Hazel Tan did her Bachelor of Science at The University of Western Australia, majoring in Microbiology and Immunology, and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.
Right: Keith Pang is a Bachelor of Science graduate with majors in Engineering Science and Finance from The University of Western Australia.
The pandemic has made a lot of students rethink their overseas study plans, but sometimes it's important to look beyond the restrictions of today and measure the benefits of tomorrow.
Case in point: The University of Western Australia (UWA) continues to be the education destination of choice for many students, with those who can't make it to Perth just yet starting their degrees through the online Virtual Campus. The only university in Western Australia in the Group of Eight, five stars in Good Universities Guide 2021, ranked in the top 100 universities in the world. UWA's academic standing is superb, but what really stands out is its commitment to a holistic student experience.
Hazel Tan and Keith Pang know this well. They both experienced a UWA education firsthand as undergraduates, and have stayed to continue with their master's degrees. Here, they share some of the reasons why studying at UWA is inspiring, fulfilling and unforgettable.
How did you get interested in the field that you are studying?
Hazel: I did my Bachelor of Science at UWA, where I majored in Microbiology and Immunology, and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. My undergraduate studies were more geared towards health and medical sciences, but I later found the Master of Biomedical Science (specialising in Physiology) to be my calling. I was more interested in functions and mechanisms in body systems, and how they all interacted for our survival. Biomedical science addresses global challenges to public health, and the coursework and dissertation pathway of my degree allowed me to develop my research literacy.
Keith: I have always aspired to be an engineer. My family and friends often pointed out my interest in maths and science, and, most importantly, my profound curiosity and problem-solving nature. Being an avid fan of robotics, I sought to pursue studies in electrical and electronic engineering to fulfil my dreams. Over the years, my passion grew, and I became focused on renewable technologies. I am glad that UWA's Master of Professional Engineering course has laid out the stepping stones for me to seek a career as an electrical engineer.
Why did you choose UWA?
Hazel: It is close to my home country, Singapore, and there is no time difference. In addition, I really enjoy the weather in Perth and the pace of life here. It is not as bustling as other cities in Australia, and the slower pace of life allows me to indulge in my hobbies and interests while maintaining my academic grades. It has been a fulfilling few years in Perth while I study, exploring the natural beauty and picking up some new sports (such as cricket, netball and frisbee).
Keith: I chose to study overseas to experience different educational styles. UWA was my top choice as it is in Perth, only a five-hour flight from Singapore and it shares the same time zone. UWA exposed me to new learning opportunities – ones where I am given the chance to independently pursue knowledge – and I am enjoying the freedom of learning, where my professors have implemented open-ended projects that allow me to explore, and learn new and exciting information.
What unique learning opportunities are you enjoying most at UWA?
Hazel: I enjoy the hands-on components, such as workshops, seminars, labs and work placements. The class sizes are smaller, which encourages interactive group work and participation. My units expect independent research on my part and facilitate academic discussion, rather than being spoon-fed content.
My work placement this year was my favourite learning experience so far – I was attached to the Respiratory Medicine department in Royal Perth Hospital for a week, where I got to observe pulmonary physiology techniques. The enriching placement helped to bring the learning out of the books and into real life.
Keith: In a recent semester, I had the opportunity to design a renewable energy system for a coastal town in Western Australia. This project taught me valuable skills in engineering design and introduced me to the intricacies of developing large-scale renewable energy plants. I had numerous late nights working on this project, but have taken great pleasure in my learning.
I was also presented with unique learning opportunities that extended beyond university projects. I was fortunate to have found a place in an innovations company, where I took a role as a resident engineering intern and a team leader. This opportunity allowed me to grow my career prospects and professional character. My favourite moment in that role was when the prototype that my team worked on went live for the first time.
How has UWA's interdisciplinary double major course model benefitted you?
Hazel: The double major was very useful to me. I spent my first year contemplating and trying different majors: Anatomy and Human Biology, Pharmacology, Physiology and even Music. In my second year, I decided on Microbiology and Pathology. Expanding my network at UWA was also beneficial because I got to meet many students in various fields of study, and could get a peek at what their units were like, through their notes or even sitting in their lectures! The double major gave me plenty of time to experiment and decide what I wanted to specialise in.
Keith: As a Bachelor of Science graduate with majors in Engineering Science and Finance, I found UWA's interdisciplinary double major course model very beneficial towards my career, as I am equipped with broader knowledge outside of my main expertise. A good example would be my recent internship in an innovations company, where I used my financial understanding to create engineering project budgets as part of my work.
What advice would you give to aspiring students considering your university?
Hazel: Be brave and step outside your comfort zone! This can be applied to trying different units outside your area of study, studying abroad with partner universities, joining different clubs and societies, or getting involved at the UWA Student Guild. University life at UWA is vibrant and it would be a shame to graduate with only a degree on paper and nothing else.
Keith: Having been a student here for more than three years, I deeply appreciate that UWA does not just provide you with an educational qualification. Instead, it offers priceless opportunities to engage and socialise with a diverse global community of like-minded high achievers. If you are considering to study at UWA, my advice is to leverage these opportunities to make friends and connections with international counterparts within your area of interest.