Where do you currently work?
University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
What exactly does your work/job entail?
My days are quite varied but generally my work day is divided between teaching, research and administrative duties. In regards to my teaching duties I coordinate two very large first year science subjects (Principles of Scientific Practice and Chemistry 1) so often I am preparing materials to be delivered each week. If I am lucky I will have a lecture on which are the favourite parts of my day.
My research area is still within forensic science, so I will often be helping my honours or PhD students with their work whether it be in the areas of fingermarks, criminalistics or forensic intelligence. While I don't get to be in the lab as much as I used to I enjoy being about to help students with their projects and share my experience.
As program director for the Bachelor of Forensic Science I also have a number of administrative duties which means I spend quite a bit of time speaking to other academics and making sure that the course is being delivered in the best possible way.
What part of your work inspires you the most? Why do you find it interesting?
Definitely the interactions with students, while in a lecture it may be hard speak directly to students I enjoy coming down to the labs or workshop classes and speaking to students about the work they are doing and their experiences at university. I really enjoy being able to talk with students about how they are going and helping them with their work.
How did you get to your current role?
During my PhD I was very lucky to be able to help out during the practical classes, this was a real life-changing experience for me. I found I really enjoyed helping students and sharing my knowledge with them. This then lead to an opportunity while I was finishing my PhD to lecture first year chemistry for four weeks. After completing my PhD I was faced with a choice of pursuing a career in the forensic industry (something I had always imagined myself doing) or pursuing a career in academia. I found that teaching came very naturally to me and I would often prioritise my teaching over my PhD, so from there I was able to expand my role and help lecture and coordinate other subjects.
Do you find the skills you learnt during your degree useful and versatile? If so how?
Absolutely, while I may not use everything I learnt, the forensic science program gave me the essential skills of critical, analytical, time management, organisation and problem solving skills. These skills are essential to my day to day life and while I may not use them to help solve and prevent crime, I would not be able to do my job without these skills.
I also think that this degree gave me a really strong work ethic; I know that during the semesters there was a lot of work to do and so little time, but this help to prepare me for the workload associated with honours and PhD. It also gave me a good amount of self-motivation (an essential characteristic for anyone considering postgraduate study) which I still use to this day.
Have you had any achievements or news that you'd like to share with the UTS Alumni community?
In 2016 I was awarded a Vice-Chancellors Teaching and Learning Award for my work in developing students’ professional identity in Chemistry 1.