Hi, I am Aayushree, currently studying the Masters of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics at Deakin University. The course name itself is a mouthful but do not get intimidated by it! In basic terms, biotechnology means incorporating technology into biological science, while bioinformatics is making sense of the code language in which our DNA, RNA and proteins communicate.
My journey to Deakin
When I started my A Levels, I was completely clueless about what I wanted to pursue afterwards. It was not until towards the end of my second year of high school that I came across the term ‘biotechnology’. The definition sounded interesting so I went home and did my research on it and soon decided that yes, I wanted to pursue a career in biotechnology.
The term biotechnology was quite unheard of in Nepal, and there weren’t many job opportunities, making me question if it was worth studying. Finding a university with well-facilitated labs and internationally accredited syllabus was quite a challenge. I decided to go to Malaysia and complete my undergraduate degree, and then I returned to Nepal and started to search for universities offering a masters program in biotechnology.
After gaining hands-on experience in the lab, conducting an honours research project and dreaming to do my PhD, I wanted to join a university where research was their main focus. Also, juggling work and studies can be tough so I was looking for scholarships as well. Some people suggested that Deakin University offers the course of my interest and also provides 100% scholarship to eligible students. I immediately checked their website and applied for it.
Studying the latest advances and real-life examples
Deakin is one of the few universities that offers both biotechnology along with bioinformatics, which is another reason why I wanted to study here. The program offered at Deakin is structured thoughtfully – with one year of coursework study followed by a year of research or industrial practice, depending on your interest. There are a lot of options in terms of research and what we want to work on, and that excites me.
I was impressed in my first trimester itself, where we were taught about recent advances in science, instead of memorising working principles of equipment which are not even used in the real world any longer. It is exciting to study concepts that are so new. If we look 20 years back, many people would not have thought that biology and computer software would go together – and that is what bioinformatics really is.
To ensure we get an idea of real world discoveries and undertakings, we had guest lecturers who presented about the research conducted in their company. So, the information we were provided was not limited to text books, and it incorporated real life examples and happenings – which makes this course more realistic and interesting.
Amazing experiences at Deakin in Geelong
I was born and brought up in the busiest city of Nepal, also its capital – Kathmandu. So, when I heard that the course is only available in Geelong, a regional area, I was a bit uncertain. But, now I can confidently say that deciding to live and study here has been one of my best decisions. Apart from the calmness and serenity of this place, it has the most hospitable people who are happy to help you and the landscape is just amazing.
A major highlight for me has been being part of Study Geelong, through which I have got the most wonderful opportunity of going snorkelling and swimming with dolphins and seals, camping on Tanybryn and exploring Geelong.
I feel privileged to be one of the Deakin Vice-Chancellor’s International 100% scholarship holders and be part of the Vice-Chancellor’s Professional Excellence Program (VCPEP) where we work and strive to be a better version of ourselves, personally and professionally. The continuous support and encouragement I have received through this program keeps me energised and motivated to follow my dreams.
Currently, I have started my second year where I am doing research. My long term goal is to start a research centre in Nepal. I am assured that the knowledge and experience I gain from Deakin University will all come together to act as a stepping stone to reach my goal.