If you’re anything like us, at some point in time you have had to sit down and think: so what do I actually want to study? Thinking of career goals and deciding on subjects and majors can be daunting, so we’ve put together some reflections from our *WISE* old (pun intended hehe) committee members to inspire you.
-Hayley G, Masters of Chemical Engineering
I took a somewhat circuitous path towards studying chemical engineering at university, but I’m glad I got here in the end. One of the main things that really appealed to me about studying engineering was working towards solving real-life problems that, in addition to requiring strong mathematical and logical reasoning skills, would give me the freedom to be creative in working towards a better solution. I picked chemical engineering in particular because it played to my strengths and because there are so many interesting areas that a chemical engineer could potentially work in.
-Rachel M, WISE president
Growing up, I was surrounded by everything to do with science and maths. My house was filled with telescopes, metal detectors, puzzles, insect traps, David Attenborough documentaries and an enormous collection of books and atlases. I also had a cliche lightbulb moment in high school that I still remember clearly to this day.
I had been been stuck whilst working on an assignment in Year 12 Specialist maths, so I had gone for a run to clear my head. I hadn’t even been thinking about the problem, when suddenly, out of nowhere, I realised what the solution was! It was incredible to realise that I was so focussed on solving the problem that it felt like my brain had started working on it subconsciously. I’m not studying neuroscience so I’m not sure if that is actually how it works, but the joy and sense of achievement I gained from getting the answer to a difficult problem after lots of hard work made me commit to maths at University.
At the same time, I had always been fascinated by the environment and hadn’t studied biology at high school, so University was the chance to do both. I’ve ended up with a BSc Majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a Concurrent Diploma in Applied Mathematics so it’s worked out pretty well for me! I’m still not sure what the next step is, which is both scary and exciting! My one piece of advice (with apologies to Tim Minchin) is just to be micro-ambitious and work hard on every opportunity that comes your way until you find the one that fits you the best.
-Emma F, Bachelor of Science
Deciding to study science was an easy choice for me – I excelled in high school and saw plenty of opportunity to explore many areas of science. In my first year of undergrad, I did a range of biol, chem, maths and a *random fun choice*: foundations of computing. If it weren’t for that subject then I would never had chosen my major Computational Biology. For those of you unaware of this area of science, it is a combination of bioinformatics, data analysis, developing algorithms and modeling of biological systems. A great choice for those torn between Maths, Computer Science and Genetics or Ecology.
I have also made the decision to underload my undergrad (pun not intended). This is when you only take 3 subjects per semester, adding on an extra semester or some summer subjects to make a 3.5 yr degree. In doing so, I have been able to get involved in volunteering, tutoring, mentoring, teaching, and organising WISE events. My involvement in these activities has helped me to decide on my career goal – teaching science/maths in high schools in order to encourage more girls and students from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter STEM fields.
If you’d like some more support and advice about your future, we recommend the Careers department, who can help you with these big decisions. Our WISE events are also a great chance to get inspiration from prominent women in the STEM field, network with other students and make industry connections. Tomorrow the 2nd of May, we are hosting a panel event “Gender Equity in STEM: Moving Forward” see here for further details.