I first discovered that I could undertake an honours project 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, it sounded really exciting and unique compared to what I’d done before, so I contacted a supervisor and then applied straight away.
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.
I first reached out to my supervisor Dr Kristi Griffiths via Skype from a hostel in South America where I was backpacking. She was happy to work around my schedule and lack of connectivity so I could tell she was going to be a patient and supportive supervisor! After speaking to her I could tell she was passionate about the neurosciences and that I would learn a great deal by working with her.
Since graduating, I have been accepted in the Doctor of Medicine (MD) at the University of Sydney, and I am grateful for how my honours year set me up for further study. I definitely feel ahead of the game when it comes to the research aspects of the MD program.
I’m hoping to complete my MD project in a similar area of clinical neuroscience, so the experience I gained at Westmead will be an advantage. The opportunities to converse with clinicians in my lab about their research interests was invaluable.
I would highly recommend undertaking an honours year and finding a project based at Westmead. 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.