"I am currently pursuing a PhD in the field of Medicine at the University of Melbourne. It offers an opportunity to attain high-level research skills which are required for my current role as a researcher and lecturer at my workplace… [and the] Master of Biomedical Science offers the opportunity to develop academically and professionally in the field of research."
She is a lecturer in the Department of Pharmacology at the Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Sriwijaya in Palembang, Indonesia. She received an Australia Awards Scholarship from the Australian Government in 2014.
Ayeshah's PhD focuses on cardiovascular pharmacology, drug discovery, iPSCs and mitochondria.
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Why a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)?
I am currently pursuing a PhD in the field of Medicine at the University of Melbourne. It offers an opportunity to attain high-level research skills which are required for my current role as a researcher and lecturer at my workplace. This course also enables me to pursue a continuity in my academic career as a lecturer.
As a lecturer, I have obligations in teaching, research and community service. I develop my role as an educator and conduct general community service for better community health. I also do research in pharmacology.
The most enjoyable thing about my job is when I get to share my knowledge and skills with undergraduates. I always try to teach them soft skills that will be useful for them when they come into contact with the community after they graduate. It is very rewarding when they give feedback as it gives me the chance to do self-introspection and also helps me to develop as a professional.
My goal is to implement the research and soft skills that I gain throughout my studies in my workplace, and it has been going very well indeed. There were some challenges as I transitioned from ‘school life’ to ‘work life’ again. However, overcoming those challenges helped me grow personally and professionally.
Why the Master of Biomedical Science?
I chose the Master of Biomedical Science at the University of Melbourne because the course was somewhat flexible, as it offered a large research component and enabled me to choose subjects relevant to my research.
I worked as an assistant lecturer at Universitas Sriwijaya in Indonesia and I wanted to explore the next steps in my career. I was attracted to the range of subjects, with everything from pharmacology and physiology to science communication and business available. I was also drawn into cardiovascular research, where I focused on mitochondria in stem cells of the heart.
Science is all about working with others and the more exposure you have to other researchers, the more opportunities for future collaboration. Studying off-site at research institutes like St Vincent’s Institute and learning from lecturers who are active researchers was very inspiring. It opened my mind to the opportunities for a career in research.
In the Master of Biomedical Science, every biomedical student has a different variety of subjects which are dependent on the research that they are doing. This course also provided professional subjects, such as statistics, business and communication, and these were helpful during the execution of my research and opportunities to disseminate in the future.
The most interesting thing was experiencing what it was like to be a coursework and a research student.
As a coursework student, due to my diverse subject selection, I got to mingle with undergraduates and other postgraduates from different courses. As I was already used to being in a working environment, it was a fun ‘back to school’ experience for me.
Furthermore, as everyone spoke different languages, we mostly didn’t talk about our studies, but about club activities and other trending events on at that time.
As a research student, I got to experience being in a circle of people with different research focuses. It was very interesting to be involved in conversations about their research and how to make it better, it even led to a collaboration. On Fridays, we would leave earlier than usual to set aside our lab work and eat out together as a group. It was always very enlightening, especially after a week of lab work.
Why the University of Melbourne?
I was captivated by the reputation of the University of Melbourne, as it is the most renowned university in Australia and is in the top 50 in the world.
But what fascinated me the most was its vast research output, particularly in the field of medicine. The University also shows how it values its research highly, as shown by the key research initiatives, some of which were relevant to my discipline.
The University’s Parkville precinct is also in proximity of well-known research centres (such as the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre) and hospitals (such as the Royal Melbourne Hospital) which allow an efficient research collaboration.
The University of Melbourne offers a complete package of support, not just academic but also social support. The city is very vibrant too, it is a great place to live. I initially found it hard to find time for everything I wanted to do, but the flexible course structure helped me strike a balance.
I returned to Indonesia and worked as a junior lecturer for a couple of years, and now I’m taking a break to pursue my PhD back here in Melbourne. When I graduate, I plan to return to Universitas Sriwijaya to share my passion for research and investigate ways to improve the education we offer.
I’d like to integrate more research elements in our undergraduate programs, so that students can be exposed to it earlier in their studies. Studying at the University of Melbourne has helped me realise how important this is.
There are many, however one of the most memorable ones was the sense of togetherness. Being an international student can be quite challenging as most of us don’t have our families to physically support us. However, I was very thankful for my friends at the University and in the lab, who constantly showed support throughout the years. The sense of togetherness shone through until the end and most of us are still in contact, even now.
Salah satu yang paling berkesan adalah adanya rasa kebersamaan selama studi saya. Studi di luar negeri bisa sangat menantang, terutama ketika jauh dari keluarga. Namun, saya sangat beruntung dan berterima kasih kepada teman-teman di Universitas dan di lab atas dukungan moral mereka sepanjang studi saya. Rasa kebersamaan ini sangat terasa hingga akhir studi saya. Bahkan, sebagian besar dari kami masih berhubungan hingga sekarang.
Advice for students
The Master of Biomedical Science offers the opportunity to develop academically and professionally in the field of research.
Please choose your subjects carefully as it will allow you to deepen the knowledge relevant to the research you are carrying out. This course is indeed a path to various career opportunities (not only to PhD), so it is very useful to elect professional subjects such as those in business and communication.
Overall, the Master of Biomedical Science helps you to develop many perspectives in science towards a successful professional career.
Master of Biomedical Science menawarkan kesempatan untuk berkembang secara akademis dan profesional di bidang penelitian. Perlu pertimbangan dalam memilih subjek mata kuliah karena hal ini berkaitan dengan kesempatan untuk memperdalam pengetahuan yang relevan untuk proyek penelitian Anda. Kursus ini membuka jalan menuju berbagai peluang karir (tidak hanya untuk PhD), sehingga saya sangat menyarankan untuk memilih subjek mata kuliah profesional seperti bisnis dan komunikasi. Secara keseluruhan, Master of Biomedical Science dapat membantu untuk mengembangkan banyak perspektif dalam sains menuju karir yang sukses secara profesional.
Transition to university:
Moving away from home to experience what the University has to offer was a tough decision. I was very lucky to have such a supportive family and a very considerate scholarship committee. The Pre-departure Training in Indonesia as well as the Introductory Academic Program in Australia helped me tremendously to overcome the doubts and challenges. I came to realise that some sacrifices are necessary to attain golden opportunities. However, good preparation and mental support were the keys to success. In the end, I was better equipped mentally and in terms of skills.
Australia Award Scholarship:
I received a scholarship from the Australian Government, which is the Australia Awards Scholarship in 2014.
It benefited me a lot as it not only supported me financially, but also academically and mentally by providing introductory academic programs before the commencement of my studies, both in Indonesia and in Australia. This helped me tremendously in preparing for the academic and social culture in Australia.
During this time, this program exposed me to other inspiring national, as well as, international high-achieving scholarship recipients. Their impactful achievements for their community made me want to contribute to my own community when I returned after completing my masters.