Anjaleena Anthony, PhD student and IMNIS mentee in the 2017 MedTech-Pharma program in VIC ( Melbourne University).

“I feel much more confident after embarking on this year long journey with IMNIS.”

Anjaleena Anthony is a final stage PhD student at Peter Doherty Institute (Melbourne University), working on the immunology of Malaria in pregnant women. Anjaleena came to Australia in 2012 with a strong passion in the Biotechnology sector, and ever since she has accomplished numerous milestones, both personally and professionally. During her masters’ degree at La Trobe University, she embraced her naïve steps in academic research with a core focus on Immunology. Along this journey she also kept keen interest in career engagement outside her laboratory arena. This pro-active attitude of hers led to many adventures and key learning outcomes in the areas of teaching, community volunteering, networking etiquettes, creative writing, communication skills and time management. A mix of such key skills led to a tremendous boost to her confidence and further involvement in leadership roles during her PhD journey.

Currently, she is the Secretary of PhD students’ association at the Doherty Institute and also represents Doherty PhD cohort on the Institute’s recently established industry advisory committee. She is also a casual demonstrator at the school outreach centre, namely, Gene Technology Access Centre (GTAC). She is part of the 2017 IMNIS MedTech-Pharma Program run in Victoria. IMNIS has been a significant career boost that has opened multiple doors to a vibrant post-PhD pathway.

Outside her professional world, Anjaleena enjoys photography, thriller movies and music! She also loves to pen down ‘mood-aholic’ poetry alongside delicious food.

Why did you participate in the IMNIS program?

I participated in this program to update myself on careers outside academia, as I started developing non-academic interests during my initial PhD phase, and also to build on more of my professional network. Additionally, I wanted to explore my own hidden potential in terms of which industry sector fits my purpose and to what extent. I was also not very confident in my approach towards the ‘high-end’ professionals, which because of the IMNIS program has now become so much easier.

How often did you meet with your mentor and did you prepare for these meetings? What was the best piece of advice you received? What was the most important aspect of this professional relationship for you?

We met almost every month. During our first meeting my mentor gave me a nice notepad, which I used to update and carry with me all the time. This practice led to efficient meetings one after the other with heaps of useful communication points. The best advice was to refine my own career interests and then to polish on those capabilities, that included applying for relevant jobs in the near future. The most important aspect of this relationship has been building additional networks through my mentor’s contacts and getting a clearer picture of the diversity of jobs that exist.

Would you recommend participating in the IMNIS program to your peers?

Absolutely yes! I think it’s one of the best programs that literally spoon feeds you the real face of industry. The mentor to mentee matching criteria has been really helpful to me, mainly because it was on a one-on-one basis that led to more refined career discussions.

What was the most rewarding aspect of the IMNIS program for you?

The most rewarding aspect was my mentor’s network – with me now forever, and also his perspective of the importance of women in STEM industry.

Did you achieve what you originally aimed to achieve in your mentoring journey?

Yes, I think I achieved more than what I was prepared for. Now I have additional information regarding internship opportunities in different organisations. Additionally, which roles would suit me most according to my personal interests.

How did IMNIS help you get to where you are now? Do you feel more confident? Have you gained new skills?

I feel much more confident after embarking on this year long journey with IMNIS. I have learnt to respect ‘time’ more and to be able to communicate in a more casual, yet projected manner. I am grateful to be able to guide myself on a somewhat non-linear path to building my career outside academia and to try to be positive even in failure which itself is a gateway to learn something new and move on with more experience in an opportunistic way.