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Raya Tasnim

Silicon irradiations engineer

Silicon Irradiations Engineer

Raya Tasnim studied both science and engineering at uni – now she’s landed her ‘dream job’ at ANSTO, combining all her STEM skills

Raya credits her parents, teachers and The Magic School Bus books for her long-term love of STEM, which was so strong (it was more like uncertainty and indecisiveness), she couldn’t choose between science and engineering after school; so she studied both.

“I studied engineering and science which were very different but complementary degrees,” she says. “I realised I was happiest doing work that combined both. Fortunately, in the world of STEM, extra skills are always an asset.”

Raya graduated from UNSW Sydney with a Bachelor of Materials Science and a Bachelor of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering. That meant she was well placed to land a position in the Graduate Development Program at ANSTO.

Now, Raya is a Silicon Irraditions Engineer at ANSTO, which means she’s involved in a crucial step in the production of the semiconductors used in high end electronics, such as satellites and bullet trains.

Silicon is ‘irradiated’ to make it as conductive as possible. ANSTO is one of the world’s biggest providers of silicon irradiation, so if you see a satellite flying over Australian on a clear night, chances are the silicon inside it spent time in ANSTO’s OPAL multi-purposereactor, south of Sydney.

Overcoming imposter syndrome

Raya explains that her job includes “providing scientific and engineering advice, supporting day-to-day production, analysing results, monitoring product quality. She also contributes to engineering projects that improve the process and maintain ANSTO’s position as a market leader in silicon irradiation services.”

In her STEM career so far, Raya says ‘imposter syndrome’ has been one of her big hurdles. And while she reckons a little bit of imposter syndrome can be ok (“knowing that you have a lot to learn and there are brilliant around you to learn from”), too much self-doubt can stop you from stepping out of your comfort zone.

Speaking of comfort zones, while Raya is loving all that she is learning and experiencing in her current role, she has big dreams of getting involved in space exploration one day. And with all the cool research going on at ANSTO, there’s definitely room to explore applications of nuclear technologies in that context.

Raya’s top career tip

“Don’t stress about having it all figured out right away – some people specialise and stick to one field their entire life, others try something new every year. You can be successful and make an impact both ways.”

Raya’s study and career path to becoming a silicon irradiations engineer at ANSTO

  • Bachelor of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering (Hons) / Bachelor of Materials Science, UNSW Sydney
  • Intern Mechanical Engineer, Arup
  • Graduate, ANSTO 
  • Silicon Irradiations Engineer, ANSTO

Want to find out more about nuclear science careers? Find out how to build your own, using STEM + X, here!

This profile was brought to you in partnership with ANSTO and a version of it was originally published in Careers with STEM: Science.

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