If you’ve ever met third year UNSW BABS PhD student Liam Cheney, then you would understand that here stands a motivated graduate student – a student who understands that he can create opportunities for his future and has gone in search of such opportunities.

As Liam says, ‘Everything started with the IMNIS Mentoring Program’. UNSW is a member of the Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS) which connected Liam to his mentor, Dr Brendan Hamdorf. In monthly meetings, himself and Hamdorf discussed potential job opportunities, career progressions, skills to develop, and the importance of networking.

Liam was prepared for his mentoring sessions with Hamdorf. He had previously honed his communication skills with the 3-minute thesis pitch competition. For skilfully explaining his research was he awarded both People’s Choice and Runner Up at the university level.

This experience developed Liam’s ability to sell his ideas and himself – an essential skill that he used to find key contacts in the science commercialisation field on LinkedIn, and further

invited them for coffee and advice. It was then Liam took advantage of an internship opportunity advertised on LinkedIn by GenePath Laboratories– a company that uses the latest genetic technologies for preventative health screening in newborn babies and parents. 

In collaboration with APR Intern, his internship systematically reviewed 16 in silico algorithms that predicted the disease-causing likelihood of over 40,000 mutations. These findings provided valuable insights to help inform parents about the carrier status of their young children.

Looking forward, Liam has less 1.5 years to complete his doctorate, and is actively engaging with professionals from different science commercialisation roles to better understand his own future direction. He knows he enjoys problem solving and communicating the solutions. Liam’s search for opportunities has clearly created many!