Mai Nielsen

Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Advanced)
Mai shares her experience of completing the Chemistry Year in Industry program at the National Measurement Institute Australia, along with the valuable insights she gained about the industry and the skills she will utilise in her career.
Mai Nielsen

Why did you study Chemistry and apply for the Year in Industry program?

I chose to study chemistry at the University of Sydney because I've always loved how it feels like solving puzzles with logic. It's very satisfying when you figure out how to put all the pieces together and understand more about an experiment, material or drug.  

I was drawn to the Year in Industry program to broaden my knowledge of applied chemistry beyond academic and research settings, which I achieved through my experience at the National Measurement Institute.

What was your biggest highlight working at the National Measurement Institute?

Working in the proficiency testing team at the National Measurement Institute has shown me an aspect of chemistry I never even considered – how exactly laboratories can ensure their testing methods and results are up to scratch.  

However, my biggest highlight was the lovely colleagues and friendly workplace environment that made me feel welcome and ready to learn. I recommend a placement like this a thousand times over to anyone interested! 

What skills did you develop during your program?

Working a full-time job was not something I had experienced before my placement at the National Measurement Institute, and it has become an invaluable experience for me, giving me a glimpse of what a career in the industry could be like. In addition, I've learnt technical skills, such as how to calibrate a weighing balance, run a PT study and calculate measurement uncertainty appropriately.  

More importantly, I've also developed soft skills in communication, teamwork and organisation that I will carry throughout my career. I also got to see how I was just one small part of a whole; there is such extreme diversity in the types of roles at the National Measurement Institute, and one person's day can look very different to another's.

Do you have any advice for students interested in taking the Chemistry Year in Industry program?

If you're a chemistry student, I recommend doing some research and taking advantage of any opportunities that come your way. Don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it. This program has taught me that a chemistry degree has a lot of versatility and can lead to many exciting career paths.