Molly Copeland has a plan to study a Doctor of Medicine at the University of Melbourne, once she completes her Bachelor of Science. Coming from a small high school in regional Victoria, Molly will always have a tie to her community and wants to continue to working with rural communities upon graduation.

Molly knew that studying at Melbourne would allow her to gain a world-class education and soft-skills that she could take back to her community. But it was certainly a change of scenery moving to the city. “One of the more challenging things for me was adjusting to the sheer number of people I saw on campus every day. Back home, I was used to class sizes of fifteen at the most. At uni, that number could easily reach 500. However, the size and style of classes presented a unique opportunity to adjust my study methods and become more flexible as a student, which is a valuable lesson in itself.

“Through the Faculty of Science, I have been lucky enough to volunteer with the Science Delivery Program, which was an outreach program designed to encourage students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) subjects in their VCE and beyond. Through this program I was also introduced to the Leaders in Communities Award, which I have found a valuable addition to my studies. As part of my LiCA, I also volunteer with the Doxa Youth Foundation which runs leadership camps for students from low SES backgrounds.

She chose to study the Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne because she wanted a pathway into Medicine that would allow her to explore her other passions and study some breadth subjects. “In my first year, I took a subject called Creativity, Play and the Arts run by the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. It gave me some fascinating insight into the value of the arts in early childhood education and fed into another of my passions; working with young people. It's been really interesting to see a fresh perspective on things you take for granted about education and the impact that a different approach can have. I've found the subjects run by the MGSE to be valuable additions to both my degree and my life outside of university, inspiring me to pursue my passion of working with young people through my volunteering.

“But the highlight of my uni experience so far has been the opportunities I've been given this year in some of my classes. Through Anatomy I've had the chance to study real human specimens in both practical classes and at the Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology. I've also had the chance to interact with other medical students and gain valuable insights from them into what the Doctor of Medicine is like. Through my Pathology subjects I've also had the opportunity to attend practical classes at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute as well as receive lectures from some of the leading researchers in the field of Pathology.

“The university as a whole is very supportive of women in STEM. Something I've very much appreciated about my degree so far is the number of female role models I've had. Associate Professor Vicki Lawson was the first lecturer I really got the chance to know and I admire how much effort she puts into coordinating subjects and presenting lectures while also completing her own research. I'm always excited to attend her lectures and I find the content completely fascinating. I'm very much looking forward to undertaking my major with her next year.

Molly also has found inspiration from her interactions with the leading research laboratories in Australia. “Over the course of my degree I've had the opportunity to visit the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Bio21 and the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, as well as some of the research labs on campus. It's very exciting to be studying in such a prestigious, well-equipped research hub.”

Her advice to other students considering studying the Bachelor of Science is to just go for it! “Studying Science at university is vastly different to studying it at high school… there really is something for everyone. It gives you so many options for university and beyond - the career options and pathways are endless and you’ll gain valuable skills you can apply to nearly any job, so if you're even a little bit interested, it's worth looking into STEM degrees.”

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