Sigrid Wilkens has made the most of her time at RMIT volunteering for science outreach events and looks forward to mentoring new students in 2016.
Bachelor of Science (Nanotechnology) / Bachelor of Science (Applied Sciences)
My advice to future students is to really take an interest in what you are studying and read research papers on nanotechnology and physics as much as you can because the field is constantly changing.
Physics is a huge field with so many different areas to specialise in − from structures at the nanometre scale to whole planets and galaxies. Nanotechnology is a new and emerging field with many opportunities for research and discovery.
I was initially attracted to RMIT’s City campus because of the eclectic mix of architecture on Swanston Street and its laid back urban vibe. There are always pop up stalls and things going on all round the campus that make it exciting to come to uni.
I get to work with million dollar electron microscopes and high-tech equipment and I’m taught by lecturers who are leaders in their field.
The practical and report writing skills I’ve gained from extensive lab work will be invaluable in any scientific career. Nanotechnology also requires a broad scientific knowledge so even though we major in physics, we still study chemistry and biology all the way to fourth year.
I have enjoyed the applied physics subject. It has no lectures, just six-hour long lab experiments every week that really give you a taste of what it’s like to work in the field. I’m looking forward to completing the semiconductor device fabrication subject where I’ll have to ‘suit up’ to work in a hygienic clean room.
I volunteered for the College of Science, Engineering and Health to mentor school groups for activities at RMIT, the Synchrotron and the Victorian Space Science Education Centre. I’ve also helped out at Open Day and in 2016 I will mentor first year nanotech students to help them adjust to university life.
My advice to future students is to really take an interest in what you are studying and read research papers on nanotechnology and physics as much as you can because the field is constantly changing. It will impress your lecturers and employers if you are up to date with the technology and have an idea of where it is headed in the future!
Working in this field has the potential to really make a difference to our everyday life. Like all disciplines, sometimes it can be very frustrating, but at the end of the day I’m happy because I enjoy the challenge!