Dr Gazaleh Dashti was awarded the Melbourne Research Scholarship in 2016 and began her PhD at the Centre of Epidemiology and Biostatistics within the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health.
What led you to study at the University of Melbourne?
I chose the to study at the University of Melbourne because it was among the top universities globally and Melbourne is known as one of the best cities for students.
The Master Public Health program at Melbourne School of Population and Global Health was a very exciting and flexible program. It had a great variety of electives that covered important current issues in public and global health, and offered the opportunity to specialise in specific streams within public health.
What are your strongest memories of your time at the University of Melbourne?
I must say the sense of community and a feeling of belonging.
I moved to Melbourne from Tehran, Iran, and from day one staff and students at the University of Melbourne made me feel very welcomed and valued. I felt not only comfortable, but also encouraged to contribute and participate. When I first moved to Melbourne, like many other students and in particular international students, I was scared and unsure. But this feeling of being included changed me into a very happy, excited, active, and confident student and member of my community.
What goals did yourself when you finished University and have you stuck to that plan?
After completing my Mater of Public Health, I knew I wanted to work for a few years and then start a PhD. I did stick to that plan and I am now enrolled as a PhD student at Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, at the University of Melbourne.
What/ who motivated you at University?
All staff and students at the University and the School. Their diversity, skills, knowledge, stories, and aspirations inspired me. But more importantly, as I’ve said, it was the feeling of belonging and being included that motivated me day after day.
What motivates you now?
I believe in the core values underlying public health practice, I am very passionate about my field of research, and I am surrounded by like-minded and extraordinary people.
I still work and study at the University of Melbourne, where I continue to have the opportunity to engage with our amazing staff and student body, to learn from them, to give back to them, to play my role in making new members of our community feel welcomed as I was made when I first started, and to contribute to our highly valued culture of inclusion and respect at the University of Melbourne. All these motivate me.
What advice to you have for current students?
Put yourself out there, take risks, and push yourself out of your comfort zone. These are very important for long-term success and I think the friendly and supportive environment of the University is the best place to start practicing them.
I’d also say ask for help when you need it and don’t ever feel you are on your own. The University has lots of great support services, both for our academic life and personal life. Benefit from them.
And most importantly, take very good care of yourself.