Bachelor of Medicinal Chemistry (Honors & Dean’s Scholar)
University of Wollongong
ANSTO conducts a wide variety of activities in many areas of science and business, thus giving graduates the opportunity to rotate through several areas of the organisation for a range of experiences. In my current rotation I am working at the National Deuteration Facility (NDF). The NDF produces chemical and biological compounds for researchers that have been deuterated, which means that the hydrogen atoms in a compound are replaced with deuterium, which is heavy hydrogen. This allows for researchers to carry out experiments, particularly using the neutrons produces at ANSTO. I work as a chemist, carrying out chemical synthesis of these compounds in the lab. This involved literature research of methods, trial reactions and method development on protonated material, producing deuterated compounds and then synthesising, purifying and characterising the desired compounds. As well as work in the lab I have other tasks including working on organising presentations of the NDF’s work to assist in effective science communication and participating in data analysis for ANSTO’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Bachelor of Engineering: Mechanical and Mechatronics
University of Technology, Sydney
Originally from country NSW, I grew up around motorbikes and aircraft (my father manages a crop dusting business). This sparked my love of mechanisms, engines, and electronics. I disassembled the engine of my motorbike more than once, then had to ask Dad for help to put it back together. During high school I loved Physics, Metalworking and Programming subjects.
I moved to Sydney for university in 2010, enrolling in the Mechanical and Mechatronics degree at the University of Technology, Sydney. The most valuable things for me at university were joining the UTS Motorsports team and learning fabrication, design and troubleshooting skills, and going to Canada in 2012 for exchange. I was also president of the Outdoor Adventure Club, which gave me experience delegating and learning to trust and manage the people supporting me.
After graduating in 2015 I worked at a bike store as a mechanic for a while to save money, then went to Europe to live in a van that I converted to a campervan and go mountain biking. After 4 months, 10,000km and a destroyed turbocharger, I moved to Canada and worked for another year as a bike mechanic. These experiences gave me a solid foundation in mechanical systems, problem solving, communication and independence.
After moving back to Australia in 2018 I applied for the ANSTO graduate program, began at ANSTO in 2019 and have been loving the experience since! I have worked in two different roles so far, both quite different but very rewarding.
The (small) role I play in nuclear medicine production makes me proud of the work I do!
Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) Neuroscience & Psychology
University of New South Wales
In my current rotation, I work in the Human Health team. I work on a range of projects that aim to understand the effects of radiation on the body. I have been involved in a number of experiments that aim to examine the effects of radiation on the central nervous system. This includes research, experimental design, submitting applications and proposals, performing experiments (and learning a range of new experimental techniques), and more.
Recently, I have been working with the team to optimise, perform and analyse an experiment to test inflammation in the brain in animal models after exposure to different levels of radiation.
In my first rotation, I worked as part of the Culture team. In this team, I worked on projects designed to improve the workplace experience for all employees. In particular, I worked on building data models to determine successes and areas of improvement for our change programs, and how it differs across the organisation. I was involved in many initiatives with the team, from employee well-being, to employee support, to diversity and inclusion, and more.
In addition, I’ve been involved in a range of other projects, including taking on the project manager role for one of our diversity and inclusion projects, taking part in our Indigenous working group, and our graduate program.
Bachelor of Commence and Bachelor of Science
University of New South Wales
I grew up and went to school in the suburbs of South Sydney. I had always been interested in science as a kid- I’ve probably done every experiment in Glen Singleton’s 101 Cool Science Experiments and seen every episode of Backyard Science. So naturally when I did my HSC, Chemistry and Biology were at the top of my preferred subjects.
When it came to choosing subjects for university however, I was a bit more conflicted- I definitely wanted to do science but people told me ‘there are no jobs in science’. I stuck to my gut instinct however and chose to do science (chemistry) but also chose commerce (marketing) as it always interested me.
I enjoyed how different they were and always thought of them as being independent from each other. This was becoming an issue as I was getting closer to finishing- I have to choose the field I want to work in? Would one of these degrees be a complete waste?
In my penultimate year of university I thought I would start practicing the interview/assessment centre process by applying for some internship (something I couldn’t recommend more). I didn’t actually consider the implications of getting one but I built up my communication and interviewing skills.
This is actually how I started my journey at ANSTO – as a 2017 Year in Industry intern, working as a laboratory technician doing hydrometallurgical chemistry.