Study what you enjoy. That’s the advice of graduand Max Pickering, who will receive his Bachelor of Science (Mathematics and Chemistry) degree this week.

The future Air Force pilot had the option to pursue any UNSW Canberra degree while at the Australian Defence Force Academy. Max chose maths and science as they were his favourite subjects in high school.

He said the subjects have helped him develop the analytical thinking skills that will be valuable in his ADF career. The University’s connection to Defence has also provided some unique opportunities.

“The lecturers at UNSW Canberra – especially the Maths and Science departments – are fantastic. I have also been able to do some limited research work throughout my studies which has been very engaging,” Max said.

“One particular highlight was an explosives field school for a chemistry subject, which gave us an opportunity to see the real-world applications of what we were learning. It is opportunities like this that make UNSW Canberra and its association to the military particularly special.”

Though combining military and tertiary studies sounds like a heavy workload, Max said it was manageable.

“ADFA is a unique environment as you don’t need to manage university studies and outside employment,” he said.

“The military does a lot of good work in giving trainees opportunities to succeed in their academic studies.”

Studying subjects he was interested in also “made hard work far easier”.

It may be graduation week, but it’s not the end of Max’s time at UNSW Canberra.

“I have been given the opportunity to stay at ADFA to continue study through an Honours year where I will do research into neutralising explosives,” Max said.

“Whilst not directly relevant to my job, I am looking forward to being able to contribute to the ADF in a research capacity. In 2021 I will progress into pilot training at RAAF East Sale.”

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