What are you studying? I am in my final year of the Science Double Degree Program at La Trobe University. Through this program I have been able to study two degrees; Bachelor of Biological Sciences and Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Biosciences, with majors in Agriculture, Zoology and Microbiology (and a minor in Psychology).
Tell us about your In2science placement: This was my first In2science placement, and to make it even more exciting I was lucky enough to be part of the eMentoring pilot program. This meant that all of my In2science sessions were run over a chat program online! I worked with four year 8 science students from Cobram Secondary College. Given that it was just myself and the students, we had the freedom to talk about whatever came up and focus on any particular areas each individual student was interested in or needed help with; no two weeks were the same!
Why did you become an In2science eMentor? I believe that, unfortunately, many people view mathematics and science as daunting or difficult fields of study, and therefore avoid them completely. For me, being an In2science eMentor was about breaking down these stereotypes and showing that science and maths can be interesting and fun. I specifically liked the eMentoring as the students I worked with had an extra set of obstacles to overcome as they live in rural locations.
What’s the best thing about eMentoring? I would have to say the small groups (as opposed to being with an entire class), as it allowed me to get to know each student well and tailor the topics we covered to suit their interests. Although it was through a computer screen, it seemed much more personal and relevant for everyone involved.
What’s one of the biggest challenges of eMentoring? One of the interesting things about eMentoring is that there is no teacher present; just the mentor and the students. Sometimes this made it hard to prepare in advance for our sessions, as I didn’t always know what topics were being covered in class. It meant I had to think on my feet and be flexible – luckily I was trained up and had ample resources from In2science to help with sessions.
What inspired you to study science and mathematics? I love that science and mathematics always have a correct, concrete answer or concept. On top of this, with science in particular, there is always more to discover! I find it really inspiring knowing that there is so much we don’t know about the world we live in and that I could be the one to discover something new!
What do you want to do after you finish university and why? My degree has allowed me to study many different areas of science, and this appears to be a blessing and a curse at the same time! Each year I seem to fall in love with a new discipline (this year it’s microbiology) and this means I am constantly looking at different careers and pathways. My end goal is to work in biosecurity and animal health though.
If you could have an hour to chat with any scientist or mathematician, who would it be and why? I would have to say Sigmund Freud! He was, and still is, a huge influence in the field of psychology and made so many interesting contributions. Although many of the theories he proposed have since been discredited, I would love to meet him to observe his personality and gain an insight into his absurd way of thinking.