Simona Sarmiento

Winter Research scholar
Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
Summer Research scholar
School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences

My UQ experience began with a shaky start, I didn't know what the university lifestyle was, who to see about issues I had and more importantly what my degree could do for me. As I progressed through my degree, I went through a process of elimination to find out what I wanted to do, this included the UQ Summer Research Program at the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences (SCMB). This opportunity opened my eyes to the possibilities of what I could do and achieve at UQ.

This led me to participate in the UQ Winter Research Program, during which I found the laboratory where I will spend my honours year. Not only have I gained a wealth of knowledge in terms of technical and analytical skills, but I have made contacts with other students studying similar majors and staff members/post doctorates who have been instrumental in aiding my acceptance into the School of Biomedical Sciences Honours program at the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN).

I very nearly did not apply for the UQ Summer research program nor the Winter research program because I thought I would definitely not be selected due to their popularity driving up GPA cut-offs. However, I was accepted and thoroughly enjoyed this experience. Furthermore, through my enthusiasm and hard work I did well. My advice to students is - give everything a go. Only through knowing what you don't want to do, will you know what you do want to do. Additionally, the great experiences made possible by our university are more often than not quite unique! You never quite know where participation in something could lead you.

I have recently accepted the "Postgraduate Studies" portfolio for the Science Undergraduate Student Society. My motivation for doing so was to make a difference in the UQ community in my final year, in particular to bring together honours and PhD students, and postdoctoral researchers. Ideally to keep them in touch with university life outside of the laboratory and help them to engage with current undergraduate students who are currently discovering what a UQ science degree can do for them.

My UQ Advantage incorporates the experiences I have been afforded by the programs devised by this university to aid our growth and development academically, socially, professionally and culturally. Academically, OUE has enriched my skills, knowledge and discipline towards my chosen field of study. Professionally my career prospects have been enhanced through the scholarship experiences I have received. Socially, the Summer and Winter Research programs have helped me extend my networks. Additionally, as a trilinguist, UQ has introduced me to people from a range of cultural backgrounds, deepening my knowledge and respect for others.

Simona Sarmiento