Gabrielle Booth loved the sound of biomedical science in high school, but worried about job prospects – until an awesome holiday program with QUT changed her mind
Gabrielle “always” knew she wanted to do a STEM degree after high school, and biomedical science sounded cool – but she was hesitant about applying. “It was very broad and I thought I wanted a degree with more of a direct career at the end of it, like speech therapy,” she says.
But then a friend told her about a program coming up at QUT during the school holidays, for students interested in STEM careers. The Future You STEM Summit and STEM Internship program would provide a taste of an assortment of different STEM topics. “It sounded really interesting and helpful for me, who was not entirely sure what I wanted to study at university,” she says.
Having successfully applied to take part in the program, Gabrielle spent a week on QUT’s campus in Brisbane working with Dr Alison Carey and her team on Reproductive Tract Infections and Immunity research. “Diseases and particularly sexually transmitted diseases have really interested me. Despite the topic being quite taboo, it is extremely prevalent in our society and by researching in this area, you have the potential to help many people and even save lives,” says Gabrielle.
The program wasn’t just an opportunity for Gabrielle to be exposed to fascinating real-life research – she got to spend a week with mentors and role models, who helped her decide the next step on her own study and career path.
“By meeting and bombarding with questions the PhD students who all also studied Biomedical Science at QUT, it really helped me decide that this was an area that I am interested in studying,” she says.
“I was extremely inspired by each student and they changed my perspective on the ‘broadness’ of Biomedical Science to a positive thing – a degree with endless opportunities.”
Gabrielle cannot rave enough about the value of the internship experience in helping her with the “daunting process” of choosing what to study at university. “Firsthand experience in a laboratory with driven scientists truly is just something that you can’t be taught in high school so I am really grateful for this opportunity,” she says.
Meet like-minded people and future colleagues
And even if, unlike Gabrielle, you are totally set on what course you want to study – she reckons the program would be valuable to any aspiring STEM student. “You will meet really awesome and like-minded people through this program that you may even get to work with in the future. I couldn’t recommend this program more!”
Gabrielle is now enrolled in the Bachelor of Biomedical Science at QUT, with plans to extend her education with a Masters and PhD after graduating. “With this, I am hoping to go into research into pathology, not for my whole career, but long enough to have been able to travel with it to different countries, gain a wealth of experience and have an impact,” she says – but Gabrielle is also excited about the unknown.
“Studying biomedical science really can take you anywhere so I am always going to be very open to new careers that I haven’t yet considered.”
QUT’s 2022 STEM Summit and Internship Program is now open for applications. Find out more and how to apply here.
This post is brought to you in partnership with QUT.
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Author: Gemma Chilton
Gemma is the Managing Editor of Careers with STEM magazine. She has previously worked as Digital Managing Editor at Australian Geographic and a staff writer at Cosmos science magazine.