Meet our Alumni

Thays Costa, Bachelor Data Science and Decisions

Jason Chan, Environmental Planner at WSP

Bachelor of Science and Business
Bachelor of Science (Honours)

Jason Chan Alumni

Jason Chan developed a unique set of hybrid skills through a combined degree at UNSW. The skills he acquired through his undergraduate degree have enabled him to make a tangible environmental impact through his work in environmental planning for an engineering firm.

While studying ecology at UNSW he was able to work with world-class scientists saving species that were under threat.

We spoke to Jason about where his degree has taken to him and why he believes you should follow your passion in life.

What do you enjoy most about your current role?

Working in the environmental planning team for an engineering firm means I’m always doing something good for society whether it’s improving the quality of life for the community or improving the environmental conditions. My role allows me to find ways to maximise environmental outcomes or minimise the environmental risks for different infrastructure projects. I get a lot of daily satisfaction from the projects I’m involved in.

Why did you choose to study a Science degree at UNSW?

It was the industry collaborations UNSW had that first attracted my attention. UNSW has a strong focus on industry collaborations with plenty of opportunities for students to network and develop essential skills for their career. UNSW is also the only place I could study a combined degree in science and business. The combined nature of this degree meant I could major in ecology while developing business management and marketing skills. I chose to study ecology due to the challenges from climate change and urbanisation putting the Australian environment at huge risk. During my degree I got to work with world-class scientists to help save some of the most threatened species in Australia.

What’s the most valuable thing you took away from your time at UNSW?

During my study, I stayed at Warrane College, a residential college on campus. The whole college experience was the most valuable thing I took away from my time at UNSW, whether it’s the friendships I’ve made or attending different college events. It all helped me grow and shaped who I am as a person. How has the hands-on experience you received at

How has the hands-on experience you received at UNSW helped in your current role?

I did a course on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in my third year. I was able to apply everything I’d learned in that course to my current role today, from report writing skills to navigating through complex environmental legislation.

The courses I did included a lot of field trips which helped me understand how to conduct field surveys. This has been really helpful in my current role as I coordinate with environmental specialists who spend time in the field collecting data.

How has your degree shaped your career?

My degree helped me discover what I wanted to do in my career. I started ecology wanting to pursue a career in reptile conservation which is a very specialised field. Studying ecology broadened my horizons and taught me a lot about other environmental aspects. I was able to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the environment and look at things with a more holistic view. As a result, I decided to pursue a career as an environmental planner where I look at things on a higher level.

What advice would you give to a Science degree graduate?

Follow your passion! There’s nothing worse than studying something you don’t enjoy. Study something you’re passionate about. Science degrees aren’t just for researchers. The critical thinking mindset you develop studying science will take you far in life!

Nicky Warton, Environmental Scientist at Douglas Partners

Bachelor of Environmental Science, 2017

Growing up in Australia, Nicky Warton loved exploring the environment and getting to know its unique flora and fauna. She was captivated by how the world worked through science and geography. While she wasn’t always sure what kind of job she wanted after university, she knew studying in a field that she loved would help her get a job in an area she was passionate about.

Enjoying a very practical hands-on education as part of her Bachelor of Environmental Science, Nicky uses the skills she developed on a daily basis. She’s been able to apply her skills and knowledge to improving the practices and processes in her current role as an Environmental Scientist at Douglas Partners.

We spoke to Nicky about her current role as an Environmental Scientists and how her science degree helped get her there.

What do you enjoy most about working in Environmental Science?

I love working as an Environmental Scientist. I’m able to positively impact the environment and world around me and, at the same time, continue to learn about the environment.

I’m passionate about the Australian environment and I have the desire manage our resources sustainably so that future generations can enjoy them for years to come. It’s a joy to be able to spend my days working towards this goal.

Why did you choose to study a Bachelor of Environmental Science at UNSW?

I chose to study at UNSW because of the Environmental Science degree offered. It gave me the option to major in physical geography and study a broad range of subject areas on both a local and global scale.

Growing up I loved exploring the Australian environment and its unique flora and fauna. I also loved learning about the environment and discovering how the world worked. I was unsure of what kind of job I wanted when I graduated so I thought a degree in environmental science would allow me to study something I loved, and help me get a job in a field I was passionate about.

How has the hands-on experience you received at UNSW helped in your current role?

During my degree I gained a range of practical skills through tutorials, laboratory classes and field trips. I gained hands on experience in geology, soil identification and testing, water testing, surveying and mapping skills. I learned to effectively use the latest technologies and a range of software programs used in the industry.

I’ve drawn on and continued to develop these skills in my current role as an environmental consultant. The practical skills I gained during my degree prepared me very well for my current role. They’ve also allowed me to contribute to improving the practices and efficiencies of the processes in my company.

How do you feel that your degree shaped your career?

My degree and experience at UNSW not only provided the theoretical knowledge and practical skills I needed as an environmental scientist, but it has opened my eyes to the vast number of career possibilities out there.

During my degree, I explored the world of research and seriously considered a career in it. While I didn’t follow that path, the research opportunities developed the critical thinking and analytical communication skills I use every day.

Being exposed to a wide range of fields within environmental science, I discovered areas I was particularly passionate about, including environmental education. Educating and communicating with people about environmental issues is something I’ll continue to pursue throughout my career.

What advice would you give someone considering a science degree at UNSW?

It wasn’t until I started studying environmental science that I realised how broad the field is and the endless possibilities within the single degree. I studied subjects I thought I’d love but didn’t end up enjoying and subjects I thought I’d dislike and ended up loving.

Science degrees are flexible, so don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to do. Keep an open mind, explore all the options and you might just surprise yourself!

Edith Chow, Senior Research Scientist at CSIRO

Bachelor of Science (Hons) 2002, PhD in Chemistry 2006

edith alumni

Edith Chow uncovered a fascination for chemistry while studying a Bachelor of Science (Honours) at UNSW. She credits her lecturers with instilling her passion which led her to earning a PhD in the field.

Now a Senior Research Scientist with the CSIRO, Australia’s national Science agency, Edith is part of a team working on a rapid test for COVID-19. Her advice to future Science students is to keep an open mind about where you want to end up and follow your curiosity.

We spoke to Edith about her two UNSW Science degrees and her work as a Senior Research Scientist.

What do you enjoy most about your career in Science?

I enjoy the process of discovery and the satisfaction that comes along with it. My research at the CSIRO helps tackle industrial and societal challenges, especially in the current COVID-19 pandemic. It’s exciting and challenging to be working on a rapid diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2 with industry partners and colleagues. I love the high risk, high reward nature of my work.

Why did you choose to study a Science degree at UNSW?

I visited UNSW when my sister began studying there and I was immediately drawn to the modern, vibrant campus. I was keen to follow my sister's footsteps at a world-renowned university with a strong reputation in Science. There was a diverse range of science programs with the flexibility to tailor your course to your interests.

What’s the most valuable thing you took away from your time at UNSW?

My time at UNSW enriched my mind and broadened my horizons. I learned to follow my curiosity and trust it will lead me somewhere. UNSW offers lots of study options through elective and general education courses. It wasn't until second year Analytical Chemistry that I discovered what I was truly interested in. My time at UNSW showed me it’s OK to change your mind or not have made up your mind. Just dive in, explore and discover.

How has the hands-on experience you received at UNSW helped in your current role?

My best learning came from hands-on experiences where I put into practice what I’d learned in the classroom. The laboratory practical classes allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of scientific concepts, critical thinking and data analysis skills.

I undertook summer vacation placements in a UNSW research group and at the CSIRO where I further developed my research and communication skills. I was able to learn the importance of effective teamwork and time management. For me, the ability to create trust, possess shared values, set clear goals and juggle conflicting demands are key to leading a successful and rewarding career.

How has your degree shaped your career?

My undergraduate and postgraduate degrees have equipped me with broad scientific skills and a strong appreciation of all aspects of science. Most research is highly interdisciplinary, so I continually learned and adapted while bringing in skills from first year physics or second year biochemistry. Having a chemistry background, I began my career at CSIRO developing chemical sensing technologies. Now I don’t just see myself as a chemist, I’m also a nanotechnologist and materials scientist. My crucial ability to communicate with others across disciplines came from my broad scientific training at uni.

How do you get the most out of a Science degree at UNSW?

Avoid having a rigid mindset of the type of scientist you’d like to become. Explore your passions and skills! Give yourself lots of options and don't be afraid to take on a course or extra-curricular activity that may be a little different or outside your comfort zone. Also reach out and find a mentor early on. UNSW Science offers a peer mentoring program which can support you in the transition to university life.

Tristan Dwyer, Analytics & Cognitive Consultant at Deloitte

Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) Physics 2016

From a UNSW Science student to a Senior Consultant at Deloitte, working in the area of Analytics and Cognitive, Tristan Dwyer has used his Science degree and the hands-on skills he learned to land a role he’s truly passionate about. He advises businesses on their data strategy, builds predictive technologies and develops data governance practices.

Tristan’s work spans various industries that utilise his data science skills. He’s helping organisations use data to address challenges and solve unique problems – for example, so banks can identify serious crimes like money laundering. We spoke to Tristan about his experience at UNSW and how it has shaped his career.

Why did you choose to study a science degree at UNSW?

UNSW's Advanced Science degree gave me the opportunity to blend practical project-based experience with academic research. I wanted a degree that would prepare me for the future, but still give me the flexibility and choice between academia and industry.

What’s the most valuable thing you took away from your time at UNSW?

The ability to collaborate. Problems in science and business aren’t solved in isolation. UNSW fostered an atmosphere of collaboration between students and across disciplines. It gave me the skills to communicate solutions to technical and non-technical team members with different backgrounds which is valuable today.

How has the hands-on experience you received at UNSW helped in your current role?

The honours research project and practical nature of my degree taught me lessons I use every day. How to plan a project and manage a team's time. How to communicate scientific concepts in straightforward language. Most importantly, how to deal with complexity. What to do when you’re stuck in a challenging problem and how to create the right framework to tackle it.

How has your degree shaped your career?

Science taught me to love learning, complex problems and teamwork. When I was looking for opportunities in the industry, it was a perfect match with data and consultancy. I wouldn’t have known about this career path, or chosen it, if it wasn't for the structure and challenge of my Science degree at UNSW.

How do you get the most out of a science degree?

Throw yourself in the deep end and engage with the degree! There are incredible opportunities to work on projects, join societies and intern with industry. My cohort had students working on top secret Department of Defence projects, building solar-powered racers, interning in businesses and having a blast at student society events.

What advice would you give to a science degree graduate?

Explore all your opportunities! STEM students are incredibly in demand in the workforce. By taking on a UNSW science degree you're future proofing your career and giving yourself the best chance of landing the exciting opportunity you want after university.

Nishant Sharma, Operations Manager, Stone Plus

Bachelor of Aviation Management, 2013

nishant sharma

Nishant Sharma always had a passion for Aviation. He knew that’s where he wanted to be working upon graduation. Leveraging UNSW’s partnership with Qatar Airways to place graduates within different areas of the organization, Nishant has experienced the Aviation industry from numerous angles. He currently works as the India Operation’s leader of an Import/Export firm in Hyderabad .

His advice to prospective Aviation students is that flying is the future. We caught up with Nishant recently when he shared his memories of studying Aviation at UNSW and how it helped him get to where he is today.

What’s your current role?

I’m currently working in an Import/Export firm ‘Stone Plus’ where I’m handling the whole India market. I’m really happy doing what I’m doing.

What did you study at UNSW?

I started at UNSW doing a Bachelor of Aviation Management. During my first year I had the chance to study across a range of areas and I decided Aviation Management has excellent scope in terms of career. I also considered the great Aviation facilities available and the future of the aviation industry.

Why did you choose to study your degree at UNSW?

When I looked at my options for an Aviation degree, UNSW was always my preference as its rankings are superior and nothing beats living in Sydney. It’s a beautiful city.

What were some of the highlights of studying Aviation Management at UNSW?

My degree covered a lot of subject areas with a range of backgrounds from different schools within UNSW. Learning across so many areas I could interact and make friends with students from other degrees.

I’m still close with the friends I made at UNSW. Even across the world we keep in touch. Bachelor of Aviation Management engages you by bringing the whole class together to participate and learn. Life on campus is pretty awesome. The campus is beautiful and large, with many cafeterias and green spaces.

Did the Aviation School assist you with your career upon graduation?

In our last term before graduation, the school brought in Qatar Airways for career placement. The roles offered were within different domains of the business giving us an opportunity to choose which area we’d pursue our career in.

 What is your role now, and how did the Aviation degree help you get the job?

I’ve worked in different domains and departments within the aviation industry from operations to marketing for Delhi International Airport.

While working in Operations, I was part of the Terminal Operations team, a team that helped Indira Gandhi International Airport achieve the ranking of World's 2nd Best Airport in the largest airport category.

In marketing, I planned and launched a landmark project which was a first of its kind in the country, a complete customer driven initiative program ‘Shop & Collect’.

Did you make any useful connections at UNSW?

I made a number of connections when I was in university, some were from my course others were from different courses. Living on campus I interacted more with people doing all types of degrees and now my friends range from Neurosurgeons to Judges & Airline Captains to top Architects.

What’s your advice for students considering studying Aviation at UNSW?

Aviation at UNSW is a great course. The industry  is fascinating as every day flights are becoming more luxurious with shower and bed facilities, and airports are becoming more & more like shopping malls. Flying is the future as flights are becoming more affordable and travel time between countries is decreasing. There’s a lot to do and innovate within the sector and UNSW Aviation is where innovation happens.

Adam Camilleri, Taskforce Officer at the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment

Bachelor of Science / Bachelor of Social Science, 2015
Bachelor of Science (Honours), 2017

adam_camilleri

Adam is a Taskforce Officer at the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, where he’s working to create tangible and meaningful change in Australia’s National Waste Policy. Adam discovered his passion for the environment while studying a double degree at UNSW, the Bachelor of Science/Social Science, majoring in Biological Science.

Now, he’s helping Australians reduce landfill and tackle an environmental challenge that most of us face each day – what goes in the bin. Adam spoke to us about his time at UNSW and how it helped him get to where he is today.

What did you study at UNSW?

I studied a double Bachelor of Science/Social Science. My major was Biological Science which I combined with my Social Science major in Public Policy. I then did my Honours in Marine Science studying sea urchin herbivory and their interactions with species of seaweed for the Operation Crayweed, a project aiming to reforest Sydney's marine seaweed population.

Where are you working now?

I’m currently working for the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment in the Australian Government’s Waste and Recycling Team. Our team is responsible for implementing the National Waste Policy 2018 and delivering the National Waste Policy Action Plan 2019. Delivering this Action Plan means I’m working towards ambitious national targets that would make Australia a global leader in waste management and recycling - such as reducing total waste generated in Australia by 10% per person by 2030, phasing out problematic and unnecessary plastics by 2025 and halving food waste by 2030.

What’s the best part of your  role?

I like that my job is part of the solution and not the problem. My role is to think of solutions and help governments, businesses and communities turn waste into resources, rather than sending it to landfill. Slowly but surely, I can see the changes I’m making that are helping to solve an ongoing environmental challenge that most Australians deal with on a daily basis – what goes in the bin!

What did your career look like when you graduated?

In 2018, I joined the Australian Fisheries Management Authority Graduate Program where I worked on international policy aimed to reduce illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the Pacific Ocean. I  travelled  frequently for this role and participated in international delegations.

After the Graduate Program I joined the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment working on initiatives to reduce marine plastic pollution in Australia and the Pacific. As a result of my work on plastic pollution I was seconded to work in the Prime Minister’s taskforce to ban the export of Australia’s waste overseas. I enjoyed waste management and recycling so much that I ended up staying in this area to work on the National Waste Policy 2018.

What did you like most about studying at UNSW?

I enjoyed how practical the courses were. I’m a firm believer that the best learning is hands-on learning. Some of the best memories of UNSW were the research trips up to UNSW’s field station at Smith’s Lake. The Station is used by the school as a research and teaching zone where we could study coastal and marine ecosystems. It was there I discovered my love for the marine environment. I also developed the ability to communicate scientific research into plain language for a range of audiences. This skill has been crucial in my career working with people from all different backgrounds.