BSc Hons. (Chemistry)
I always enjoyed science, right from a very early age and chemistry and astronomy were my favourite areas.
I studied a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and then my PhD all in the School of Chemistry at UNSW. My PhD thesis was entitled, “The chemistry of (N) n P-donor ligands: towards co-operative multimetallic reactivity”.
I have very fond memories of my time at the School of Chemistry. One of my favourite memories would have to be finally winning, after many attempts, the inter-department touch football competition as captain of the Students of Chemistry Society team.
I worked as a Postdoctoral fellow then as a Research Scientist at a spin-out company in Oxford on Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs). Four years later, when I returned to Australia, we began to develop a research activity here on Organic Photovoltaics (OPVs). The chemistry and device science of OLEDs is very similar to OPVs so I gradually moved into it as the group expanded over the years.
I am currently working on developing technologies to enable the production of low-cost, printable, organic solar cells. The current silicon based solar cells are expensive and not as environmentally friendly. Silicon cells are expensive because the manufacturing process involves high temperature wafer formation and the material is required to be very pure. Currently in Australia, after subsidies, a 3kW system of 16 panels costs about $10,000.
I definitely think mass production of the low cost, printable organic solar cells is possible in Australia. We are trying to work with the printing industry here to provide them with alternative products – solar cells that they can manufacture. A large-scale, high-resolution display industry in Australia is probably unlikely, but solar cells are simple devices (in comparison).
We see the roadmap for the technology as being small, portable devices and packaging as the first step; off-grid, building integrated systems such as windows as the second step and then grid-connected rooftop systems.
Diploma in Innovation Management
Today, I brought 6 million lives into this world... science really does miracles! Science opens doors to many different or even unrelated fields. What I gained from uni wasn't just being able to say deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) 10 times faster, forwards and backwards; I learned to see and analyse things in greater detail, and tackle problems with an empirical approach.
I didn't attend uni for a piece of paper so that I can work 9-5 for the rest of my life. Uni is about having a life, and learning how to live. I was accepted by UNSW and wanted to study biotechnology after changing from my initial choice of Engineering. I liked the idea of practical applications from science, and biotechnology is best known for this.
What attracted me to UNSW over other universities was that not only does it gather the smartest academics from around the world; it is also home to elites in many non-academic fields. UNSW has produced some of the best hip hop dance crews in Sydney, is home for the biggest and most active circus group in NSW (Circusoc) and has a club for almost every possible culture - just to name a few.
For a while I was worried I was going to spend my whole life stuck in a lab, perhaps with a mutated 7-legged test subject as my companion, until someone told me that scientists can become involved in business (a great deal easier than vice-versa). I was introduced to the Entrepreneurs in Science Unit and their Diploma in Innovation Management, which caters to aspiring science students who want much more in life than just test subject companions. Technology alone can only be worth so much, but with commercialisation, science becomes business; business that only scientists can do.
Three years after graduation, I'm an operations manager for an aquaculture establishment over-seeing 39 staff and 8 technical experts, producing 120 million prawn fries and generating nearly $50 million worth of prawns per year. UNSW gave me more than just a degree; it gave me a great start in life. Why settle for less when you can have the BEST!!
Nanotechnology (BSc Hons)
I am currently working for Davies Collison Cave Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys, who specialise in advising and securing a broad, diverse range of intellectual property sources. As a trainee attorney within the Engineering/Science team, I am involved in patent prosecution, patent drafting and related opinion matters.
I chose UNSW for my studies because it had a reputation for being at the forefront of scientific education. At the time of my studies, it was the only university that offered a Bachelor of Science degree in Nanotechnology, which differentiated me from other prospective employees after graduation.
My UNSW degree has equipped me with a sound understanding of chemistry, physics, biochemistry, biophysics and material science. For my honours year, I studied the attachment of biomolecules to medical device surfaces.
I realised early on that since Nanotechnology can not be confined to a specific field of science there was a greater range of available career options. As the applications of Nanotechnology are rapidly expanding, there are also a range of opportunities outside the sphere of research, for example in providing support and advice to companies who are seeking to develop, commercialise or invest in nanotechnology products.
UNSW has provided me with a variety of valuable opportunities throughout my degree and career. UNSW helped arrange my work experience with Qantas Networking when I was studying as an undergraduate student and provided me with support when seeking and applying for positions in the aviation industry. The knowledge and experience I gained from studying Aviation Management at UNSW has placed in me in the position I occupy today.
Thanks to the support from academics and my work experience as a Connectivity Analyst, I now work as an Operations Research Analyst at Sydney Airport. As a Research Analyst I am responsible for maximising the efficient use of existing resources and using modelling techniques to validate capacity forecasts. I made some really close friends when studying Science at UNSW. I am now back at UNSW undertaking a Masters in Science and Technology in Aviation Management.
My new job is as a Research Fellow with the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. Previously, I worked as a Forensic Psychologist within the NSW Department of Corrective Services. I was responsible for a team of forensic psychologists who managed the treatment program for custodial sex offenders.
I chose UNSW because of its very strong reputation in Science and specifically Psychology. One of the best aspects of my time at UNSW was the collegial atmosphere on campus and the support I received from both peers and friends I made during my time as a student.
My UNSW Psychology degree gave me a very firm grounding in the fundamentals of psychology theory. It also provided me with exposure to many of the specific areas within psychology (the discipline of psychology is extremely broad!) and therefore helped me make informed decisions about the areas of psychology in which I wanted to specialise.
I think my UNSW degree offers the edge over other psychology degrees because of its focus on experimental and research aspects of psychology. As both a researcher and as a clinician, I have benefited greatly from the 'scientist-practitioner' perspective on the study of human cognition and behaviour.
My UNSW qualification has allowed me flexibility in my career choices - I have worked in a range of areas including mental health, policing, the courts, gaols, and private practice. I have also been able to pursue a career in research (in particular via the completion of a PhD at UNSW) in addition to my career as a clinician which has been facilitated by the completion of a Forensic Masters (UNSW) degree.
Science (Honours in Physics)
I work as a Radiation Safety Officer - Process, at BHP Billiton's Olympic Dam mine in South Australia. I work on projects based around improving our radiation monitoring methods. I have always wanted to work in science (in particular physics) and undertaking a Science degree was the obvious way to go. Initially I was keen to go into an academic career, however all that changed when I was offered my current job which has put me on course to becoming a professional health physicist.
I chose UNSW because the School of Physics there had a great research reputation. One of the best aspects of studying at UNSW was that the academic staff were always approachable and willing to help.
UNSW allowed me to specialise in the field in which I am interested while also giving me the freedom to experience other areas of study in order to diversify my skill set. This diversity has given me an advantage in the wider workplace - communication skills, the ability to translate technical information into everyday language, teamwork and time management, all of which I use frequently in my role.
Advanced Science (Chemistry)
Diploma in Innovation Management
I work for Bell Potter as a Research Analyst covering the Australian Stock Exchange-listed Life Science industry. I've also worked for eG Capital, a life science investment bank. I was always aware that UNSW had the best reputation, particularly for science. At school I remember UNSW were always key sponsors in the maths and science competitions. When studying for my degree I found some of the first year courses demanding as I was studying the 'generic' mathematics, physics and chemistry courses. Once first year was completed I began to see a clearer connection between what I was learning and my potential careers goals.
The Diploma in Innovation Management that I undertook also really added to my sense of what I wanted to do with my science degree as I was required to complete work experience in combined science, commercialisation and business areas.
My science degree offered me so many skills - problem solving and decision making; written and verbal communication skills; time management; and the ability to summarise and condense complex data into information that a non-scientific audience can understand. Overall my degree and diploma introduced me to a professional network of individuals and peers in excellent career areas.
Advanced Science (Chemistry) / Arts (Public Policy)
Diploma in Innovation Management
My professional career has involved a number of roles, ranging from journalist and editor for the NSW Independent Education Union, freelance journalist for Medical Observer; and freelance editor, writer and proof reader for various magazines including COSMOS. My favourite subjects at school were chemistry and English, so when I was considering my options for university I sought one where I could combine my diverse interests.
UNSW offered me the widest range of subjects, and studying for a combined Science/Arts degree seemed the most obvious choice. Throughout my degree I continued to study a rich variety of subjects from Science and Arts. A major advantage of studying at UNSW was the way in which students are taught by mentorship. This provides students with opportunities to really get to know the academics and tutors. This mentorship also provided great support when I set about finding suitable employment at the end of my degree.
The skills I learned while studying at UNSW have been invaluable assets to my professional roles. These include practical skills, research skills, and library skills. In addition, learning to work with a wide range of people from all walks of life has been imperative.
Diploma in Innovation Management
I am currently working as a Territory Representative with Abbott Diabetes Care - a division of Abbott Laboratories, Australasia. I knew quite early on that I wanted to work in the health & medical industries and that it was important to have studied science at tertiary level to work in these industries. A big draw card for studying Science at UNSW was that I knew it was a prestigious university - well known in Australia and internationally. Also, UNSW Science had strong links with industry bodies and other government and non-government bodies which would ensure that my studies were relevant to employers.
A great benefit about studying Science at UNSW was the friendships I made with other students as well as with my tutors and lecturers. The facilities at UNSW were really appealing; particularly the library for exam cramming and thesis research, and the grounds provided a balance between study and social life. Being close to the beach and the city made my social life a ball.
UNSW Science offered the Innovation Management Diploma through the Entrepreneurs in Science Unit which gave me that extra edge over others during my search for employment. It has always initiated conversation and a degree of interest with prospective employers, allowing me to demonstrate that not only do I have great undergraduate science qualifications but I also have the added bonus of understanding the commercial aspects of science research.
Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology)
Bachelor of Arts (Environmental Studies)
I am currently working for a sustainability advisory firm called Net Balance as a Project Consultant. I was particularly drawn to Net Balance as it strives to play a role in every organisation's sustainability journey extending to the implementation of a not-for-profit think tank. I am primarily part of the climate change team, working on greenhouse gas and energy related projects. However, being a graduate, I also work across the various business lines.
After completing my International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma overseas, I chose to come to UNSW because of its high reputation as one of the leading universities in Australia and the fact that it offered a range of flexible double degrees.
My combined degree from UNSW allowed me to undertake a wide range of courses, sparking my interest in a broad range of areas and equipping me with the necessary transferrable skills to thrive in the workforce.
During my time at UNSW, I was involved in various extracurricular activities including volunteering through the UNSW Service Society and as a Science Peer Mentor.
Working as a UNSW Science Student Ambassador was an incredible experience, being given the opportunity to share my passion for learning and my student experiences with prospective undergraduate students and their parents at various events.
One of the highlights of my university experience was when I participated in Univative, an inter-university business challenge competition that helped me gain valuable experience working in a corporate environment.
Graduating from UNSW with a highly-regarded combined degree empowers me to tackle emerging contemporary issues where interdisciplinary knowledge and understanding play a significant role. My involvement in volunteer work and extracurricular activities during university has personally driven and motivated me to become a well-rounded individual and use my skills to contribute to society, which is my aim with my professional role.
PhD Student, Garvan Institute of Medical Research
Science has always been my passion and I knew from my first high school biology class that I wanted to study science at university. There were so many options to choose from, but when I visited UNSW on Open Day, I knew that this was where I wanted to be. I chose to do a Bachelor of Science because it gave me the flexibility to study the broad range of areas I was interested in.
At first I began with a major in chemistry but later found my interests lay in the medical sciences; viruses, bacteria, cancer and how the human body fights disease. I chose to do a minor in genetics because it fit in so well with my major and it has helped me to link my learning in a range of scientific fields.
Seems only yesterday I was travelling around campus, taking notes in lectures, running DNA gels and streaking bacterial plates in labs, sleeping on library couches and sipping coffee on lawns.
My days are now spent purely in a laboratory research role, as I am halfway through my PhD in neurodegenerative disease at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. My research focuses on Parkinson’s Disease and in particular the link between alpha Synuclein, a protein of unknown function in the disease, and mitochondrial dysfunction.
I am really enjoying the skills and techniques I am acquiring and the small discoveries made on a daily basis that all contribute to the knowledge base that will eventually lead to the development of potentially life-saving treatments. I have spoken at conferences, published a paper and collaborate with scientists from other institutes and universities around the world. I will also have the opportunity to present at a conference in the USA next year.
My days spent at UNSW really did prepare me for my current study. My degree provided me with the framework to be an enthusiastic, analytical, self-productive scientist and I will always have great memories of my time there.
Bachelor of Science, Honours, (Biotechnology)
Coming out of high school I had varied interests and was uncertain about what degree would suit me best. But it was comforting that my choice of tertiary institution was an easy one. UNSW is a highly reputable organisation with world class facilities, and an extremely high standard of lecturers, academics and staff. Best of all, from the moment I set foot on campus, I felt a sense of community, rich in history and culture.
Being interested in engineering and science, I chose a degree in Chemical Engineering. I enjoyed engineering but I wanted to delve further into the sciences I did not have much exposure to at school. I was surprised - both at how easy it was to change degrees at UNSW, and at the amount of support I received during that period of uncertainty in my studies.
The main aspects I enjoyed of my engineering degree (particularly laboratory work) were encapsulated in my science degree, and I felt that it was a much better fit for me.
As I progressed through my degree, I realised that my passion lied in Biotechnology. I decided to pursue an Honours year to get a sense of what it would be like to do research in the real world. I had the option to complete my Honours year externally at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, researching the cause of Parkinson's Disease on a cellular level. It was an amazing experience and I got to advance my skills in laboratory techniques, work for a world class institution, and get to see the bigger picture of my research in the contexts of previous projects that informed my study, and of research that followed and depended upon my own.
During my time at UNSW, I found my lecturers and lab demonstrators to be highly knowledgeable, helpful, inspiring and passionate. I learned some amazing things. I worked as a UNSW Science student ambassador and shared my passion for my degree with future students and their parents at various events.
I also chose to get involved in the non-academic part of University. I was involved in various volunteering programs and activities through the student union body ARC and learned invaluable skills in team work and communication, gaining some lifelong friends along the way. I got to work on-campus and built up skills in event management, promotions and looking after labs for first and second year science and medicine students.
I graduated feeling that I had gained a strong skill set, both from my degree and from my involvement in university life, and I felt confident that I was ready to put my skill set to good use in the future.
I currently work at a major life insurance company looking after people struggling from the after effects of major trauma and depression and I'm enjoying using the multitude of skills I have gained at UNSW to succeed in this role. I am looking forward to finding out where else life take will take me!
B. Optom (Hons) / B. Sci
Now: Graduate Optometrist at Specsavers
Working as an optometrist has made me realise the stable framework that studying science at UNSW provided me. It is well recognised that UNSW contributes strongly to advances in research. My lecturers gave me a good understanding of both the latest scientific concepts and the research process. In addition to this we were provided with many hours of practical experience in the UNSW Optometry Clinic allowing realistic expectations of my future career.
As an optometrist your patients expect you to have the clinical skills necessary for a thorough and accurate examination of your vision and ocular health. They rely on you to provide them with advice gathered from evidence-based sources and to communicate this clearly. All of which were strongly focussed on in the UNSW optometry degree. I began working for a large international company with a strong graduate program that provides support and opportunities for further development. My favourite thing about being an optometrist is the range of people I meet, every patient has their own story to tell.
I have left UNSW proud of my education and achievements. I have many fond memories of the experiences I had and the people I met, which I believe influenced my schooling significantly. I strongly recommend UNSW to anyone looking for a high-quality well-rounded tertiary experience.
B Engineering (Materials Science and Engineering)/Master of Biomedical Engineering
To put it simply, I loved the past five years I spent at UNSW. Academically, the classes were always interesting and challenging, and the lecturers and academic staff were friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. There were also lots of opportunities to get involved in research, and I am really grateful for the experiences my two summer research scholarships gave me. Socially, there were endless opportunities to get involved in student societies and volunteer opportunities, which are all great places to meet people from other degrees and have a great time! I also highly recommend international student exchange – it remains to be one of the best experiences of my life and one of the best decisions I ever made!
I currently work as an analyst at the Reserve Bank of Australia. In my job, I receive data and research information on currency and banknote production and distribution from different areas of expertise every day. My work, in short, involves analysing the data and collating the research information together. Most of the time, the assembled information will be passed onto senior management for review. Sometimes, I will also be making recommendations on what we could do with the information. I am also working on multiple projects concurrently and, as such, I am definitely getting involved in some project management work. Specifically, I am learning how to reassess and reprioritise tasks on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis, as well as learning how to people manage and time manage effectively.
UNSW has done an amazing job in preparing me for my current job. The knowledge I gained in classes helps me to better understand the background of my work. More significantly, the skills I developed at UNSW have been invaluable. The critical reasoning skills I developed through both research and classes have given me a solid framework for systematically analysing and solving problems in my role as an analyst. Thesis, research and assignments have all equipped me with good groundwork for project management and teamwork.
Overall, I am really grateful for the five years I spent at UNSW and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to study a Science degree!