Our chemistry graduates go on to successful and varied careers. Click on the profiles below to read more.
- Steven Zammit
After completion of my undergraduate studies I was inspired to enroll in a PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, synthesizing natural products.
- Patrick James
I elected to do a joint Biochemistry and Chemistry Ph.D. focusing on the gas phase interactions of phospholipids and the solution phase binding of apolipoproteins to lipid micelles.
- Mengxin Yin
I value the linkage and lifetime friendships that were built during these years…
- Mark Gregory
Combining … knowledge and resources led to greater discoveries and better understanding of … results
Nor Saadah Mohd Yusof
I have always been in love with research in chemistry, and the research culture that I experienced here made me fall into research so much deeper. Nor Saadah
I came to the University of Melbourne in late 2011 as an International PhD Student from Malaysia to do PhD in the School of Chemistry, Faculty of Science. My PhD supervisor was Ashok (Prof Muthupandian Ashokkumar), the Leader of Ultrasonics & Sonochemistry Research Group. Coming almost 3000 miles away from my family and trying to settle in a new personal and research life was challenging, both emotionally and academically. But, the warm and friendly welcome I received from Ashok and his group members quickly made me feel so comfortable and I felt happy that I made the right decision to come to Melbourne. I have always been in love with research in chemistry, and the research culture that I experienced here made me fall into research so much deeper. Overall, I had a great experience at the University of Melbourne. The academic environment, flexibility and research facilities available at this place helped me to complete my PhD on time with several high quality research papers in leading international journals.
Following completion of my PhD in February 2015, I returned to my country and joined the Chemistry Department of University of Malaya in Malaysia as a senior lecturer. My teaching commitments include delivering lectures for undergraduate and postgraduate classes. I have also been supervising MSc and PhD students. Taking up this position was very challenging and an eye-opener for me as this was such a sudden and massive change in my life, from being a ‘student’ to a ‘teacher’. Yet, I am enjoying every bit of it. During tough times, I sometimes ask myself of what would my supervisor could have done in such situation. Plus, I am very glad that my PhD has taught me not only on research skills, but also the skills to face challenges in academic life. I am also delighted that Ashok is providing me ongoing support to establish my research in my lab. I strongly hope that I will continue to engage with the University of Melbourne by establishing a stronger research collaboration with Ashok’s research group and continue to share my academic life with the School of Chemistry at University of Melbourne.
After completion of my undergraduate studies I was inspired to enroll in a PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry Steven Zammit
I enrolled for a BSc/BChemEng at the University of Melbourne in 1994, majoring in organic chemistry. After completion of my undergraduate studies I was inspired to enroll in a PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, synthesizing natural products. I learnt a wide range of exciting and intricate laboratory techniques.
Following completion of my PhD I was employed at the University of Melbourne at a postdoctoral level as a medicinal chemist, working for Spencer Williams and Darren Kelly. I was involved in structure activity studies, collaborating with biologists to synthesize a library of compounds for the potential treatment of fibrotic disorders including diabetic nephropathy. This work was very interesting and was commercialized and patented, and provided the basis for the start-up company, Fibrotech Therapeutics.
Through this work I gained an insight into the world of Intellectual Property, and I then secured a position at a top tier firm specializing in Intellectual Property, Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick, located in the Melbourne CBD. This period represented a steep learning curve for me. I enrolled part-time for a Masters of Intellectual Property Law at the University of Melbourne, whilst working full-time as a trainee patent attorney. I was involved in the prosecution of many weird and wonderful inventions and was constantly amazed by the ingenuity of scientists. I worked in this role for 3 years after which I joined IP Australia to work as a patent examiner where I have been employed for nearly 3 years. I am currently acting in the role of Senior Examiner, where I manage a team of 6 Patent Examiners in a mixed chemistry technology team. My team examines a variety of patent applications across the chemistry spectrum and decides on matters pertaining to their validity. Being an interesting mix of science and law with an investigative element, I utilize my qualifications and stay in touch with the latest developments in my field. Even though the head office is in Canberra I work from Melbourne and enjoy great working conditions in a friendly and supportive environment.
In my second year I developed a passion for Organic Chemistry … I was fascinated by the way organic reactions work. Jeremy Tan
I commenced my studies at the University of Melbourne in 2004, specialising in Chemistry and Pharmacology. In my second year I developed a passion for Organic Chemistry. In particular, I was fascinated by the way organic reactions work and decided to deepen my understanding of Organic Chemistry and reaction mechanisms by undertaking an Honours degree (completed in 2007), which was followed by a PhD (completed in 2012). During my studies, I also worked as a mathematics tutor at a tuition centre and as a first year laboratory demonstrator in the School of Chemistry, where I gained valuable teaching skills and experiences.
After graduating from my PhD, I moved to Singapore, the heart of Asia, to pursue a career in teaching. In 2012, I accepted a role as a lecturer in the School of Chemical and Life Sciences at Singapore Polytechnic. My initial role was a very enjoyable experience, because I was teaching Organic Chemistry modules to first, second and third year polytechnic students. After a quick adjustment from study-life to work-life, I have embraced this change in environment, which is fast paced and constantly developing.
I have seized and relished every opportunity that has been given to me. I took on the role and responsibilities of a member of the Course Management Team and was appointed as a Final Year Project coordinator and a Senior Liaison Officer for Internships. These duties have given me the opportunity to interact with countless industries in Singapore and around the world, which really opened my eyes and gave me a sense of the global chemical industry. My lecturing was also complimented by many promising and exciting R&D project collaborations, which I have been fortunate enough to be involved in.
As a lecturer, I have realised that my role is more than just lecturing students. I am enthused by the diversity of the work and the many opportunities that I have for further professional development. Most importantly: my students and colleagues are amazing.
I particularly loved the practical component because of the social aspect… Jill Williams
I enrolled for a BSc at the University of Melbourne in 1997 and soon realized I wanted to major in Chemistry. I particularly loved the practical component because of the social aspect and made some great friends in the lab.
After completing my degree and postgraduate studies in Chemistry, I was fortunate to get a job as a Synthetic Organic Chemist with a small university-based startup company. This was a truly amazing experience where I was exposed to a range of applied analytical techniques, and which I enjoyed as a new challenge. I was privileged to work with highly skilled postdocs from around the world who both taught me a lot and opened new horizons.
After being at the bench for several years, a new opportunity arose as a Sales Representative for an equipment manufacturing company. This provided me with the chance to visit a large number of commercial, government and academic labs across Victoria. It is amazing all the strange and wonderful places that chemistry is done! It was through this that I learnt about the Defence Science Technology Group (formerly DSTO), located at Fishermens Bend. I was thoroughly impressed by the scientists and the organization and applied for the next job they advertised, and got it! I have been with DST Group since 2006 and have participated in an extraordinarily wide range of activities. I work in the chemical synthesis laboratory using highly sophisticated equipment, and deliver training for personnel in the Australian Defence Force ADF) and national security agencies. More broadly my group provides science and technology support relevant to hazardous chemicals for the ADF. I participate in international meetings where I represent the ADF, contribute to the development of policy, and advise on technical matters. This has led to exciting collaborations with similar agencies in allied nations.
I enrolled in a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at the University of Melbourne in 2001. During my undergraduate years, I was fortunate to be awarded a scholarship to undertake research work in the School of Chemistry. The time spent there introduced me to the technique of mass spectrometry and its utility to not only study fundamental gas phase chemistries, but also its application in the field of proteomics. For my post-graduate studies I elected to do a joint Biochemistry and Chemistry Ph.D. focusing on the gas phase interactions of phospholipids and the solution phase binding of apolipoproteins to lipid micelles. This allowed me to learn skills that varied from molecular biology techniques including recombinant protein expression and site-directed mutagenesis through to analytical techniques such as ultracentrifugation and electron microscopy.
After the completion of my Ph.D., I left Australia and joined the lab of Prof Don Hunt at the University of Virginia as a Research Associate. My work there focused on the use of high-resolution mass spectrometry to localise specific post-translation modifications to proteins. The work was highly collaborative, with samples coming in from labs in Spain, Mexico and Ireland. The skill sets I developed helped me progress to my next position at CSL Ltd.
I joined CSL in 2011 after 3 years as a post-doctoral scientist. As a Senior Scientist in the Research Department of CSL, I was tasked with assisting in the characterization of all plasma-derived and recombinant proteins that were used in the Research department. The transition from academia to industry presented a challenge. I found the focus on completing projects to pre-defined timelines with the requirement for high quality data rewarding. During my tenure at CSL, I have been fortunate to work on projects that have led to novel epitopes being patented, and have been involved in late-stage projects some of which have since been approved by the FDA for the treatment of haemophilia.
After 5 years at CSL, I have moved to a small biotech called Nexvet. In this role, I will be involved in the characterization of monoclonal antibodies. Beyond the mass spectrometry skills which have been my core expertise over the decade, I will also be gaining experience in molecular interactions between these antibodies and their partners as well as support the analysis of their higher order structure.
I found research very exciting and stimulating, so I decided that I would complete an Honours year. Evan Tzardis
I enrolled for a BSc at the University of Melbourne in 2011. I had a passion for chemistry since I studied it at high school, so I knew I wanted to major in chemistry. I enjoyed working in the lab and completing experiments as part of the practical chemistry subjects in my course. In third year we were provided the opportunity to complete a research project. I found research very exciting and stimulating, so I decided that I would complete an Honours year. I enrolled in a BSc(Hons) and worked with a friendly and supportive inorganic chemistry research group under the guidance of Dr Colette Boskovic. I completed my Honours research project on the structure properties of hybrid-polyoxometalate compounds. I enjoyed learning advanced topics in chemistry and applying the chemistry knowledge gained throughout my studies to my research.
After completing my Honours I decided to take some time to relax and travelled for a little while. I began searching for work immediately after returning from my travels and shortly afterwards was contacted by a recruitment agency regarding an analytical chemist role. I was interviewed for the role and was successful. I began work at PPG Industries Australia in 2016. I currently work in a small team of analytical chemists using analytical instruments and techniques to solve various problems for the company. My experience with GC and HPLC in practical chemistry classes provided the foundation for me to learn how to operate these instruments for the analyses I perform in my work. I also regularly employ my skills and knowledge from my university studies to analyse and interpret IR spectra. There is a paint production plant on site and we are often be required to analyse samples from the factory for quality control. Most of the production is for the automotive industry and for automotive refinish, so we are also required to analyse paint samples for Holden, Ford, and Toyota. There are also resin chemists in the research and development laboratories who send us samples to analyse and determine the molecular weight distributions of their polymers. Some jobs are a little more complicated, sometimes involving the identification of a contaminant or unknown material and requiring the use of several analytical instruments including IR spectrometers, GC, and HLPC. Overall, the work is varied, challenging, and interesting.
I found that organic chemistry suited my love of applying logic and solving problems Kylee Aumann
I enrolled in the inaugural intake of a BBiomedSc in 1999 and transferred to a BSc in 2000 to pursue a double major in chemistry and pharmacology. I found that organic chemistry suited my love of applying logic and solving problems, rather than rote-learning pathways and processes. After completing Honours and a PhD in organic chemistry, I did five years of synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry postdoctoral research at the University of Sydney, Astra Zeneca laboratories at the Eskitis Institute, and the Brain and Mind Research Institute. In this time, it became clear to me that while I enjoyed research, this was not the case for wet lab work.
Fortunately, my postdoctoral positions had also given me experience in lab and project management, and I decided to build on these skills by accepting a position as a Scientific Coordinator for the Chemical Biology division at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) in 2011. This role allowed me to build my business skillset in finance, business development, strategy and compliance. In 2014, I transitioned into a Strategic Project Manager role, where I managed and co-authored the development of WEHI's 2016 – 2020 Strategic Plan and a campus optimization program.
Along the way I've gradually refined what it is that I'm looking for in a career: it is helping people to use evidence and logic to plan effectively and to develop robust strategies and then use this to drive efficiency. To this end, I've recently changed roles again and joined the mid-size strategy consulting firm Strategic Project Partners. With a strong background in research and business, I'm ideally placed to work at the interface of higher education, government and industry, and have been working to help clients develop strategy and business cases (amongst other projects). Consulting is a career where no two days are the same, but I'm always working to help someone improve their situation, process or product; this suits me well.
I enrolled at the University of Melbourne in 2008 to pursue a PhD in Chemistry Brandon MacDonald
I enrolled at the University of Melbourne in 2008 to pursue a PhD in Chemistry after completing my undergraduate chemistry degree at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, in Canada.
My work focused on developing inks containing semiconducting nanocrystals called ‘quantum dots' to produce printable solar cells. This work was done in collaboration with CSIRO and gave me an opportunity to interact with and learn from brilliant, creative people from both organizations. My work also gave me the opportunity to speak about the benefits of renewable energy to a broad range of audiences, including interviews with The Age and ABC Radio.
Following my PhD I moved to the US in 2011, working as a Senior Scientist at QD Vision, an MIT start-up company that uses quantum dots to improve the colour capability of TVs and monitors. I was able to directly apply the knowledge gained from my time at Melbourne University to work as part of the team that produced the world's first commercially successful quantum dot display component, featured in a range of Sony televisions.
In 2014 I obtained a position at E-Ink Corporation, another former MIT start-up and the world's leading e-paper manufacturer. At E-Ink I currently work on developing new materials and processes to help grow the company's business beyond e-readers to include a whole variety of new applications. On a daily basis I get to interact with a wide range of chemists, physicists and engineers so there is always something new and exciting to learn.
Although I now live halfway across the world, I frequently keep in touch with many of my former PhD colleagues and will always cherish the time I spent at Melbourne University.
I liked the challenge to understand something in chemistry, and the way it all just works in such a logical manner… Nicole Dobson
I began my Bachelor of Science in 2011 at the University of Melbourne. I thought veterinary science was an appealing option, but eventually, I began choosing more and more chemistry subjects. I liked the challenge to understand something in chemistry, and the way it all just works in such a logical manner when you eventually understand it.
After a gap year and volunteering in the USA, I entered my last year of the Bachelor of Science, majoring in Chemistry. I had a part time job in a laboratory as a blood processing technician and I chose to do the chemical research project subject in my final semester. On top of this I was volunteering approximately 3 times a week at tutoring organisations for students in housing commission and from refugee backgrounds. I enjoyed pushing myself and testing my limits, so I decided to enter the Masters of Teaching (Secondary) Internship program.
The wait to find out if I was placed in a school was too much, so I began appealing to schools in my area. Mount Alexander College was the first school I visited. After a quick meeting, they signed up for the program at the University of Melbourne and requested for me to be placed there. So two days before my last exam for my Bachelor of Science, I was in an intensive 7 week training program at the Melbourne School of Graduate Education (MGSE).
In 2016, I started working as a science teacher in a school with a vertical structure. I still use information I remember learning from my Bachelor of Science, and my confidence in chemistry was helpful when I was first finding my way as a teacher. Working with emerging adults is not without its challenges, and completing a Masters degree while working was demanding. The rewards are plentiful and unlike anything else I have experienced, and I could not have done it without my Bachelor of Science.
During my studies, I also had the remarkable opportunity to put my training in analytical techniques into practice in Antarctica over the course of one summer… Adam Brotchie
I obtained both my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from the University of Melbourne. At undergraduate level, I studied a BSc, majoring in Chemistry — my discipline of preference since an early age. After my honours year, I undertook a PhD in the School of Chemistry (Professors Franz Grieser and Muthupandian Ashokkumar as supervisors), during which I researched different phenomena that result from the interaction between ultrasound and matter. During my studies, I also had the remarkable opportunity to put my training in analytical techniques into practice in Antarctica over the course of one summer, as part of a collaborative project between the University of Melbourne and the Australian Antarctic Division. The University also provided me with valuable experience in teaching and science communication, as well as an excellent academic network that I benefit from today as a scientific editor.
After completing my PhD in 2010, I was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellowship to conduct research at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam, Germany. In 2012, I decided it was time to leave the research lab; however, I still wished to work in a position that drew upon my scientific knowledge and kept me at the forefront of research. Thus, I moved into academic publishing, joining Wiley-VCH (Weinheim, Germany), where I worked from 2012 to 2015 as an editor of materials science journals, including Advanced Materials. In this role, I assessed the quality and significance of submitted primary research articles, critically selecting the most important of these to send for external peer-review, and ultimately decided on which papers were published.
In 2015, I relocated to London to join Springer Nature for the launch of the journal, Nature Reviews Materials. My main responsibility is commissioning articles from leading researchers in all areas of materials science. This requires me to attend key international conferences, visit research laboratories and to keep abreast of the latest research developments in the scientific literature. I also coordinate the peer-review process and work closely with researchers to prepare their articles for publication. In addition to handling manuscripts, I am kept busy with other tasks, such as writing news articles for the journal, giving editorial masterclasses and coordinating press releases.
I value the linkage and lifetime friendships that were built during these years… Mengxin Yin
As an international student, I enrolled for a PhD degree majoring in medicinal chemistry in the Holmes group at the University of Melbourne in 2007. After completion of my BSc in Life Science at Shandong University in China, I was fortunate to be awarded Endeavour International Postgraduate Research Scholarship and Melbourne International Research Scholarship for my PhD studies. I worked on several cross-disciplinary projects including organic synthesis of chemical probes and investigation of their biological functions in intracellular signalling pathways. This amazing experience granted me the opportunity to learn new knowledge and be exposed to a range of new techniques. I was honored to attend international conferences and collaborate with other highly accomplished scientists worldwide. I value the linkage and lifetime friendships that were built during these years.
Following completion of my PhD I was employed in Bio21 Institute at the University of Melbourne at a research fellow level as a medicinal chemist, working on organic synthesis and their biological functions. This allowed me to continue and complete the research developed during my PhD and help other postgraduate students. In 2013, I was employed at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and worked on identification and study of key proteins involved in apoptosis pathways in colon cancer cell lines. The research was very interesting and supported clinical trials by pharmaceutical companies related to cancer research.
It was life changing experience for me to study, work and now permanently live in Australia. I always hope to be able to help with other international students to chase and accomplish their dreams in Australia. I am currently full time studying Australian Migration Law & Practice and hope to open my own business to offer consultation and help others who wish to visit, study, work, or live in Australia.
Studying chemistry gave me a deeper understanding of chemical theory and experimental design. Kathryn Russell
I graduated in 2010 with honours degrees in both chemical engineering and chemistry from The University of Melbourne. Studying chemistry gave me a deeper understanding of chemical theory and experimental design, which really complimented my engineering degree.
After a short break, I joined Rio Tinto’s graduate program as a mineral processing engineer. Based in Melbourne, I worked with the different commodity groups to identify and develop new opportunities, for both existing plants and new mines. My hours in the laboratory during university paid off, as I jumped between benchtop tests and pilot plants across the country. I read journals, ran simulations and wrote reports. There were even times I dragged out my notes to find that one slide…
In 2014 I relocated to Newcastle to join Tomago Aluminium. The Tomago smelter uses over 10% of NSW’s electricity to reduce alumina into aluminium metal. The majority of the metal is shipped to Asia, where it is transformed into aluminium foil, engine parts and construction materials. I started in a Continuous Improvement role before moving into the electrolysis department. Even though I ran electrolysis experiments at university, it is a completely different challenge to now optimise 840 reduction cells at once. I am in a great team, and we are achieving record performance results.
I had a great time and immensely enjoyed the opportunity to develop skills in many areas including synthesis, analytical chemistry and biochemistry. Dr Berin Boughton
I completed a BSc with Honours mid-2003 with majors in Chemistry and Pharmacology following my interest in bioactive chemicals and treatment of disease. After completing Honours, I decided to continue further studies and enrolled in a PhD program in Organic Chemistry in the field of drug design, development and testing with the aim to generate new antibacterial compounds. I had a great time and immensely enjoyed the opportunity to develop skills in many areas including synthesis, analytical chemistry and biochemistry.
After completing my PhD, in 2009 I moved fields into bio-analytical mass spectrometry and was employed by Metabolomics Australia (MA) at the University of Melbourne as a Post-Doctoral Analytical Chemist. The technique of metabolomics aims to measure as many metabolites (chemicals) as possible at once in any biological system, then use bioinformatics to make sense of the data generated. The work at MA has been varied, very interesting and has led to productive collaborations with a wide array of researchers. To name but a few projects, I have worked on Florida Scrub Jays, assorted disease models in mice and rats, the distribution of cyanide-forming cyanogenic glycosides in a range of plant species, explored malaria in the mosquito, and examined other parasites and drugs in different model systems!
Through MA, I have had many opportunities, including being awarded international collaboration grants enabling several overseas trips to Europe and the United States, and several Early Career Researcher grants which have enabled the development of my own research. More recently, I took on the Project Lead for installation of an advanced MALDI-FT-ICR mass spectrometer, and I have been actively involved in developing the field of MALDI Imaging Mass Spectrometry at the University of Melbourne. Imaging Mass Spectrometry measures the spatial distribution of chemicals, drugs and metabolites in thin sections of tissues, allowing localization of these species to tissue types or even single cells. By localizing metabolites and drugs to specific locations we can learn much about their function or metabolism in biological systems. Throughout these endeavours, my deep knowledge base and background in chemistry has been invaluable and has provided a unique window into the Biosciences enabling me to conduct ongoing and advanced analytical research.
For me, studying chemistry always had a good mix of hands on work and intellectual challenges. Rachel Hart
I completed my BSc (Hons) majoring in chemistry in 2005. My focus was physical chemistry and I really enjoyed my Honours year which enabled me to collaborate with CSIRO and Dulux on polymer chemistry and paint applications. For me, studying chemistry always had a good mix of hands on work and intellectual challenges.
Prior to my honours year, I completed a three month vacation program at Qenos in its product development department. Qenos is the exclusive manufacturer and supplier of polyethylene resin in Australia and is an integral link in the local polymer and chemistry industry.
This opportunity led to Qenos offering me a position as a graduate chemist in the Qenos Technical Centre, the largest polyethylene testing laboratory in Australia. Since joining the company, I’ve been able to experience different roles in both a technical and commercial capacity including chemist; technical service specialist; account manager and now, as the Market Segment Manager for the dairy, blow moulding, distribution and export markets. I am responsible for managing the dairy bottle and blow moulding markets that are supplied with High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). This involves setting and implementing the strategic direction for Qenos in this market segment, including pricing strategy, product development strategy, product management and promotional efforts. Whilst this is a very commercial role, having a strong technical background in chemistry is a key component of being successful in a business-to-business environment in the polymer industry. Additionally, strong analytical skills and conceptual thinking have been critical skills in all of my roles. I’m working on some really exciting projects and collaborations at the moment. Working in the private sector is fast paced and always provides you with a new challenge to navigate. I also love that I work with a range of really talented engineers, chemists and materials specialists that share my appreciation for how materials impact our everyday life.
(My) two years in the School of Chemistry have been a great and memorable experience. Bo Wang
After the completion of my BSc degree (Applied Chemistry) in China, I came to Australia in 2013 for an MSc in Chemistry at The University of Melbourne. My research was in the area of organic chemistry, because I really enjoy making new molecules. The transition into a totally different culture has been very challenging, but with the help of my fellow students and friends from my research group I assimilated within a very short time. The two years in the School of Chemistry have been a great and memorable experience.
After completing my Masters degree in 2015, I moved back to China and started as a technician in the China-US (Henan) Hormel Cancer Institute. This is a young cancer institute, which was founded by the Chinese government in collaboration with the Hormel Institute in America. I am very happy that I can join the fight to combat cancer. Currently, I am part of an international research group studying oesophagus cancer, where I am working on the development of drugs, which could influence epigenetic regulation of cancer cells.
Since my work also includes aspects of biochemistry and medicinal chemistry, I am constantly learning new science and experimental techniques. The experience gained from my MSc in the School of Chemistry, in particular scientific communication skills, creativity, research ethics and problem solving skills, are helping me to develop and to grow in my position as a cancer researcher.
Combining … knowledge and resources led to greater discoveries and better understanding of … results. Mark Gregory
I moved to Australia in 2010, following the completion of my Undergraduate and Masters studies at the University of Leeds in the UK. I commenced a PhD in organic chemistry at the University of Melbourne under the primary supervision of Prof Andrew B Holmes. My studies combined total synthesis with chemical biology, proteomics and cancer research. It was a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the fundamental roles of phosphatidylinositol phosphates (PIPs) and inositol phosphates (IPs) in cell signaling.
During my time as a PhD candidate I really started to understand the advantages of collaboration. I worked closely with my co-supervisors at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Dr Bruno Catimel and Prof. Tony Burgess but also developed new collaborations at the University of Oxford and Princeton University. Combining our knowledge and resources led to greater discoveries and better understanding of our results.
Since the completion of my doctoral degree I have been working as an editorial assistant at the American Chemical Society (ACS) journal Organic Letters, managing the peer review process for submitted manuscripts. In addition, I run a not-for-profit education platform called Laneway Learning that I co-founded back in 2012. The aim of Laneway Learning is to provide affordable short classes in a wide variety of subjects from science, to craft, to social issues. The classes are taught by local knowledgeable and passionate individuals of the community. The organisation has grown a lot in the last few years with many new teachers and collaborators coming on board. My role is to work with these people in the community to help them develop their classes and I know that the focus on collaboration during my PhD has translated well into this role.
I discovered that you need passion, perseverance, and determination to become a great chemist. Rebecca Szabadai
When I was in high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do, be, or even study until my first chemistry class. Here we were performing flame tests, simply observing the colour of the flame when burning different metals, and that was it – I knew what I wanted to do, be, and study! In 2009 I enrolled into a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne, excited to study the wonders of the universe, learn about the physical and natural world, and work towards my dream of becoming a chemist.
During this time, I had the opportunity to study the practical and theoretical aspects of chemistry in depth, develop critical thinking, and practice independent research. I studied analytical chemistry, environmental chemistry, organic chemistry, computational chemistry, all areas of chemistry!
I went on to complete a Master of Science at the University of Melbourne where I majored in organic chemistry. During those two years, I further developed my skills as a research chemist, had the opportunity to work with world class scientists in world class facilities, and even got a paper published. I discovered that you need passion, perseverance, and determination to become a great chemist.
After my time at the University of Melbourne, I went on to complete a Master of Science Communication Outreach at the Australian National University. This included touring around Australia with the Shell Questacon Science Circus and performing science shows and workshops to kids, adults, and communities. Not only did I get to travel to regional and remote parts of this beautiful country, I had the opportunity to share them my excitement for chemistry, science, technology, and engineering!
Since 2016 I have been working as a science communicator with the Cambridge Science Centre. Now I perform science shows and workshops to kids, adults, and communities in the UK. Everyday I get to connect with others, share with them my favourite science experiments, discoveries, and facts, and get them excited about the endless possibilities of science!
There’s no one right way to communicate science, and I’ve come to realise that, just like when studying chemistry, it takes passion, perseverance, and determination to become a great science communicator!