I’ve had a fascination with small scale science since my parents bought me my first toy microscope at age 6. High school and my 3 undergraduates degrees helped to refine my interests, from applied science to chemistry, then to computational chemistry at the atomic scale.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in rural Victoria, just outside of Shepparton - about 50kms away from the NSW border.
Were you always interested in your current field?
Just about! I’ve always had a fascination with small scale science since my parents bought me my first toy microscope at age 6. Highschool and my 3 undergraduates degrees helped to refine my interests, from applied science to chemistry, then to computational chemistry at the atomic scale.
Are you (still) working from home? If so, how’s it going?
Yep! I, like many other computational PhD students, have been working from home since March. Because of the pandemic I’ve also relocated back to my hometown, and hope to return to Melbourne next year once campuses re-open.
I remote into the computational lab at university when needed, but slow and limited internet access has been quite an obstacle. Keeping up motivation has also been especially challenging at times.
What projects are you working on?
My PhD focusses on electrolyte modification to aid in stabilising the anode interface for high-performing Li-air batteries. The project is in collaboration with CSIRO, who I have been working with since my Honours project in 2019. I am very grateful and excited for the opportunity to continue working with the organisation!
I have also been working in collaboration with the School of Engineering at my university, to help shed light on some of their experimental research by providing a computational perspective.
What do you want people to know about the work that you do?
Computational modelling is an incredibly exciting research path! Do not let anyone discourage you or give you the impression that you need 5 degrees in computer science to be capable of doing it.
But I’ll also put it this way – you can’t drink coffee in a wet lab.
Why do you love what you do?
The reasons are endless. However, watching an electrolyte component you have modelled decompose onto an exposed surface up close and form exciting new compounds on the atomic scale is always exciting.
What is one specific thing that you have achieved (research or otherwise professionally) that you are most proud of?
Moving from rural to metro Victoria to complete my undergraduate degrees wasn’t the easiest.
I ended up completing both my undergraduates and my honours whilst working part-to full time hours at a retail job to support myself - the last time I’ve had significant time off was in high school during the holidays!
However, it was worth it in the end, as I graduated with 1st class Honours and offered a full scholarship to undertake a PhD. I’m pretty proud of that.