What did you study?
I completed an honours degree in Chemistry at The Australian National University.
I am presently in my final year of a PhD in Chemical Synthesis.
I have always been inspired by progressive ideas and as a result studied a lot of art at school, which eventually drew my attention to science.
I then decided to study Physics and Chemistry at The Australian National University. Whilst studying for my degree degree I had an opportunity to undertake research at the Research School of Chemistry with Professor Martin Banwell, in which I rediscovered a reaction and proceeded to argue the against the original explanation of the reaction.
I spent my honours year proving myself wrong, whilst obtaining valuable technical skills and ultimately publishing a paper. (Another is in progress.)
I was then offered the highly sought-after Australian Post-graduate Award Industry scholarship, under which I am currently working.
The details of the project are restricted at the moment, due to the confidential nature of the data. However, in general terms, my work involves creating new molecules (based on inspiration from nature) which may boost food production. This may be used to feed people or contribute to bio-fuel production.
The most rewarding part of my current role
Getting solid evidence for something so small and fast as a chemical reaction or a chemical structure, such as obtaining an X-ray of a tiny crystal of a particular molecule that can be used to work out its structure.
I don't really get to see the results of the work that I'm doing in the community; it will be a few years down the track.
The most challenging part of my current role
The pace. New results are being generated all over the world all the time.
A new paper in my specific area probably comes out every minute, so it is literally impossible to read them all.