If you’ve ever met third year UNSW BABS PhD student Liam Cheney, then you would understand that he is a motivated graduate student – a student who understands that he can create opportunities for his future. He 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 with Hamdorf, he discussed potential job opportunities, career progressions, skills to develop and the importance of networking.
Liam was prepared for his mentoring sessions with Dr Hamdorf. He honed his communication skills with the 3-minute thesis pitch competition, winning the People’s Choice and Runner Up awards 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. He then invited these contacts for coffee and sought their advice.
Liam applied for 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 Australian Postgraduate Research Intern (APR.Intern), his internship 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 than 18 months to complete his doctorate and is actively engaging with professionals from different science commercialisation roles to better understand his future direction. He knows he enjoys problem-solving and communicating the solutions. Liam has created opportunities where he can do both.
BABS engagement with industry and government helps students to develop the skills and networks to translate and commercialise biotechnology and life science research.
Biotechnology students in BABS and UNSW Science are encouraged to participate in internships, industry placements, and relevant national and international programs to gain experience and awareness of career opportunities.