My name is Alistair Grevis-James. I am 29 years old, a former In2science mentor, and currently work full time at CSL Limited (Parkville, Melbourne) as an analytical biochemist. I help create biopharmaceuticals to treat serious illnesses, including haemophilia (an inability for the blood to clot), hereditary angioedema (a genetic condition that causes potentially life threatening swelling) and diabetic nephropathy (damage to the kidneys caused by diabetes). I am one of those annoying people who absolutely loves their job!
For me, the In2science peer mentoring program was a critical stepping stone between university learning and working my first proper science job. Fuelled by the rhetoric in popular culture around climate science, nutrition and vaccination, I developed an interest in science communication during my undergraduate studies at the University of Melbourne.
I participated in the In2science program in my final undergraduate year, completing a placement at Northcote High School in a year 7 science class. In2science was my first ‘hands on’ experience with science communication and it was fascinating to work with young people who are grappling with the STEM content you yourself grappled with only a few years prior.
The In2science program was a critical stepping stone for my career. The communication skills and experience I gained allowed me to successfully apply for my first STEM job at Scitech (Perth, WA), as an Outreach Presenter. My next STEM role was working as an analytical chemist. My mix of experience was very well received in my interview, and I was able to discuss problem solving I performed during my In2science placement.
In my current role at CSL, my ability to collaborate with colleagues and to communicate scientific information effectively is just as important as my technical skills. Communicating my passion for science, explaining scientific concepts, and building mentoring relationships with students as an In2science mentor was a great way to develop these skills while at university.
The In2science program is of great benefit to the mentor, the teacher and the students. The program is well-structured, with an easily manageable time input. I would recommend the program to any tertiary student studying STEM who wants a unique and valuable experience.