Student Testimonials

Jeremy Collette Jeremy Collette

Bachelor of Computer Science

Jeremy's Story

Where is your home town?

I grew up in the southern suburbs of Sydney and studied at Cronulla High School.

Why did you choose to study your specific degree?

I chose to study Computer Science because I was interested in computing from a young age. My fascination for computer programming started when I began writing modifications for my favourite video game in high school.

What was your best experience studying science at UNE?

My best experience at UNE was living on campus. I made lifelong friends from all over the country and memories that I will always cherish. Living on campus is the best way to experience everything that UNE has to offer... O-week was one of the best weeks of my life! The colleges have great academic support systems, which allow you to excel alongside your peers. The colleges also provide many opportunities for self-development through various leadership positions, such as being part of the social committees or becoming a Resident Fellow or Academic Mentor.

I also enjoyed small class sizes which allowed me to know my lecturers on a first name basis and work alongside them. It was always easy to get in contact with course staff if I needed help.

I also participated in the New England Award, which was a great chance to undertake some extra-curriculum activities during my studies. This encouraged me to become a local soccer referee, which helped me stay active and get out of bed on Saturday mornings!

What are your future plans?

I'm currently doing research in robotics, writing software for robots in the RoboCup, an autonomous robotics soccer competition. Once we put the robots on the soccer field, we're not allowed to interact with them in any way (there's no remote control!). The robots have to be able to find the ball, pass it to team mates, and score goals against the opposition using the software we write. It's a daunting task but it can be loads of fun!

I'll be doing a software engineering internship at Dolby Laboratories over the summer, which will be my first taste of working at a big software company. My dream job is to work in Tokyo, which I'm hoping to do sometime in the future.

Sami DimondSami Dimond

Bachelor of Ecology

Sami's Story

Why did you choose to study your specific degree?
I have a great passion for wildlife and the environment particularly endangered apex species so I started studying Bachelor of Zoology majoring in Ecology in 2012. However at the end of 2014 I decided to change to a straight Bachelor of Ecology as I found the available units aligned with my personal interests and believe it will give me greater exposer to the industry that I wish to work in the near future.

Best thing about UNE?
I was lucky enough to travel to Bhutan earlier this year to study Himalayan Ecology and Biogeography. An amazing experience that enabled me to gain vast knowledge and appreciation of the ecology and incredible wildlife of Bhutan and the Himalayas. I left Bhutan knowing this is the field I want to work in and that I am following my heart.

Career Aspirations?
Don't have any set plans yet keeping my options open, but I'd like to look at my postgraduate options and see where they take me. I definitely want to work with wildlife in some form and more particularly with large apex species.

Ermias Zerazlon Ermias Zerazion

Bachelor of Computer Science

Ermias' Story

Where is your home town?

Armidale at the moment but I'm originally from Eritrea, Eastern Africa.

Why Did you choose this specific degree?

I have a Diploma in Graphic Design. This helps me to see the digital world and what it holds. We are in the Digital age, and it affects every aspect our lives, helping us in solving our problems in many ways. Somebody said computers are dumb, but they are really good at following instructions. When they do things following the instruction you gave them, they do it perfectly and marvel you. Isn’t is good to be someone who turns dumb into a smart tool? That is what computer scientists do and that is why I like it.

What is your best experience studying at UNE?

My best experience is meeting students from different countries, learning their culture and sharing experiences.

Ruth PalssonRuth Palsson

Graduate Diploma of Science

Ruth's Story

What made you choose UNE?
Although I had been a maths teacher for many years, I initially studied botany and mathematics at UQ in preparation for a career in teaching. As my family responsibilities decreased, I was able to spend time photographing and trying to identifying plants I had found while bushwalking. I wanted to improve my poor plant identification skills and heard about the subject BOTY203 at UNE. I considered enrolling in just BOTY203 but discovered it was much cheaper to enroll in a Graduate Diploma of Science (Botany) and study it as BOTY403. I had no intention of completing the diploma!I  But, I have always wanted to know a bit more about soils, so after successfully completing BOTY403 I studied SOIL220. SOIL220 was not part of the program for the Graduate Diploma of Science (Botany), but several emails later I had approval. In the program for Graduate Diploma of Science (Botany), there were other subjects that were interesting, so I decided to complete the diploma - just for fun. I had no intention of using my studies professionally. I was studying for my own interest. One of my favourite things to do is to try to identify a plant that is new to me.

Best thing about UNE?
1. As a result of studying BOTY390, a friend and I were able to go to Gibraltar Range National Park (GRNP) and extend the known range of the Acacia beadleana, a plant currently only known from three populations in GRNP. We increased the known size of one of the populations and have plans to do further exploration. We also know more places it isn't!
2. I was successful in my application to study Himalayan Ecology and Biogeography as part of the ERS Special Topics Field Trip - Himalaya. This included a two week trip to Bhutan - lots of new plants!

Career Aspirations?
In February 2015, I had just retired from teaching for the second time and was completing the 7 week Student's Volunteer Botanical Internship Program (now replaced by the Volunteer Botanical Training Program) at the Australian National Herbarium in Canberra as part of WORK500 when a friend convinced me to apply for a job with her boss who runs an ecological consultancy in Sydney. My application was successful and I now work part time (3 weeks out of 4) as a botanist/ecologist/mapper. One of my final subjects was EM534 Introduction to GIS and Spatial Thinking - again this subject was not part of the program for the Graduate Diploma of Science (Botany), but again several emails later I had approval.
I am now in the process of planning my masters!! There are still a couple of subjects I want to study and I want to do a project.

Alex Shaw Alec Shaw

Master of Information Technology

Alec's Story

What made you choose UNE?

I had settled on the fact that I wanted to do a Master of Information Technology and was looking around at different universities. I decided on UNE for a number of reasons. Everyone I spoke to about UNE, only had positive things to say. I myself have had a great experience with a different degree at UNE and the external facilities that UNE provides are incredible. Everything is extremely simple to use and the whole system is very flexible.

Why did you choose to study your specific degree?

I have been working in the field of Information Technology for a while and wanted to extend my skills and potentially move into some new and interesting fields. For example, in my Bachelor degree at SCU, I did an introductory course in Artificial Intelligence and although the content was quite basic (being an introductory course) it did wet my appetite enough to elect the Artificial Intelligence unit for my Masters at UNE. I have since been delving further and further into it and find the whole field very interesting. Another reason for wanting to do my degree was the possibility of using the skills in my work, allowing me to open new doors and directions to take the business in.

What is your best experience studying science at UNE?

My best experience actually started with my most dreaded unit. I found out that I had to do a literature review in one of the necessary units for my degree. I had never done a literature review before and was really dreading the idea of it. As such I put the unit off for as long as possible. When the time came that I had to enroll, I was still not enjoying the idea of it. However, the mentor/supervisor that I got for the unit was incredible. With his guidance and support, I not only completed the review and unit but I enjoyed it immensely! It opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities and it has definitely made me want to do more research based activities.

Dane LyddiardDane Lyddiard

PhD in Human Biology

Dane's Story

What made you choose UNE?
I wanted to study microbiology and/or botany but was working full time in Wollongong.  UNE allowed me to study a double major in microbiology and botany by distance, while I worked.  The intensive schools and assignments ensured I also got the hands-on experience I needed.  I naturally progressed to complete my honours and then begin my PhD on-campus at UNE.

Best thing about UNE?
I met fantastic students from all over Australia at the same time as receiving a quality education.

Career Aspirations?
Ideally I would like a post-doctoral research position or a teaching/research position so I can continue to do what I enjoy.

Hawlader Al-Mamun Hawlader Al-Mamun

PhD in Computer Science

Hawlader's Story

Where is your home town?

I'm from Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a small country in South Asia. I did my bachelor in computer science from Khulna University, Bangladesh, and my Masters in bioinformatics from Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Why did you choose to study your specific course?

I had my bachelor and Masters from two different fields which always inspired me to do research on some cross-disciplinary topic. So when I started my PhD I started with a pure bioinformatics topic. However as time goes my research area was gradually shifted towards statistical genetics/quantitative genetics applied to agriculture. This is because UNE is one of top agricultural research institutes in Australia and has world class research facilities and renown researchers in this field.

What was your best experience studying science at UNE?

My best experience at UNE was the tremendous support I had received from my supervisors during the entire period of my PhD. My supervisors were highly accessible and supportive whenever I had any difficulties with my study.

What are your future plans?

I completed my PhD in 2015 and right after, I started to work at UNE as a Junior Research Fellow. Currently, I'm working as a Research Fellow for an ARC Discovery Project. My future plan is to build my career either as an academic or as a researcher.