Kylee Aumann: Chemistry

I found that organic chemistry suited my love of applying logic and solving problems.

"I enrolled in the inaugural intake of a Bachelor of Biomedical Science in 1999 and transferred to a Bachelor of Science in 2000 to pursue a double major in chemistry and pharmacology. I found that organic chemistry suited my love of applying logic and solving problems, rather than rote-learning pathways and processes. After completing Honours and a PhD in organic chemistry, I did five years of synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry postdoctoral research at the University of Sydney, Astra Zeneca laboratories at the Eskitis Institute, and the Brain and Mind Research Institute. In this time it became clear to me that although I enjoyed research, this was not the case for wet lab work.

Fortunately, my postdoctoral positions had also given me experience in lab and project management, and I decided to build on these skills by accepting a position as a Scientific Coordinator for the Chemical Biology division at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) in 2011. This role allowed me to build my business skillset in finance, business development, strategy and compliance. In 2014, I transitioned into a Strategic Project Manager role, where I managed and co-authored the development of WEHI's 2016 – 2020 Strategic Plan and a campus optimization program.

Along the way I've gradually refined what it is that I'm looking for in a career: it is helping people to use evidence and logic to plan effectively and to develop robust strategies and then use this to drive efficiency. To this end, I've recently changed roles again and joined the mid-size strategy consulting firm Strategic Project Partners. With a strong background in research and business, I'm ideally placed to work at the interface of higher education, government and industry, and have been working to help clients develop strategy and business cases (amongst other projects). Consulting is a career where no two days are the same, but I'm always working to help someone improve their situation, process or product; this suits me well."

This article originally appeared in Engage on the Faculty of Science School of Chemistry website.

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