Maany explores the surrounds of Brisbane during a hike.
Maany explores the surrounds of Brisbane during a hike.
Program: Master of Biotechnology (Advanced)
Country of Origin: India
Why did you choose your current program at UQ?
The major reason why I chose UQ is because of the flexibility of the program. Though it is a course-work degree, students get the freedom to choose research components within any of the research institutes affiliated to UQ. This provides students with access to a whole diversity of areas within the Biotechnology spectrum. The structure of the program is very student friendly and I wanted to pursue my higher studies at UQ the minute I realised this.
What were your first impressions of Brisbane and UQ?
I was told that studying in Australia is an untrodden path and not many people back from my home town knew about Brisbane. Hence I had to undertake this venture all by myself with a lot of questions in my head. However I was surprised when I reached Brisbane. It was such a welcoming and warm city and made me feel like I was in a second home. I had arranged for a meeting with Dr Ross Barnard, Director of the Biotechnology program on the same week I arrived here. I found the academic capability of UQ exceptional and the pleasant environment of the campus excited me. I felt like I was in a place where I truly belong.
What are your impressions of Science at UQ?
Since I was from India where the educational system was completely different, I found the lectures and the assignments initially daunting. I approached some of my professors and they offered to help me out with understanding the system better. It didn’t take me more than a couple of weeks to get used to it. The research opportunities have a wider spectrum at UQ with so many different areas to choose from. I realised that UQ values innovation and students get to experiment and innovate which attracted me. I received a lot of support from the Student mentoring program organised by the School of Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences (SCMB). I also managed to make some really good friends in class. Though we were from different backgrounds, the group assignments helped us to learn to work with each other.
What has been a highlight of your studies so far?
I would say that the first most important thing is that I finished my first semester with a good grade point average (GPA). But on a more professional scale, I would the say that the biggest highlight was my participation in the UQ Summer Research Program. The program was highly competitive to get into. However due to timely networking with my professor from the Australian Institute of Bio-engineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) and my supervisor and my prior exposure to lab techniques, I was selected for the program. I am currently working on cell line development for industrial antibody production with the Gray group at AIBN.
What extracurricular activities are you involved in? 
I volunteered as an events assistant for the Ausbiotech National Conference held at the Brisbane Convention Centre. I am an active student member of Ausbiotech and regularly attend their events in and around Queensland. I also participated in the SCMB Postgraduate Research Symposium in which I presented my research work submitted for my Bachelor’s degree. I have also been chosen as the community networker of UQ at Urbanest, South Bank for 2014. This role enables me to interact with students from all corners of the world and help me improve my networking capabilities.
What do you plan to do after graduation?
I am planning to continue my research under UQ as a PhD student if I am offered a scholarship. Alternatively the Biotechnology industry in Australia is blooming and I would love to be a part of it if given the opportunity.
Do you have any advice for students from your country that are thinking about studying Science at UQ?
The only suggestion that I would like to give students from India is to try and understand the fact that opportunities in any field are the same no matter which country they go to. It is entirely up to the individual to look out for them and make use of them. Hence I would advise them to recognise the opportunities available at UQ and utilise them wisely.
Choose three words to describe your study experience in Australia:
  • Mind-blowing
  • Inspirational
  • Engaging

Three things that you missed most from home:
  • My parents
  • Indian food
  • The pampering

For more information on this program, please click here