Meet Sherine, a third year Biomedicine student who has been able to combine her love for Spanish and Latin American studies, and her passion for social work, with her goals to work in public health in developing nations.

At the end of 2019, she will receive her Bachelor of Biomedicine. It will be the combination of technical skills combined with her language and writing subjects that will make her a more employable graduate. “I am currently doing a breadth track in Spanish, and plan to complete my Diploma in Languages with a focus on Spanish. I believe languages play an incredibly important role to our understanding and perspective of the world, and it is so beautiful to be able to learn about different cultures and share this knowledge with others. However, one thing I've found quite challenging would definitely be essay writing. Due to my predominantly science background, I never expected to write a university essay. It was definitely difficult to accustom myself in such a short period of time to essay writing, but I believe this is such a critical life skill that is often overlooked and underestimated if you stem from a science background.

“I admire the versatility of the course structure here at the University of Melbourne. The course is tailored to allow students to explore various areas in the discipline without limiting us to a Biomedical course that purely addresses human biology. In fact, one of our core subjects (Experimental Design and Data Analysis) was pivotal in aiding my decision for further study. I also appreciate how the university encourages us to undertake subjects that are independent of our academic discipline in order to exercise the importance of adaptability across the curriculum."

Sherine is a future scientist professional who can communicate data.

Sherine appreciates that getting involved in projects related to her career goals will help her be job-ready upon graduation. Being part of Australia’s number one university for graduate employability is a good start, and the university connections allow her to access a range of organisations and societies with ease. She also credits her lecturers and tutors to her personal and professional development. “I find that there has been quite an equal divide between our male and female lecturers, which definitely provides a lot of female students with role models to work with and create aspirations for careers in the STEM industry.”

Volunteering has been a priority for her and has allowed her to follow her passion for human rights and social work. “I am currently the Volunteer Coordinator the NGO One Girl, which provides females access to education in Sierra Leone and Uganda. One Girl has a strong focus on equipping the local community with skills to improve the accessibility and quality of education in these regions. As a Volunteer Coordinator, I ensure a strong sense of purpose and belonging is fortified between volunteers, as well as increasing engagement and involvement of our volunteers across our various projects." She has also been an active member of the University of Melbourne chapter of Amnesty International since her first year. In mid 2017, she took up the role of President – one of the highlights of her university experience so far - and loves working with a dynamic team of individuals who are so driven in their commitment to human rights.

So, what’s does the future look like for this high achiever? “I’d like to have a career evaluating healthcare policies, procedures and legislations, ensuring that the people these policies are subjected to are able to truly benefit from them, and that they receive adequate access to the healthcare regardless of their circumstances. What excites me most about the future of work in STEM is the potential we have to impact individuals on both a regional, and global scale due to emerging technologies.

As a young woman of Indian heritage, growing up in Malaysia, she has developed a deep appreciation for diversity, having the ability to see things from a range of different cultural and social perspectives. Sherine looks forward to working towards combatting the organisational, institutional and cultural barriers acting as a hindrance to the involvement of women in STEM and hopes to inspire others to follow their passions. “Your potential will never be limited by the parameters of gender, thus neither should your opportunity to get involved and incite the change you wish to see. The STEM industry is realising this; it's now up to us women to catalyse this change!”

Her advice to students starting at the University of Melbourne is to just get involved in a range of clubs, societies and social groups. “Do as much as you can to enrich yourself and make the most of your time here. You are the author of your own experiences, and the ability to orchestrate your university experience is literally in your hands; it's like a bowl of assorted candy, with each endeavour you choose to delve into providing you with a uniquely enriching experience. I am a huge advocate for the importance of a holistic education, and I believe the University of Melbourne provides us with a myriad of opportunities waiting to be grasped by those who choose to embrace them - so don't hesitate, you never know until you try!”

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