Gurtej Singh was searching for the perfect honours project towards the end of his bachelor’s degree when he first stumbled across honours at Westmead.
“I first heard about honours at Westmead when looking for projects to apply for – I wasn’t sure what it meant at first. But I had an interest in clinical neuroscience, and the most interesting project I came across was offered through the Westmead Institute for Medical Research.
“When I did some more research into it, it sounded really exciting and unique compared to what I’d done before, so I signed up straight away.”
By conducting his research out of a research hospital, it gave Gurtej an up close and personal view on different aspects of hospital life, giving him clarity and guidance about what he wanted to do after he graduated.
“Being at Westmead, I was able to attend the psychiatry grand rounds every week as part of my weekly seminars. They were always really fascinating, and incited thought as to where I wanted to go with my career.”
There were so many opportunities to talk to experts about their experiences in research, and seek guidance about where you can go with your research career.
On the academic side of things, Gurtej describes his experience as overwhelmingly positive, despite a somewhat unusual start to the year.
“I first reached out to my supervisor [Dr Kristi Griffiths] via skype from a hostel in South America where I backpacking. She was happy to oblige, so I could tell she was going to be a patient and supportive supervisor.”
Since graduating, Gurtej has been accepted in the Doctor of Medicine (MD) at the University of Sydney, and is grateful for how his honours year set him up for further study.
“I definitely feel ahead of the game when it comes to the research part of the MD. I’m hoping to compete my MD project in a similar area of clinical neuroscience, so the experience at Westmead will be an advantage. The opportunities to converse with clinicians in my lab about their research interests was invaluable.”
When asked whether he would recommend the honours program to future students, he is emphatic.
“Definitely. It’s a unique experience to be conducting research in a major hospital research centre – there are so many opportunities to talk with experts in the field about their experiences in research, and seek guidance about your career.”
Completing an Honours year at Westmead opens the door to many opportunities. Applications are welcome from students with a relevant bachelor’s degree from any university, with the option of mid-year entry available.