Jess completed her Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science (major in Cell and Molecular Biology) with Distinction in 2014 at Deakin University, where she participated in the Dean’s Scholar program, and was invited to join the Deakin University chapter of the Golden Key International Honours Society. In the final semester of her undergraduate degree, Jess also completed a work placement at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) in the Chromosome Research group.
After graduating, Jess then undertook an Honours degree in Science with the University of Melbourne at the MCRI, receiving First Class Honours. Her Honours project revolved around characterisation of a transgenic mouse line with a fluorescent reporter gene inserted onto the Y chromosome.
Jess has remained at the University of Melbourne and MCRI for her PhD. Her project focuses on determining the cause of a testis determination abnormality in a mouse strain known to have a defective Y chromosome. Her work has involved characterisation of the abnormalities in affected male mice, as well as molecular biology techniques to determine the structural defect and resulting gene expression changes associated with this defective Y chromosome.
While undertaking her doctoral research, Jess served one year on the “What’s Next?” committee, which aims to enhance graduate students’ knowledge regarding non-academic career options in STEM, through a seminar series of speakers from industry and government. Throughout her undergraduate and part of her graduate education, Jess also maintained a position as a pharmacy assistant, attaining a Certificate II in Community Pharmacy.
Why are you participating in the IMNIS program?
The primary reason is to gain exposure to the industry side of STEM, and to explore the possible pathways that may facilitate movement from academia to industry once I complete my PhD.
What is the most important aspect of this professional relationship to you?
The most important aspect of this relationship to me is the valuable outside perspective and positivity I receive from my mentor, Megan Morrison. What I find especially useful is perspective that is so helpful, not only to completing my current degrees, but also for a life post-PhD.
What do you hope your mentor can help you achieve and what is the best piece of advice you have received so far?
I hope that my mentor can help me develop a better sense of my career trajectory and skillsets outside the arena of academia, and help me see possible paths to reaching my goals.
The best piece of advice so far is to not limit my perception of my skills to just my working/academic life, as the skills I have developed and demonstrated in my personal life also have value.
What are the top 3 things you hope to learn through the IMNIS program?
- Enhancing my understanding the biomedical science industry
- Expanding my ability to convey my skills and strengths, both in written form and in interviews
- Better comprehension of the needs of industry
What is the most rewarding aspect of the IMNIS program for you so far?
So far, the most rewarding aspect of the IMNIS program has been building this relationship with my mentor. It is always a wonderful experience to have a connection with someone who is so positive and is interested in your future, especially as I approach the big life change that will come with the end of my degree.
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