor on Mars) all grab my attention.
My advice would be never to take your education for granted. I almost lost the chance to complete a degree and chase my dream to be a doctor. So take the opportunity now and learn about this amazing world. I was offered a place at the University of Melbourne as a mature age student via the Access Melbourne program, which aims to increase UoM's intake of students from disadvantaged, minority or low socioeconomic backgrounds. So don't be shy, apply! Visit the University and speak to academics and student groups about what subjects to take. There are 41 majors available and a huge range of graduate study programs that continue from the Bachelor of Science. And look online at www.unimelb.edu.au, there are a huge range of online resources that can help guide your decisions.
Li Ren Lim
Science became my interest the day I watched Bill Nye the Science Guy back in primary school, and the fascinating and amazing world of science has captured my heart ever since. When choosing a major, biotechnology really stood out to me as the most multidisciplinary major there is. From the ancient art of fermentation (wine and cheese) to genetic manipulation, biotechnology is a field that continues to grow, with limitless boundaries. My dream career is to be involved in a start-up science company; to help develop its business, establish the brand name and commercialise its intellectual properties. I think it is truly rewarding to see a company establishing its roots and growing to become a major industry player.
I think that the Master of Biotechnology provides you with technical know-how and applications of scientific theories in the workplace. It also equips you with professional skills that are useful in the industry. Through interactions with peers, industry representatives and lecturers, I have gained a better understanding of my field and industry. If you are interested in how products are commercialised from scientists’ intellectual properties (findings/ research), or if you are interested in being a science communicator and providing the public with facts (debunking perceptions of GMOs and others), this is the course for you!
Being an international student, my time here at the university is an opportunity for me to get out of my comfort zone and experience the countless amazing things out there. My course specifically has a diverse pool of students coming from different backgrounds and has been a great place for intercultural exchanges and understanding. I think the university has allowed me to grow personally, learn new skills and is helping to prepare me for my future career.
I was inspired to pursue physics because I've always been really interested in how things worked at a fundamental level and why everything exists the way it does. The fact that objects and systems of such different scales could be connected somehow baffles me, and it seemed like physics, particularly particle physics, was a good place to go to get the answers I craved about the fundamental structure of the universe. The highlights of my studies have been going on exchange, and doing third year subjects where the content became more practical and applicable to the real world.
Studying at UoM meant gaining independence and a flexibility in what I chose to study during undergraduate. Being able to take arts courses that I've always been really interested in were both super enjoyable, and helped me to decide to ultimately pursue physics in Masters, knowing that I wouldn't feel like I'd missed out on another opportunity I might've enjoyed just as much.
My dream career is to work in research, hopefully in the particle physics sphere. I'd love to contribute to something that years from now was seen as something ground-breaking in that field. My advice would be to study smart, not necessarily hard, and not to give up when the workload feels overwhelming. Don't be afraid to study the things you love, not just the things you're good at, because those are the courses I've found the most rewarding.
During my exchange I studied at the University of California, Berkeley in the USA. I loved it, and would highly recommend it to other students. Studying at Berkeley, a university with a strong leaning towards my area of interest, was incredibly eye opening and gave me the drive I needed to be sure I could undertake graduate studies. I had to opportunity to work with experts in my field, as well as do some travelling during and after my study.
For more information on exchange opportunities, see here.
I have always had a passion for science and maths, but my inspiration for studying a Bachelor of Science came through the National Youth Science Forum. I was able to get hands-on experience in different science fields, and this inspired me to continue studying science in the hope of being able to use my skills to help others. Also, seeing the difference science and technology can make to the lives of everyone, in so many diverse and interesting ways, inspired me to continue studying in the STEM fields.
Going on exchange to Edinburgh was a particular highlight of my degree so far, as I was able to study in a different country, surrounded by people with diverse cultures and backgrounds. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to challenge myself, try new things, travel independently and adapt to life away from home. I made so many life-long friends, and was able to explore the world while studying which is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity. There is so much history in our world that you don't appreciate until you are standing at the Colosseum or walking around ancient Castles.
I think that science challenges you to think rationally, critically and analytically, and with these skills I believe I can make a real difference to the lives of others. In particular, I chose to study genetics as I am an identical twin, and learning about what makes each person unique, and the impact of genes versus the environment is a very interesting area of research to me. My dream career would be to work as a genetics researcher, as this field can incorporate my passion for both maths and genetics and allow me to solve problems that can make a positive impact on society and the world.
My advice would be to make the most of all your opportunities, whether that be doing a range of subjects to see what you actually enjoy, trying interesting breadth subjects that can benefit your science degree or going on exchange. I would suggest trying subjects that you haven't really done before, because they might be the subjects that you find you have a passion for and just haven't had the opportunity to study.
I was inspired to pursue science by the ever-changing nature of the field, with new techniques, technologies and knowledge continually in development. A major in Human structure and function provides a challenging yet engaging pathway to a career centralised around the study of the human body.
I have enjoyed the intellectual challenges posed by the university academics and my fellow students. I feel as though this is a driving force which stimulates my desire for learning, and continued passion to engage in a career in science. Being in an environment of like-minded individuals has really aided me in striving for my goals, and provides great support during semester as everyone helps each other out. The clubs and societies at the University provide intrinsic connections to fellow students, which provide essential nourishment for friendships to grow.
Studying at UoM has provided me with the opportunity to engage with the global community, and pursue my interest in the field of science. This has been made possible by the numerous opportunities the university provides, such as the opportunity to volunteer within the university community, providing exceptional academic services and support, and connecting Australian students with a diverse range of students from across the world.
I have been in the Science stream throughout high school and am interested how and why people behave in certain ways. My interest in psychology also came about via exposure to the media's portrayal of different mental health issues.
Studying at the University of Melbourne has meant that I have achieved an item from my bucket list, which is to study abroad from Malaysia. My advice would be to give any subject a try (even as a breadth or elective) because you won't know how much you enjoy something until you have tried it.
One of the major highlights in my studies so far has been receiving a congratulatory letter that I was one of the top 3 students for my breadth in Finance 1. It was my breadth subject in my first semester and finance was an entirely new area of studies for me. I didn't expect to do very well but I did study harder to make up for it, and the hard work certainly paid off when I got my results. I was beyond surprised when I got the letter.
For more information on breadth and elective options, see here.
- Satya Piccioni-Grenna
I know that despite having done a degree specifically focusing on psychology, I will be able to apply my skills in every aspect of what I choose to do next.Bachelor of Science, Psychology major
- Chloe Marie
My honours project looks at determining the origin of particular sediments in an interglacial sequence from the Neoproterozoic.Bachelor of Science with Honours
- Peter McDonald
I was inspired to study chemistry by the desire to understand how things work at an atomic level.Bachelor of Science with Honours
Cara Dawn Faulkner
Cara’s major in mathematical physics is driven by her passion for astrophysics and quantum physics.
In primary school I was exposed to science fiction, which I found fascinating and from there I started reading material on physics and mathematics in my spare time. I was drawn to Melbourne University because of its fantastic reputation (particularly in regards to its physics department) and the high academic standard it upholds. It also has an excellent location and the grounds and facilities are great.
Even though the studies can be academically challenging, I've found it really rewarding and I've been able to connect with other students at all levels and faculty staff through some great networking events.
Whilst I haven't yet narrowed down my exact dream career, I know that I want to research maths and physics and some of the particular fields of interest for me are astrophysics and quantum physics.
"It was the middle of winter and we were learning about fire behaviour on a fire table using real fire." -Mitchell
Towards the end of my degree I completed the Forest Science major capstone subject Forest Systems. I was studying the Civil Systems major and had plans for a career in engineering but after completing this subject I am now a Forest Fire-fighter.
It was the middle of winter and we were learning about fire behaviour on a fire table using real fire. The session was run by a representative from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning who not only educated us about fire behaviour but also about the possible careers in this area. I followed their advice and applied to become a Project Fire Fighter for that summer. I was successful and that summer headed out to Cann River in eastern Victoria for my first fire fighting adventure.
That summer was spent fighting a number of small forest fires and undertaking planned burns for the next fire season. The fire table activity really came to life here and helped me appreciate and understand the power of fire and the reasoning behind the strategies that we were using. The camaraderie of the job is terrific and it was great to be working in the bush. Most of the time was spent four wheel driving and chain sawing, with lunch often spent at a river, beach or a great lookout.
From there an opportunity came up in the Tiwi Islands over the winter months to work as a firefighter. So with only a handful of wildfires and a few more burns under my belt down in Victoria, I soon found myself taking on the role as second in charge on the ground, sometimes even running some of the smaller, safer burns by myself. Talk about a steep learning curve! This experience was enjoyable, unique, full of learning, memorable, challenging and primarily a bunch of laughs.
Last summer I was back in Cann River and I got the chance to take on more responsibilities and leadership roles in the crew. I am now looking to extend my fire management knowledge through postgraduate study. For those who want experiential learning with industry engagement that leads to a real job and terrific experiences out in the bush, then I suggest that you undertake the Forest Science Major.
See here for more information on the Forest Science Major.
Despite my parents being avid gardeners, my interest in Horticulture didn’t develop until I started growing my own veggies about six years ago. The physical, mental and emotional benefits of being outdoors and working with nature led me to the Associate Degree of Horticulture at Burnley. I graduated in December of last year, and I am now about to commence the Bachelor of Environments at Parkville!
I grew up in an Artistic family, so design was a natural choice for me, and has allowed me to marry my visual communication skills with my desire to contribute to a healthy earth and society. Through my further study I am keen to explore the innovative ways in which design and horticulture can be implemented to create more successful green spaces, both public and private.
Jaz won 3rd place at the 2016 Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS). See here for more information about MIFGS.
To find out about the University's Burnley campus, see here.
James is completing a major in Chemistry alongside a Diploma of Mathematical Science
Whilst attending two youth science forums, NYSF (Perth, 2013) and LIYSF (London, 2013), I was fortunate to hear from several distinguished scientists and see science in action at facilities such as CERN. These experiences inspired me to pursue chemistry, through which we can understand so much of the natural world around us. I find it fascinating that chemistry can explain physical phenomena by considering interactions between the smallest of objects. My interest for statistics was piqued in second year, when I was first able to appreciate the role maths has in forging new knowledge from data. This helps us to draw informed conclusions, which seems particularly relevant in this information epoch.
As science branches ever further outwards, it has become increasingly difficult for scientists to specialise in multiple areas. I hope to be able to communicate science across disciplinary boundaries and to synthesise and distil the information down to the level where policy-makers can use it effectively. Either that, or I'd love to use statistics to help improve conditions in the developing world, by creating and analysing models for complex issues such as food distribution, climate change or disease outbreak. Immediately after I graduate, I want to travel to Peru and tackle the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Certain subjects can completely change the way you view the world. For me, studying Famine (GEOG10001) and Intro to International Politics (INST10001) provided these revelations, opening my mind to radically different perspectives through frameworks such as Sen's Entitlement Theory and Feminism/Gender in Politics. I never anticipated it, but university introduced me to feminism, through which my perception of the world has undoubtedly changed for the better. I hope that I am more aware of privilege and inequality now (with respect to gender, race and other arbitrary classifications), and I have made time to volunteer for a program that aims to tackle educational inequality in Victoria.
James received the 2015 Huntsman Australia Prize and the 2014 Dwight Prize in Chemistry.
For more information on breadth subject options, see here.
I have always had a passion for science and maths, but my inspiration for studying a Bachelor of Science came through the National Youth Science Forum. I was able to get hands-on experience in different science fields, and this inspired me to continue studying science in the hope of being able to use my skills to help others. Also, seeing the difference science and technology can make to the lives of everyone, in so many diverse and interesting ways, inspired me to continue studying in the STEM fields.
Meeting so many new likeminded people in my degree has been a big highlight of first year, as I have made lifelong friendships and formed great bonds with people in my degree who share a passion for biology. I have really enjoyed being able to study Italian as breadth through my Bachelor of Science, as it has allowed me to continue developing my language skills from high school as well as giving me the opportunity to study something outside of my specific degree. Another highlight would be the opportunity to go on exchange. This year, I was accepted to study abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. It is an exciting experience to be able to go overseas and travel while still gaining credit towards my degree.
The Bachelor of Science is a fantastic course that challenges you to work hard and exlore areas of science, maths, technology and engineering all within the same degree. It allows you to keep your options open get hands-on experience through prac subjects, lab visits and internships. I would love to work as a genetic councillor, helping families learn more about their genetics and discuss the likelihood of disease in their children, or work as a researcher on various genetic conditions to find causes, preventions and cures.
In my Undergraduate I decided on a major in Geology but also took subjects in Biology, Zoology and breadth in Anthropology. At present I am completing an Honours in Earth Sciences (Geology) focussing on sedimentary geology. My project looks at determining the origin of particular sediments in an interglacial sequence from the Neoproterozoic.
The thing that I love about science is the problem solving and endless possibilities. It makes me really excited about my work. I had some fabulous science teachers in high school who were really passionate about what they taught, and were successful at transferring their passion and enthusiasm to me, which is why I ended up pursuing it.
Field work is by far a stand out for me, both in my Undergraduate course and my Honours. My geology field trips have always been fun and challenging and have proven to be a great environment in which to bond with my fellow students, demonstrators and professors. Something a little out of the ordinary that I have enjoyed was volunteering to help out on the Melbourne Museum Dinosaur Dig.
Chloe received the 2014 PW Crohn Scholarship.
Find out more about geology field trip subjects here.
Peter’s Chemistry Honours is in inorganic synthesis; looking at magnetic molecules.
I have always been inquisitive, but watching Carl Sagan’s Cosmos really inspired me to want to know more about the world and how things work. I was inspired to study chemistry by the desire to understand how things work at the atomic level, and how to exploit this for the benefit of Earth's inhabitants. I had to complete my VCE again as I was a musician and had not studied science previously.
Studying at the University of Melbourne means a great deal to me, as I get to learn from world class academics doing important research. It has a great reputation for research and development and I get to be surrounded and inspired by deep thinkers. Also, the lush greenery is aesthetically pleasing to be around.
I decided to come back to study after being a drummer in various bands. I have been playing drums for many years and music is a passion of mine. I still play a few gigs around Melbourne town at local pubs and clubs, which is a great creative outlet and a way to reset my mind when study gets to be too much.
Peter received the 2014 Huntsman Australia Prize.
I have always been interested in learning about neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer's disease. Our memories essentially make us who we are - the thought of losing them devastated me and inspired me to want to learn more about the brain. Hopefully, I will be there when researchers discover a cure.
The highlight of my studies so far would be the opportunity to participate in clubs and programs outside of classes. In neuroscience we not only get to learn science content, but also about the brain research that is currently happening. Don't stress too much if you're still not sure what you want to do by the end of high school. The Bachelor of Science provides great flexibility and gives you chance to discover a breadth of all the sciences available.
For a few weeks at the end of 2016, April was a presenter in the Science Delivery Program. Find out more about the program here.
The highlight of my studies so far has been attending the Future Chemist/Biologist International Summer Camp (FCISC) 2016 in China. It has confirmed my interest in biomedical research while giving me the opportunity to make like-minded friends from all over the world. I now want to pursue biomedical research in the multi-disciplinary field of Immunology, Pathogenesis & Vaccine Design to improve the health of children, as I believe good health is an important priority.
The Bachelor of Science is a very flexible course, so use it to your advantage. If you don't know what you want to do, use the flexibility to explore the different subjects before choosing a major. If you know what major you want to do, BSci gives you the ability to precisely and perfectly complement your major.
Find out more about the FCISC here.
Satya Piccioni-Grenna, Psychology major
I grew up loving music, and I have always been interested in how music is perceived, created and responded to. I have been playing the drums alongside studying, and one day when I finally figured out a beat I was practicing I sat my drumsticks down and had this moment where I just thought, "Wow, there is an endless field of research that could be done on this. Think about all the cool neuro-feedback experiments that could be done!" After my BSc I hope to continue studying psychology, perhaps exploring the relationship between human affect and music, or the science of rhythm.
The psychology department is incredible here, and the staff love it when they get students that love what they do too. It's so easy to get wrapped up in a conversation after a lecture with them. Sometimes it's not even entirely relevant to the subject content but you just start to ask yourself all these questions and get on these really convoluted tangents, it's so awesome.
The assignments have never been easy - but that’s what I love about them! I have always felt so accomplished submitting them and proud of my newfound understanding of such complex topics. I have acquired so many skills through my degree and I know that despite having done a degree specifically focusing on psychology, I will be able to apply my skills in every aspect of what I choose to do next.
I stayed at University College during my first semester, which made the transition of moving to Melbourne on my own so much easier for me. I never felt alone, I was always surrounded by the friends I lived with and I can say without a doubt that I forged some incredible memories through college.
One day when I was leaving class I saw this rope tied between trees and people walking on it. I was a little confused as to what they were doing. It turns out it's called 'slacklining,' like an easier version of tight rope walking. This was happening in the middle of campus on South Lawn. I joined in and had a great time. Now we meet up all the time and other curious students join in, it's good fun and such a good break from studying.
Find out more about University College and other residential colleges here.
- Amelia-Grace Boxshall
My advice would be that discovering you’ve changed your mind over a long-held dream career is a blessing, not a failure.BSc – Plant Science
MSc – BioSciences
- Conor Butler
With climate and environment related problems looming particularly large, I was interested in getting a more interdisciplinary understanding of these problems than my social sciences background had given me.Master of Environment
- Matilda O’Connor
To think that the world is around 4.5 billion years old, and we as humans only live to a mere 80, blows my mind.BSc – Geology
MSc – Earth Sciences
Using the MSc to shift careers, Peter is studying an MSc (Computer Science) with an interest in bioinformatics, and has been offered a position in the field before graduating.
For some time, I've been interested in applying my skills to problems that can really help people, particularly by applying the relatively recent fields of machine learning, AI, and big data techniques to problems such as the analysis of the human genome.
Through my studies, I've had the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from domain experts in the field. Their passion, knowledge, and drive has been contagious. I feel that I am part of a community of like-minded people who are always there to help and motivate.
I was recently offered a position at the VLSCI (Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative) while finishing my MSc part time. I'm looking forward to establishing my career in this area and applying my newly acquired skills to interesting and worthwhile problems, by learning from and contributing to the latest research as a part of a motivated and inspiring community of researchers.
I am comparing brown coal in the Lower Rhine Embayment in Germany with La Trobe Valley brown coal in Victoria. Lithotype cycles in the brown coals of La Trobe Valley display well-developed lightening-upwards trends. I will be looking at these depositional successions in the German (Rhenish) brown coals to determine if they follow similar colour grading trends.
As part of my research I am going Germany to complete my fieldwork and take samples to bring back to Australia. I will be working alongside a German geologist (who speaks little English) in one of the brown coal mines just outside of Cologne, in a small medieval town called Bedburg. Although it will be challenging, I cannot wait for this experience; to actually look at the brown coal I have been reading about for so long, to improve my German and to work alongside someone who has been in the industry for many years.
I completed my undergraduate at the University of Melbourne, majoring in geology. Geology is a relatively small faculty at UniMelb, so getting to know the professors/lecturers is a lot easier. Because of this, I could discuss a range of projects with the academic staff and choose something that focused my interests.
Geology is truly a fascinating science; to think that the world is around 4.5 billion years old, and we as humans only live to a mere 80, blows my mind. I also love the outdoors and learning about the processes that have created the beautiful planet we live on. Understanding the earth’s history is important for the development of society both economically and environmentally. Because I am so passionate about earth sciences, I guess any job in geology would be a dream job. Obviously, my heart is in coal, so working alongside others who are passionate about coal would be amazing.
With the world population ever climbing, biotechnology has the ability to directly answer problems related to the demand for food, medicines and many other key global challenges. The Master of Biotechnology uniquely offers a taste of both research and industry, so I jumped at the opportunity to explore either option.
As a part of the industry project in the degree, our group has been tasked with identifying the key influencers of a novel peanut allergy vaccine currently being developed by a relevantly new start-up biotech company. Already within this first month of working on the project, I have met three CEOs, put together a professional charter and have begun sketching the competitive landscape for our product. Over the next few months I’ll get to meet other key people involved in the process of commercialising a biotech product, including the IP lawyers and the lead researchers. With access to some of the finest resources, my team and I will put together a report that the company will use.
I have relished the sense of community within the Master of Biotechnology; I’m happy to say that most faces of our year are now familiar to me. There is a strong focus on teamwork in the coursework, meaning that you do a fair amount of group work within your core subjects. It’s been truly rewarding; I met my closest friends in the course through group assignments.
Find out more about the Master of Biotechnology Industry Project here.
Christopher is specialising in bushfire management in his Master of Forest Ecosystem Sciences.
Having studied environmental issues from a social science and humanities perspective in my undergraduate degree I was determined that I wanted to engage with environmental challenges through a more scientific lens. Forestry appealed to me as an area of study because it would allow me to pursue my new interest in the environmental sciences while at the same time continuing to engage with socio-economic drivers which influence environmental outcomes that I examined throughout my undergraduate degree.
The highlight of my course has been the Bushfire and Climate intensive subject at the Creswick campus. I gained an understanding of the principles of bushfire science and the application of fire spread prediction modelling for bushfire management in Victoria. This subject has played a critical role in determining my career direction going forward. After undertaking the subject I became inspired to undertake a masters research project related to bushfire management. I am now hoping to work for the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning in a bushfire management role.
The International Forestry Student Symposium (IFSS) is an annual event held each year by the International Forestry Students Association (IFSA), and I was awarded $1500 from the Julia Hale Trust to attend the IFSS in Manila and Los Baños in the Philippines during July 2015. The event program involved a lecture program about forestry context in the Philippines, field trips to areas of interest and the IFSA plenary sessions. The event provided me the opportunity to enhance the relationship between IFSA and the University of Melbourne, develop international networks among forestry students and young foresters, gain insights into forestry challenges and practices in many parts of the world and gain an in depth understanding of the forestry context in the Philippines. It has given me a range of new insights into the diversity of the field and the importance of forest science globally in addressing environmental, social and economic challenges.
I gained some insights into the history of deforestation in the Philippines and some of the challenges facing Filipino forest managers today. We were introduced to a broad range of reforestation projects which are being undertaken by governments, international environmental organisations, local communities and private industry in the Philippines. Another valuable education opportunity for me was being able to visit mangrove forests for the first time. We learnt about the delicate ecology of these ecosystems and the important role they play to coastal communities, by reducing the erosive impact of cyclone storm surges. I was able to contribute to a mangrove rehabilitation project by spending an afternoon planting mangrove trees.
Innes is specialising in theoretical particle physics during her MSc (Physics).
When I was very young I was always very excited about understanding how things worked- I would take them apart and look inside, or drop them and see if they bounced. My curiosity extended to all avenues of the sciences, and with further study I found my way to the most fundamental path to understanding- down to the tiniest of constituents.
Studying at the University of Melbourne has meant having the flexibility to find what I enjoy studying the most, and explore all avenues which interest me. It has also meant developing a deeper understanding of my area of study before I chose to pursue it by engaging with excellent academic and research staff at the university. The highlight of my studies has been joining my current research group and being able to participate in the Centre of Excellence in Particle Physics (CoEPP) at the Terascale conference over last summer- where I presented some work I did while employed as a Summer Student.
My dream is to work in academia: I would love to be able to continue learning through research, and to share my knowledge with others via teaching.
Conor is specialising in governance, policy and communication during his Master of Environment.
My concern about how societies are dealing with the risks created by a modernised/globalised world led me to pursue the Master of Environment. With climate and environment related problems looming particularly large, I was interested in getting a more interdisciplinary understanding of these problems than my social sciences background had given me.
The highlight of my studies has been encountering more diverse and critical approaches to discussing environmental problems, and feeling like I can contribute to this. I would like to either pursue work in research/academia, or in policy or consulting to put my skills to good use.
For anyone considering the course, keep an open mind to the quite different takes on environmental issues offered by the various schools of thought one might encounter. Academics and fellow students in the Master of Environment think across very abstract to applied, concrete disciplines, but it's very rewarding to genuinely listen to opinions that may seem discordant with your own.
Receving the Professor John Lovering Graduate Environmental Program Scholarship will allow me to focus time on developing a more worthwhile and significant piece of research over the coming year.
Jeremy is specialising in Tectonogeochemistry during his MSc (Earth Sciences).
I love exploring the natural world and I have always been curious about how things come about. Studying geology has allowed me to learn so many things about the Earth and its history. I have also met so many like-minded people, travelled to unique places, gained heaps of knowledge, and made lifelong friendships.
My dream career would definitely involve travelling to and exploring new places. I have been lucky enough to see some of the finest spectacles Earth has to offer, leading me to appreciate the outdoors on a whole new level. I’d love to research large scale tectonic processes in different places around the world.
The highlight of my studies has been travelling to Timor-Leste for my Masters research. I spent six weeks in very remote areas of the island in order to map its geology and collect samples for further analysis. It was an amazing experience to explore places that no one may have been to before and to discover new things previously unseen.
My advice would be to try not to look too far ahead into the future. Have fun with your course, try some different subjects and meet new people. You might find you have a hidden passion for something. Something I didn’t expect to learn is how to cut a rock down to 30 microns thick in order to look at it under a microscope. When I first learned about the process, it seemed completely surreal to me, but now it is just standard practice.
Amelia-Grace is specialising in systematic mycology during her MSc (BioSciences).
I chose to study here because I initially wanted to be a vet and the University of Melbourne was the only university in the state to offer veterinary studies. However, as time went on I discovered botany- and fell in love. I chose to stay here for my Masters because I felt so comfortable in the environment with all my fellow botanists. I was also fortunate enough to stumble across a wonderful supervisor and project.
I've always loved the natural world, gardening and generally immersing myself in nature. Discovering botany (mostly by luck) was a revelation. I truly enjoy every moment spent learning about the evolution of plants and observing every aspect of them. My dream career would be to unite my fascination with mycology and botany, with fieldwork and opportunities to share my love of science with people from every walk of life. I'm not sure if that job exists, but I'd love to find it!
My advice would be that discovering you’ve changed your mind over a long-held dream career is a blessing, not a failure. Almost everyone I know has a story about how chance helped them into an unexpected but exciting career. I would suggest that anyone considering a Master of Science (BioSciences) try an internship during their undergraduate degree. Internships provide so many opportunities- a taste of a career in an interesting field, meeting a possible supervisor, learning how to put yourself out there, and learning more about yourself.
Some highlights of my studies include:
- Studying Communication for Research Scientists this semester has been an incredible education, but also amazingly fun. I've had a wonderful time learning how to engage the public and general scientists in research- specifically my own. I've learnt so many new techniques and tricks for writing, public speaking and communicating in general. I've even had the opportunity to practice my new communication skills by speaking to volunteers at a local native nursery.
- Last year, I undertook the Science and Technology Internship subject at the Royal Botanic Gardens where I assisted Dr Teresa Lebel and Dr Elizabeth James with their research. I gained experience with the trials and tribulations of working in a molecular lab and fell head over heels in love with the scientific-yet-social atmosphere at the RBG. The only way I could convince myself to leave on my last day was to promise myself that one day I'd return there to work. It was during this internship that I was converted to the world of fungi - and where I met my now supervisor (Dr Lebel). Between the two of us, we hatched a plan for my research project.
- Field Botany was an intensive undergraduate subject based at Falls Creek in January 2015 where myself and other plant-loving students immersed ourselves in non-stop botanising. By day, we hiked around hills, valleys, bogs and plateaus, somehow absorbing the names of hundreds of indigenous and introduced plant species, mapping different vegetation types and conducting mini research projects. By night, we stayed up late identifying plant specimens collected throughout the day, outlining possible vegetation boundaries on aerial photographs and perfecting our puns. That was the second botany subject I'd ever done and it truly cemented my appreciation of field work, plants and my fellow botanists.
Lachlan is specialising in plant systematics, aerobiology and ecogenomics during his MSc (BioSciences).
In undergrad I was fascinated by the intricacy and beauty of nature, particularly in its biology. After taking a few subjects through the botany department as science electives I was inspired to look deeper into the wide world of plants, in particular the way they influence human health.
After my great experience in undergrad I couldn't help but come back and undertake postgraduate study. I was also fortunate enough to find a supervisor who was excited to take me on as a Masters student and has tailored a project that suited me perfectly. I am now studying botany to better understand the nature and composition of airborne pollen and how it affects Melbournians affected by hay fever.
The beauty of the Master of Science (BioSciences) is that you are able to choose a project that interests you, which can incorporate aspects from botany, zoology and genetics. It also fosters a collegial academic environment in which you can share your research with others interested in your field. While I have thoroughly enjoyed the research component thus far, I have more so enjoyed my coursework subjects, which have inspired me to communicate science to a broad audience through social media and demonstrating in first year biology classes. The coursework subjects are catered to equip you for further research or employment.
I undertook an 8-week internship at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, where I studied fungal systematics under Dr Teresa Lebel. Through this project I was able to use genetics to work out species boundaries in a genus of mushroom, and in the process discovered (and named) a few new species. Through this project I gained valuable laboratory and presentation skills. It also helped me to be very sure that I want to pursue a career in academia and science.
Throughout both undergrad and postgrad I have had the opportunity to explore in great depth the world of biology. My time here as not only meant a lot to me academically, but I have made friendships that will be with me forever.
Find out more about internship opportunities here.
- Luis Orozco Aguilar
“I have developed a novel method (less-invasive, fast and reliable) to assess the growth rates and age of urban trees. Using this method I have studied trees within Melbourne's urban forest that are up to 135 years old, healthy and growing at 2.2mm per year; which is pretty wonderful.”PhD specialising in Urban Forests
- Anne Aulsebrook
For my PhD I’m researching how urban street lights affect urban birds, including black swans.PhD specialising in Zoology
- Himali Ratnayake
I love being able to explain the complex phenomena we see in an intricate yet simple way, with the ultimate goal of conserving species for the future.PhD specialising in Zoology
- Alexander Norton
If I can offer any advice it is to figure out what really fascinates you day in, day out, and figure out how to make a career of it.PhD specialising in the global carbon cycle
- Vera Korasidis
I enjoy using palaeontology and sedimentology to reconstruct and understand the Earth’s past environments and climates.BSc(Hons) - Geology
PhD specialising in basin analysis
- W. Tyler Mehler
I became an avid fisherman at a young age (although never a good one) and liked to find and/or catch the different organisms that were associated with each ecosystem, whether it be invertebrates, frogs, and or fish.PhD specialising in aquatic toxicology
Luis Orozco Aguilar
Urban trees are valuable assets for modern cities and they deliver important environmental and social benefits that enhance city liveability. My background is in Forestry and Agroforestry, so working with trees within an urban context now in line with my passion for crops and trees. From my point of view, urban forestry is both a challenging and rewarding research field with a promising future, particularly in Latin America.
During my PhD I have developed a novel method (less-invasive, fast and reliable) to assess the growth rates and age of urban trees. Traditional methods of dendrochronology (dating tree rings) are time-consuming; require specialized equipment and software and, ultimately; the coring points may function as potential entry courts for wood decay fungi. The development of this method is therefore important in the field of arboriculture and will improve measurements of urban tree biomass and growth. Using this method I have studied trees within Melbourne's urban forest that are up to 135 years old, healthy and growing at 2.2mm per year; which is pretty wonderful.
Luck is the intersection between preparation and opportunity, so don't give up, peruse your career, study hard and you will eventually achieve your profession.
Luis has received the Madeleine Selwyn-Smith Memorial Award and a Frank Keenan Scholarship.
I've always been fascinated by how biological processes work. During my undergraduate studies this was reconfirmed as I became passionate about learning how animals respond to changing environments. I love being able to explain the complex phenomena we see in an intricate yet simple way, with the ultimate goal of conserving species for the future.
While going through the list of qualified and highly cited supervisors at the University of Melbourne, the work by my principal supervisor, A/Prof Michael Kearney, struck out and I knew that this was the place for me. The pinnacle of my career so far was getting accepted to pursue my PhD at the University of Melbourne. It was a dream-come-true when I received the acceptance and scholarship letters, and my life thereon changed for the better!
There have been many highlights of my studies, including winning student grants, being able to understand complicated mechanistic models, going to my field sites and observing huge colonies of bats. The most significant highlight for me was to present my work at the annual meeting of the Australia New Zealand Society for Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry in front of pioneers of the field, and winning an award for the best speed talk.
Himali received the Margaret Catto Scholarship.
Having grown up in a rural area I've always been curious about the natural world and how we as a society impact upon it. Following my undergraduate studies I was driven to better understand climate change and other global environmental issues. I wanted to equip myself with the right knowledge so that I might offer solutions to these problems, and this led me to a PhD in Earth Sciences.
The research I've been involved with has opened me up to a whole world. Through independent and collaborative research I've been able to develop a greater understanding of the natural world and the interactions within it, with a focus on how plants interact with the global carbon cycle and climate change. Developing my knowledge in this area and sharing it with others has been a real highlight.
During my PhD I have had multiple opportunities to travel abroad to attend workshops, present at conferences and work with others in my field. This has included trips to Europe and the USA which was an incredible experience. I would highly recommend taking up any opportunity to travel abroad for study.
My dream career would entail a mix of scientific research on global-scale environmental issues and an active involvement in instigating change through communication of the science. If I can offer any advice it is to figure out what really fascinates you day in, day out, and figure out how to make a career of it. More specifically for a PhD in science, I believe that having an inspiring supervisor and helpful group of peers is key.
I have always been fascinated by how things work in nature, and I like to question them until I understand where things came from. For example, what is the law that governs the most fundamental interactions? How does a massive object bend space and time? What happen in the universe with more than 4 dimensions?
Learning mathematics and physics allow me to access explanations for most of the questions one could ask about the universe at the most fundamental level. Of course, a lot of the time this learning process can be difficult and frustrating, but in the end the satisfaction of seeing things fit together logically and beautifully always outweighs the cost.
Studying at the University of Melbourne means I have had an opportunity to learn from some of the best in my chosen fields. Every day is a highlight when you study mathematics and physics, actually science in general.
"By studying the past we can disentangle the events that led to changes in the natural environments and we can predict scenarios in the focus of a climate-changing future." -Michela
I am inspired by the notion that the past holds the key to understand the future. By studying the past we can disentangle the events that led to changes in the natural environments and we can predict scenarios in the focus of a climate-changing future. My research focuses on the reconstruction of past fire activities and related environmental changes across the Southern Hemisphere, especially western Tasmania. I'm now in the second year of my PhD, and so far have managed to publish a paper in a relevant international journal and showcase my findings at an important conference in Chile.
More recently, I received the Allan Gilmour Award from the Faculty of Science and this constitutes a very important step forward to proceed with my research; allowing me to participate in a workshop in Europe. As well as helping me connect with other experts in my field of study, this workshop will allow me to deeply understand the mathematical models applied to fossil pollen records to estimate either regional or local vegetation changes. Since my data collection will be completed by the time of the workshop, I will also be able to use my data to test the models with the supervision of experts. This methodology has not been applied in Australia yet, thus this research will also represent a step forward in Australian palaeoecology. After all the time I've spent in the lab and on the computer, I can say I'm really satisfied now!
Melbourne was suggested to me by researchers where I was working in Italy. Once I had contacted my current supervisor and discussed the research project, I got very interested in it and I decided to apply for a scholarship...and I'm still very happy about this choice! My advice would be that if you want to undertake a successful PhD in Science, you must be passionate and willing to devote your time to this amazing discipline.
Michela received the John and Allan Gilmour Research Award.
For her PhD with the school of Biosciences, Anne is researching the impact of artificial light on black swans in Melbourne’s Albert Park Lake. Until about 150 years ago, when electric lights were introduced, the world had a very predictable light-dark cycle. But now, there are many places in the world where true darkness does not exist anymore.
“This can have a huge impact, as life evolved with a predictable light-dark cycle,” Ms Aulsebrook says. She says that melatonin levels, which are influenced by light, can affect the sleep-wake cycle, metabolism, immune function and cardiovascular systems.
”Artificial light at night can shift the timing of animal behaviour and pose a significant threat to wildlife, but its impacts remain poorly understood. For example, songbirds will start singing earlier and remain active for longer. Animals that are active for longer each day should have less time to sleep.”
The popular use of LED lights, which emit more blue light, as opposed to early electric lights which emitted orange-red light and which is like moonlight, can exacerbate the problem, she says. It isn’t all bad news, though. Ms Aulsebrook says that the colour of LED lights can be changed to filter out the blue area of spectrum “in the way some smart phones have a night shift function”. “We have the potential to make a real change. A lot of environmental impacts make us feel powerless, but with artificial light, anyone using lights can contribute to solving the problem."
Anne was the runner up in 2016 3 Minute Thesis competition. Watch her grand final presentation below:
She is one of 100 students who have been awarded a share in $1 million in funding from the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment.
I completed a Bachelor of Science in 2011, with a double specialisation in pure and applied mathematics. When I was choosing my breadth subjects in first-year, a subject adviser suggested I might like microeconomics. I didn't expect to learn economics at university and I certainly didn't expect it would become a major research focus of my PhD.
In 2013 I finished my Masters of Science (Mathematics and Statistics) specialising in the application of mathematics on economics. During this I began to appreciate how mathematics can be used as a powerful tool to gain insight into problems in a variety of fields and applications.
Studying at the University of Melbourne has given me the opportunity to pursue my research interests in mathematics and economics with excellent supervision and mentoring. It has given me a broad range of experiences, such as living on campus at Janet Clarke Hall, tutoring undergraduates and travelling overseas. I would encourage science students to consider taking mathematics subjects, as they equip you with valuable quantitative, problem-solving and analytical skills.
See here to find out more about Janet Clarke Hall and other residential colleges.
The environment and its biodiversity is our natural capital. However, the way in which we are exploiting natural resources, destroying natural forests, diminishing our wildlife, and warming the global temperature no amount of money could help us in the coming future. We need to protect our environment, ecosystem and associated biodiversity through insightful research for our own well-being.
There is a growing body of literature on increased biodiversity loss; species extinction; habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation due to unsustainable use of natural resources. Anthropogenic climate change has added an extra pressure on the vulnerability of species’ existence. Historically, global biodiversity has been undervalued and its loss has been considered a negligible cost.
My current focus is on assessing the climate change vulnerability of freshwater invertebrates. Climate change is arguably the greatest emerging threat to the functioning of local ecosystems and in turn to global biodiversity. Anthropogenic climate change may disrupt species’ sensitivity (species’ inability to persist in situ), exposure (the extent to which species are exposed to changing environment), and low adaptability. All species must follow the rule of ‘adapt, migrate, or perish’. Freshwater invertebrates are particularly vulnerable to climate change because of the limited dispersability, water temperature and availability, and exposure to various anthropogenic threats. As the apex creature on earth we have ethical reasons to save all of the species within it and leave the earth as a beautiful living place for our future generations.
I am focussing my studies on Geology, specifically sedimentology and palaeontology which includes palynology and plant microfossils. I enjoy using palaeontology and sedimentology to reconstruct and understand the Earth’s past environments and climates.
My interest in science was well established even as a young child. I was always fascinated with the earth and wanting to learn more about why and how the earth and all the natural features on it formed. This passion has remained with me to this day and continues to inspire me as I undertake my PhD.
Some of the highlights of my course so far have included undertaking fieldwork in some stunning locations across Australia including the Flinders Ranges, the Otway Ranges, the Buchan Caves, the Hunter Valley and Cape Liptrap.
Outside of university I enjoy doing classical ballet and other styles of dance including jazz and tap dancing. I also really enjoy hiking and travelling throughout Australia.
Vera has received The John Lovering Prize, The Professor Kernot Research Scholarship (Earth Sciences) with the J.H. Harvey Prize, The Howitt Natural History Scholarship and The Baragwanath Geology Research Travel Scholarship.
My PhD research is in astrophysics. Specifically, I’m using the Hubble Space Telescope to detect the most distant galaxies known. We can see these galaxies as they were over 13 billion years ago – only 500 million years after the Big Bang. Studying these galaxies helps us to determine the properties of galaxies in the early universe, and to understand how these galaxies evolve into the galaxies we see in the nearby universe today.
My parents took me on a trip to the Parkes telescope when I was in year 2 or year 3 of primary school, and I think after that I was determined to be an astronomer so that I could use the telescope! I wore out most of the science picture books that my parents bought me, and was later lucky enough to have excellent science teachers in high school that challenged me.
One of the highlights of my MSc in Physics was the opportunity to travel to Italy for a summer school at the Vatican Observatory. I stayed just outside of Rome for a month, and got to attend lectures by some of the top astrophysicists in the world. I also got to observe on the 10m Keck telescope in Hawaii for my masters research, which was very exciting.
The University of Melbourne has been a really good place for me - I definitely found my undergraduate and masters studies challenging but very rewarding. My research group is extremely supportive, and I feel like I have been encouraged to take all of the opportunities that have come my way. Between beginning my undergraduate degree and now, I have become much more comfortable and confident at giving talks and meeting new people - this is a big part of doing science, since it's such a collaborative field.
I enjoy handcrafts such as sewing and knitting. I also enjoy photography, especially working with analogue film. My dream career is to be an astrophysicist, studying the stars and galaxies in the very early Universe.
Read more about Stephanie’s research here.
In 2015 I received the Dr Alan Kenneth Head Travelling Scholarship, which allowed me to visit The Centre for Cold Matter at Imperial College, London. They are one of the few collaborations proposing to directly detect evidence of new physics beyond the Standard Model (or at least place bounds on existing models). Their results rely on the contextual interpretation of accurate molecular calculations to search for the electric dipole moment of the electron. Such calculations are the primary goal of my PhD project, and it is of vital importance that they reflect the laboratory conditions of the molecule as well as possible. Specifically, the objective of my trip was to gain a more intimate understanding of the apparatus involved, and to improve the dialogue between theoretical and experimental efforts.
The discussions and talks given by group members such as Prof. Ed Hinds, Prof. Ben Sauer and PhD student Isabel Rabey have provided valuable insight into the details of the experiment. They have outlined the need for an updated (multi-configurational) molecular calculation to account for the strong coupling of the YbF molecule’s low-lying ro-vibrational excited states with its (ideally-prepared) ground state.
W. Tyler Mehler
W. Tyler Mehler is investigating the suitability of using fish embryos to assess the toxicity of aquatic environments.
Having grown up in the rural areas of Illinois in the United States, I have always been fond of the outdoors and the environment. It was pretty early on that I realised I wanted to work in this setting. Additionally, I became an avid fisherman at a young age (although never a good one) and liked to find and/or catch the different organisms that were associated with each ecosystem, whether it be invertebrates, frogs, and or fish. It wasn't until college that I realised that I could make a profession out of my interests in the field of aquatic toxicology, to study how we as a society can impact these ecosystems.
In the past my research has utilised species that have been worked in the past (two invertebrate species), but being awarded the Jasper Loftus-Hills Award will allow me to investigate a very promising vertebrate species which not has been worked with in this capacity; fish embryos. The use of native fish embryos in Toxicity Identification Values would be beneficial for many reasons including: higher degree sensitivity, quicker results, use of a vertebrate species, and more appeal to the public.
Recently, I went to China to visit with three institutions to discuss my research as well as possible collaborations. It was a great experience, one in which I learned not only about my field of science, but also about culture and work/life balance. I believe this trip benefited me not only professionally, but also personally.
From my experience, the student/professor relationship can be one that is not as much supervisory (unless it needs to be), but rather one where you work together as colleagues. I think is very valuable to the student and encourages them to be more forward without as much pressure.
I am a Physics PhD student at The University of Melbourne, mainly focusing on gravitational wave data analysis for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) project. This is an international experiment that is developing tools to detect gravitational waves. Funded by the Dr Alan Kenneth Head Travelling Scholarship , between January and July 2016 I spent 6 month visiting LIGO sites, labs and universities located in the United States and Italy. The first 3.5 months were part of the LIGO Visitors Program, which is operated by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. The aim of this program is to describe techniques associated with the field of interferometric gravitational wave detection, and enhance communication between visitors and the global LIGO teams. For the remaining part I visited the University of Michigan and the University of Rome - La Sapienza; collaborating with the groups there for research work on LIGO data analysis.
During my trip I was able to contribute to flagging the continuous wave hardware injections during the first observational run of Advanced LIGO, produce papers and presentations on the continuous gravitational wave searches and worked with data analysis groups to improve our search and application methods.
In March 2016 I was able to attend an LVC meeting (in Pasadena, US), which was the first LVC conference since the detection of gravitational waves, and brought together important and instructive presentations and discussions. The Gravitational Wave Advanced Detector Workshop (GWADW) in Elba, Italy, also helped me establish the knowledge about instruments and the next generation of detectors, which will enhance my research on gravitational waves.
Some of my research results have been published or written up in papers, and some will also be published as part of the LIGO collaboration papers. During the visit and I have a series of presentations to showcase the contribution of data analysis group in the University of Melbourne toward the international LIGO collaboration, explaining the methods developed by the Melbourne group and the astrophysical search results achieved. I have also taken part in some outreaching activities like teaching elementary school students gravitational waves, which is also interesting and valuable experience.
Find out more about Ling Sun's recent research here.
My research seeks to extend our knowledge in the field of metamorphic geology – the study of rocks formed deep in mountain belts – in light of new methods for studying these rocks and advances in understanding metamorphic processes. The aim of the work funded by the John and Allan Gilmour Scholarship was to discover the processes involved in the formation and evolution of rocks collected from Madagascar. These rocks are important in the study of earth processes as they were found to have formed in the final collision of tectonic plates forming the super continent Gondwana around 520 million years ago. Globally, we can piece together areas of rocks formed in similar conditions and time periods to discover past configurations of continents.
After collecting 72 rock samples from the remote areas of southern Madagascar, these were shipped to Germany for analysis at The Johanes Gutenberg University in Mainz. Notable findings include: literally finding the right rocks in the field and identifying high-temperature mineral assemblages including the key assemblage sapphirine + quartz; developing a new way to model domainal rocks when the traditional method did not work and a new temperature and pressure constraint on the area which is lower than previously estimated. I presented my findings at the conference “Granulites and Granulites” in Windhoek, Namibia in August 2015.
I have caught the fieldwork bug, so I would like to explore many more field areas as a postdoctoral researcher. I also enjoy the teaching opportunities I have had within my department, and would like to develop these further and one day lead my own students into the field. A career in Earth Sciences has the potential to be incredibly diverse, and I am excited and motivated for the future.
Catherine has received the John and Allan Gilmour Research Award and The Professor Kernot Research Scholarship (Earth Sciences) with the J.H. Harvey Award.
I think climate change is the most important global challenge of our time and want to contribute to the decision making processes, which is why I decided to pursue my PhD in climate change modelling.
Studying here has given me the chance to move back home to Melbourne and I couldn't be happier in the environment I'm in. The support the university has provided in my course has been great; writing skills (big thanks to Simon Clews and the Melbourne Engagement Lab), computing skills, tips on navigating a PhD, library and research skills.
Joining the Australian-German Climate and Energy College, a vibrant group of PhD students in fields related to climate and energy, has been a highlight of my studies. My first semester of German has also been great.
If you’re thinking about pursuing a PhD, come in and meet with all of us at the college and discuss your interests - both research and broader - to see if we'd be a good fit.
Find out more about the Australian-German Climate and Energy College here.
Jessica’s research looks at chemical communication and mating preferences in orb-weaving spiders. She is interested in studying animal behaviour and particularly how the environment may change or influence these behaviours in surprising ways
She was recently featured on Network Ten’s kids science show Scope, where she presented a story on her research into spider silk in their episode themed ‘Insects and Spiders’.
Watch the full episode below. Jessica's segment is @ 17.07.
- John Allen
In a warmer world with increasing amounts of thermodynamic energy, more water in the atmosphere and changes in the jet streams, you get greater instability and more frequent thunderstorms.PhD specialising in severe thunderstorms
- Patrina Dumaru
My thesis assessed the effectiveness of a community based adaptation (CBA) project in enhancing the capacity of three indigenous Fijian villages to adapt to climate change.MSc - Development
PhD specialising in Geography
- Nicole Darman
I am in charge of building a community of mathematics teachers who want to change the way maths is taught in schools.MSc - Physics
I have always been inquisitive and science became my “fun” subject in high school. A degree in Science was just the next step as I followed my interests.
In my PhD I was focusing on the genetics of the malaria parasite to help understand the biology and ultimately find novel drug targets. The dynamic nature of my research kept me engaged and motivated. The challenges I faced during my PhD made me realise what I am capable of overcoming and achieving. I enjoyed the independence of my studies, but also knowing that someone was always there to help when I needed it!
The Megan Klemm Postgraduate Research Award gave me the financial support required to attend an overseas conference and visit labs in the US, Germany and the Netherlands. These experiences were important steps in achieving my PhD goals and for my future career opportunities.
My master's research project (2012-2013) allowed me to steer my own project and dedicate my energies towards a biological question that, to that point, had no answer. I spent long, sometimes arduous days mist-netting for superb fairy-wrens at Serendip Sanctuary (near Lara, Victoria), but no matter how hard the work it was always preferable to sitting behind a desk. Being at the University of Melbourne surrounded me with researchers who share my enthusiasm for zoology, and were willing to support me during my research—whether with knowledge or friendship.
It was probably always a given that I would study birds. I grew up on an emu farm (in the 1990s, when emu farming was the next big thing). My first David Attenborough nature series was 'The Life of Birds', which enthralled me with the world's stunning birdlife diversity.
I enjoy doing research, but I also love telling people about it. My dream career would probably be some combination of ecologist and science communicator: I think it's crucial that scientists be able to engage with the public, to influence policy and inspire the next generation of Attenboroughs.
If I were a prospective student, I would start chatting with potential supervisors as soon as possible. Most are very approachable, and the more enthusiastic you are the more likely you'll be offered a project. You may feel pressure to jump into any old project, but it's definitely worth waiting for a research topic that you find genuinely interesting: two years is a long time to dedicate to anything. Research isn't for everybody, but if you find a project that you're passionate about then it becomes very rewarding.
Andrew was runner-up in the national final of British Council Australia’s FameLab 2017, for communicating his PhD research at Deakin University. See here for more information about his presentation.
Yu-Chen investigated micro-organisms in coastal soil systems abundant in Australia; aiming to use them to reduce the soil acidity as a remediation strategy.
In my childhood, my parents both had to work during the summer and winter vacations. They would put me in the National Museum of Natural Science on their way to work and pick me up when they finished the work. These experiences inspired me to choose science as my study area.
When I initially joined John Moreau’s Geomicrobiology Lab, I only had a general idea of what I would like to find out about the rules that regulate microorganisms and their environments. Coastal acid sulfate soil systems offer a valuable setting for this research. A few days after I had told my supervisor I would start the project, he put a pop-up mosquito net on my desk and told me: “You will need this on your field trip”. Then he reminded me with a smile: “Be careful around the crocodiles.”
Microorganisms have been proven to change the pH values from a very acidic to a neutral condition within a few years of tidal inundation treatment. However, limited knowledge about microorganisms in coastal acid sulfate soil systems hinders us from evaluating a long-term bioremediation efficacy in tidally inundated coastal acid sulfate soil systems. If we could resolve the relationships between microorganisms and environments in coastal acid sulfate soil systems, a potential land management process would be possible in the future.
Considering the large area that coastal acid sulfate soils occupy in the world (around 12-13 million hectare globally), and the huge economic loss they cause (10 billion legacy in Australia, which occupies 17% of global acid sulfate soils), we believe more research on building a complete biogeochemical model of coastal acid sulfate soil systems will be a worthy investment.
To find out more about Yu-Chen’s PhD, see her research poster - which was awarded 3rd place in the 2015 American Geophysical Union (AGU) student virtual poster competition - here.
I've been motivated to pursue chemistry ever since Year 10 at school; unlocking the secrets of the physical world and using them for creative applications was just as alluring to me then as it is now.
The main highlight of my studies was publishing a detailed review paper finally explaining a reaction which has been widely used yet misunderstood for over 100 years! I also developed an automatic phosphate monitoring system which can run for weeks to months at a time, and runs on alcohol and UV light.
My dream is to be a research and development scientist in an organisation which develops innovative products of global significance, such as those related to energy, modernisation of industrial processes, and environmental waste cleanup.
Doing research requires that you love what you do, as the motivation has to come from yourself, and not your supervisor. It's an exciting way to indulge your curiosity, particularly if you love problem-solving and understanding what truly makes things work, and it's up to you as a communicator to explain to people why your work is valuable and what can be gained from it.
Edward received The Young Scientist Research Prize.
I’m a post-doctoral researcher at Columbia University in New York, having completed my PhD on the impacts of climate change on severe thunderstorms in Australia. I chase storms because when I visualise things, I can see the mathematics in the atmosphere. I’ve been pretty close to tornadoes and I can see the processes going on: the physics of severe thunderstorms.
Until now, people haven’t really understood the likelihood of a severe thunderstorm in Australia and in a warmer world that changes quite a bit. My research proved that the conditions favourable to severe thunderstorms in Australia were remarkably similar to those in America, where more research has been carried out. In fact, conditions are similar worldwide.
In a warmer world with increasing amounts of thermodynamic energy, more water in the atmosphere and changes in the jet streams, you get greater instability and more frequent thunderstorms. If we know storm environments are similar worldwide, we can use modelling in places where there is no — or limited — data like South Africa, China and South America.
Quotes are taken from The Citizen’s MyPhd series. See the rest of the article here.
Long-term biological monitoring data are becoming increasingly available to inform conservation efforts internationally. These data are rich sources of scientific evidence that offer insights into the natural variability of ecosystems and species through time, as well revealing information about the effectiveness of conservation efforts. However, there are many occasions where long-term monitoring data, like other forms of scientific evidence, have been of little use to conservation. Scientists have been criticised for failing to collect long-term monitoring data that is relevant to conservation management, and on the other hand conservation managers have been criticised for not using available scientific data to inform their management decisions.
Through my PhD research I explored barriers to the use of long-term monitoring data in conservation management, and developed a series of practical solutions to improve the use of scientific evidence in conservation management. My research targeted the science–management interface, acknowledging that both scientists and managers play vital roles in the creation and use of scientific evidence in conservation management. Marine protected area (MPA) management was the focus of my research, as there are now many long-term monitoring programs associated with MPAs around the globe available to inform MPA management.
Currently, I am a Postdoctoral Researcher & NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science in the University of Oxford. Through this position I am facilitating the transfer of biodiversity research to address key conceptual and operational challenges associated with corporate biodiversity strategies.
“[Conservation] sounds like a job you want when you’re four years old, not a job you actually have as an adult.” That’s how someone responded when I told them what I do for a living. Of course, I was in no way offended. She was dead right. Conservation biology is exactly what I wanted to do ‘when I grew up’. I used to rescue wildlife from roads. I used to go through my grandfather’s wildlife magazines and write lists of all the threatened species then make ‘fact sheets’ for how to save them. I now do both of these things, every day.
My PhD research was to assess the benefit of building road-crossing structures to improve the connectivity of tree-based mammal populations. My project was focused on squirrel gliders along the Hume Highway and how the five newly built crossing bridges could benefit their habitat connectivity. Squirrel gliders are an endangered species who cannot travel further than 40 metres.
I chose conservation biology because I don’t think that human actions should lead to the whole-sale destruction of the environment. I have been upset by extinction since I learned what it was. I love nature – not because of what it gives us, just because. I believe that human-caused biodiversity loss is unnecessary and unacceptable. I believe we can do better. And I believe science can help us do that.
Read more about Kylie’s work here.
So much has been said about the threats of climate change to the Pacific Islands and there has been a significant growth in aid funding directed towards adaptation projects in the region. When commencing my PhD I was curious to know how exactly these projects enhanced community adaptability to climate change, particularly for indigenous villages in my home country of Fiji.
My thesis assessed the effectiveness of a community based adaptation (CBA) project in enhancing the capacity of three indigenous Fijian villages to adapt to climate change. The research helped to understand how adaptation projects can be better designed and implemented to respond to local needs and values while strengthening the adaptive capacity of local social-cultural systems. The study demonstrated that what differentiates CBA from other adaptation approaches is that it purposefully seeks to produce the kind of outcomes that enable local actors to continuously mobilize collective action, inclusive decision- making and iterative learning towards immediate and long-term climate change adaptation goals.
The highlights were when I was awarded a grant from the UNDP Asia-Pacific Human Development Academic Fellowship, got a paper published in a good journal and when I submitted my thesis. Of course, looking back, there are things I would have done differently but I feel like I did my best with the support, resources and time available to me and I’m satisfied with the effort I put in.
I am now the Team Leader of the European Union Global Climate Change Alliance (EUGCCA) Project with the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PACE-SD) at the University of the South Pacific (USP). The project aims to strengthen the capacity of 15 Pacific countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change, through formal and informal training, practical community focused adaptation projects, and applied research. I couldn’t have asked for a more appropriate job and was so excited when I got the job offer!
I have always been interested in maths and physics, especially what goes on in space. This is what led me to pursue a Masters in Physics and focus my research on the detection of gravitational waves. I really enjoyed how well-rounded my experience was. Not only did I get to study in a field that excites me, but I also got to experience so much more in terms of social activities, teaching, outreach and event planning which has helped me land my dream job!
Studying at the University of Melbourne was a huge achievement for me. People from my home town aren't known for going off to university to study high level topics like astrophysics, so it was nice to be with like-minded people who were also approachable and fun. I also felt like I was part of a community of people that I can still call upon to this day for advice, employment opportunities or just to catch up.
I am currently the Director of Engagement at a maths education company called Maths Pathway. I am in charge of building a community of mathematics teachers who want to change the way maths is taught in schools. As part of this, I schedule and organise all events, run the social media campaigns, partake in marketing projects and help structure the administration within the company.
Coming from a Commerce and Economics background, the diversity in the Masters of Environment was exactly what I needed to form an extremely well-rounded knowledge base for a future career. I focused on relating environment and sustainability to business, particularly in the social enterprise area.
I was able to take subjects in architecture, science, horticulture and agriculture among others, all of which collectively helped me form the right mindset to go into the world and create change holistically. I now work full time in the innovation lab at the City of Melbourne where I look at new, innovative ways to solve not only environmental but all sorts of problems at the local government level.
Jessie specialised in Discrete Mathematics and Operations Research during her Mathematics and Statistics major.
I fell in love with the mathematics course early on in my degree and it inspired me to go in that direction. The highlight of my studies would be my Techniques in Operations Research subject. It was easily my most satisfying and fulfilling subject, and due to the differing types of assessments we did. When a guest speaker - Christina Burt - came in to talk about mathematical applications to real world scenarios in the mining industry, I realised that this was my passion and it led me to the career path that I've started now.
I spent the 100 hours of my science internship learning about how Coles uses different programs and forecasting techniques to optimise the flow of product from Supplier to DC (Warehouse) to Store, to try and ensure that there is the perfect amount of stock in store at all times. It was fascinating, and really eye opening to the complexity of supermarkets that you don't ever think about when grocery shopping and I loved my time there. Whilst I was there, one of the team members within my supervisor's team moved departments and a position became available. I was encouraged by my supervisor and his manager to apply for the role. Though I was extremely under-qualified - they were asking for four years industry experience in Supply Chain and with the particular programs at a minimum - but they thought it would be wonderful interview experience for me at the very least.
I did make it through to the interview stage! It was difficult preparing for exams and a big interview at the same time, but I went into the interview very relaxed because in my mind, I knew that it was impossible for me to get the job. But it went really really well, and two days before the final exam of my degree, I received a call from Coles to say that they'd love to offer me a full-time permanent role in the team immediately after I finished my degree. So now, I work as a full time Systems Analyst in the Supply Chain Operations department for Coles!
The Bachelor of Science gave me a lot of room 'to move' and allowed me to explore different majors - mathematics and engineering - before specialising without having to extend my course by too much. I also got to enjoy learning about the Arts - music and the film industry in particular - by doing breadth subjects. Studying at Melbourne has given me a really well-rounded education and I am so lucky and grateful to have been able to study there. I am so grateful that the Science Internship subject gave me the opportunity to have an internship during my degree, because certainly if I hadn't, I wouldn't have walked straight into a job after uni!
Scott Gigante is a Bachelor of Science graduate. He majored in Pure Mathematics and also studied Chinese, as part of a Concurrent Diploma in Languages. In the second last year of his degree he travelled to China on exchange, as part of the New Colombo Plan Scholarship.
“The New Colombo Plan Scholarship was arguably the most incredible part of my degree. I learned all sorts of things outside of the curriculum. I learnt how to engage in a workforce that was not only in an area that I hadn’t worked before, but also a culture I didn’t know. I met students from other countries studying similar things to me and local students studying different things to me. This tight knit community at the university gave me an excellent feeling of community spirit. It was an amazing experience.”
Find out more about Scott’s story in this video.
- Lochlan Brick
I think that everybody should try and go on exchange at some point during their degree - although it can be a bit daunting, it is a fantastic opportunity to explore new cities on the other side of the world.BSc majoring in Computing and Software Systems
Diploma in Mathematical Sciences
- Amy Cox
During my internship I got some great, first-hand insight into the not-for-profit research industry, especially around water and environmental issues. I would absolutely recommend doing an internship.Master of Environment
My highlight of residing at International House would have to be doing O week as a fresher. I do not think there will another time in my life that will be as fun as O week. It was 8 days of just pure fun. I made so many great friends and incredible memories. It was also the first time I had lived out of home and O week was great to help me settle in and make IH a second home. All in all it was just a great week!
One thing I didn’t expect is just how close I would become with the people I have met. I knew I was going to make friends but I didn’t know how close I would become to them. I now consider a lot of the people I have met at International House not just friends, but family. Coming from country Victoria, there were not a lot of opportunities for me to interact with different cultures, so I saw IH as a great opportunity to do this while also being able to make life-long friends.
At International House I have had the chance to undertake leadership roles such as being a member of the Student Club and being an O week leader. Through these roles I have gained valuable leadership experience, and I now feel extremely confident leading groups and talking in front of large crowds.
If you're interested in finding out more about International House and other residential colleges, visit this site.
I've met lots of great people during my time at the University of Melbourne and have tried (successfully, I think) to take advantage of the countless different opportunities offered by the university. Although it can seem like a big place, I've enjoyed making friends in other faculties and departments, by not being locked in to a particular major or subject area from the start of my degree.
I've been able to tutor university subjects, reside in one of the colleges, complete research projects over the holidays, play tennis for the university and even study overseas on exchange, and have really enjoyed all of it!
I went on exchange to King's College for one semester at the start of 2016. It was a bit daunting at first, but the chance to take subjects that aren't available back home was really enjoyable. I think that everybody should try and go on exchange at some point during their degree - although it can be a bit daunting, it is a fantastic opportunity to explore new cities on the other side of the world and be exposed to different ways of learning and studying! Studying in London has been great as it is such an enormous city that there are always things to do, plus it is a great spot from which to explore Europe!
I am interning at Palantir Technologies in New York City immediately after I finish my degree, but from there I will either attempt to get a full time job in the software industry or return to university to do more study. Ideally, I would love to own and run my own technology or software company. I think it would be fantastic to combine software development with the chance to learn how to run a business, and hopefully have an impact on the world.
For more information on exchange opportunities, see here.
For more information on residential colleges, see here.
For information on sports, clubs and societies at UoM, see here.
For information on internships, see here.
When deciding where to study, I learnt that I could continue to study a second language through the Breadth component of the Melbourne degree, and complete a Diploma in Languages as well as a BSc. Asides from the course, I also fell in love with the campus: its atmosphere and centrality - moving from Bendigo in Regional Victoria, this was very important. I remain very grateful for the ability to swap subjects and segue between disciplines.
I was extremely fortunate to complete a semester of my BSc abroad on exchange at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. It was a wildly different experience of tertiary teaching, with just 20 students in my programme and a novel range of subjects from Practical Neurophysiology to Golden Age Spanish Literature. It was the University's 600th anniversary at the time, and tutorials were held between ruins of the Reformation the world's first golf course.
Half of the seaside town's 16,000 residents were students, 83% of whom were international students from North America, Europe and the Middle East - a vastly different composition from the student background at Melbourne. As such, it was an exciting melting pot of people and cultures, where everybody left home and lived on campus together.
If you're interested in finding out more about going on exchange, visit this site.
Amy CoxAmy completed an internship with International Water Management Institute – Myanmar Office, as a part of her Master of Environment.
During my time in Myanmar I worked on a project called the Myanmar Healthy Rivers Initiative (MHRI). I had the opportunity to work on a number of different facets of this large, 2-year project which involved not only IWMI but a number of other partner organisations. I was lucky enough to be able to go on field work to two of the villages involved in the project (there are six in total). I helped to organise and document the training about community based river health monitoring for the field visits and spoke with the communities (with the aid of a translator) about water quality issues and how these have changed over time.
During my internship I got some great, first-hand insight into the not-for-profit research industry, especially around water and environmental issues. Understanding how these international organisations operate, both individually and in partnerships, is fascinating. There is a huge amount of collaboration, which was great to be involved in and meant I met people from a wide number of organisations, not just IWMI. It was also very interesting to experience how international aid funding is distributed - in this way submitting proposals for funding is not dissimilar to the consulting world which I have experience in in Australia.
This experience has definitely impacted my future career pathway and goals. I now think that for me, the most fulfilling and meaningful way to be involved in international development projects, is to be a technical specialist (rather than a more managerial role) in a certain area. I hope to work in Australia for a few years and get some experience in the environmental/ sustainability sector, and then apply my skills in developing countries.
I would absolutely recommend doing an internship - getting hand on experience in the field you’re interested in is invaluable. Do plenty of research on the organisation you would like to intern for, as it pays to be well informed about their culture and strategy. Finally, have faith in yourself and your skills, you probably know more than you think you do, and if you are confident people will listen to your opinions and take them on board!
For information on internship opportunities, see here.
The University of Melbourne encourages students to gain a well-rounded bank of knowledge from various different faculties and to participate in various clubs, societies and opportunities offered by the university. These opportunities are exactly what have made my university experience incredible.
All of my passions are available here, including learning about philosophical theories, acting in the performing arts, singing as a soprano in a choir, and getting involved in sports and understanding the world around sports, fitness and health.
The University of Melbourne offered has allowed me to delve into a world of knowledge that not only suits my passions, but has also given me plenty of opportunities to take up new interests and passions, further developing my growth of knowledge and academic skills.
For information on sports, clubs and societies at UoM, see here.
Moving interstate to attend university was already a big change, so living at college gave me an instant sense of stability and a community to be part of and contribute to. Other benefits include the excellent support services and the activities in a range of areas, such a sports, arts, and social.
The highlight of my college experience has been representing the Whitley students as the female sports representative on the student club executive in my second year, and working as a senior student in pastoral care in third year. Also, winning back-to-back netball premierships was pretty exciting!
Although I expected to have tutorials and knew that there was some level of pastoral care available, I hadn’t expected the level and extent that staff, tutors, and senior students would go to in order to help someone, whether in academic or other areas. Being able to be involved in providing this support to others has been an important part of my college experience.
If you’re thinking about college definitely go for it – living at college is a fantastic experience! Talk to people, do some research, and take a tour – all the colleges are great but they’re also all unique. Take some time to look around and find the one that is the best fit for you.
If you're interested in finding out more about residential colleges, visit this site.
After viewing the International House website and visiting International house in person last year I knew it was the place for me. I truly got a sense of the college’s drive to appreciate and thrive through diversity, by providing a platform for cross-culturalism between students of many countries. I knew I wanted to be in an environment in which I could learn about other cultures and thus stimulate my own personal growth. I also loved the focus International House placed on college spirit as I knew I wanted to be an active member in events, sports, drama and other aspects of college life.
O-Week stands out as one of my favourite experiences because it was a fun-filled 10 days of activities while meeting new friends from around the globe. I am so grateful to be a part of the Cultural Committee, which creates events that bring people of all different backgrounds together. Holi and Songkran, to name a couple, were extremely fun to organise and participate in as they taught me about the interesting traditions and beliefs of other nations and religions.
International House has acted as a platform for me to increase my confidence in public speaking and provided opportunities for leadership. By reaching out and taking these leadership responsibilities in committees and helping out at events, I’ve developed my skills of organisation and planning in events that I haven’t had the opportunity to participate in during high school. I’ve also been opened to a whole new world of cultural engagement by becoming friends with people from around the globe and learning about their background and traditions.
If you're interested in finding out more about International House and other residential colleges, visit this site.
Wern Cher Khor
Wern completed her Doctor of Physiotherapy in 2016 after majoring in Physiology during her BSc.
I count myself incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to complete two degrees at the University of Melbourne.
In terms of student life, unimelb has a thriving student community and student union. From weekly BBQs and bands, free breakfasts and yoga lessons, to welfare support and the 'free pantry' open to students in need, it truly feels like unimelb has a student union that strives to look out for their fellow students.
I have always had a keen interest in physiology, anatomy and biomechanics. I knew I wanted to work closely with people as opposed to working solo in a lab. After positive personal experiences with physiotherapists after a dance injury, I knew that Physiotherapy would be a great way for me to pursue a career that correlated with my interests and ambitions.
The highlights of my undergraduate studies were the breadth subjects in Gender Studies that I took, as well as my involvement with the UMSU Queer Department and Wom*ns Department. They broadened my horizons and gave me a deeper understanding on the psycho-social aspects of person-hood that will undoubtedly be important in my future as a healthcare practitioner.
Find out more about UMSU clubs and societies here.