A bright science student has received an award to attend a conference and plan her future.
Kelsey Buss - in her fourth year of a biomedical science degree - will be the UNE's student representative at the Genetics Society of AustralAsia annual conference in Melbourne from June 30 to July 3.
"I'm really excited, and very thankful for this opportunity!" Kelsey said.
The conference, the GSA website states, showcases world-class genetic research in Australia and New Zealand, with international and local keynote speakers.
Kelsey expects to gain insight into upcoming genetic research, work with other undergrad students, and possibly decide her post-graduate career.
Kelsey is one of only seven undergraduate students around Australia, New Zealand, and the Asia-Pacific to receive the GSA Student Conference Award. It covers the full cost of attending the event, and a year of GSA membership.
Kelsey applied for the award on the recommendation of her lecturer, biologist Dr Mary McMillan. Otherwise, she said, she wouldn't have known about the conference, or been able to attend something hopefully amazing.
"It would be a good opportunity to better understand genetics beyond what we offer at UNE, and help her decide what she wants to pursue for post-graduate studies or a career," Dr McMillan said.
Kelsey will finish her degree this year, but hasn't decided what she will do next.
"Because there's so much out there for me to decide what to do, I'm unsure," she said. "That's exciting, as well!"
Her degree, she explained, entitles her to do a lot in health. She could stay as a biomedical scientist, or work in a genetics or cardio lab.
"The conference will help me narrow down my further studies," Kelsey said. "I might want to do honours, or further study into genetics."
Dr McMillan thinks Kelsey would be great at research. "She's a quick learner in the lab; bright, engaged, and organised - all the skills you want in a scientist!"
She has supervised Kelsey this year as she researched the link between DNA variations and mental health disorders like depression.
Kelsey has loved science since she was young. "I knew I wanted to do a degree in science, particularly in health, because I find the human body so interesting," she said. "We're such a complex organism; how our body works is such an intricate process."
She finds genetics fascinating. "There's not much that differentiates people," she said: only a .1 per cent difference in DNA.
Kelsey has shared her passion for science as a resident at St Albert's College. For the last two years, she has been academic science advisor, helping first year students both with their "challenging" chemistry units, and with the transition to tertiary education.
"They're going from dependent to independent learners," she explained. "I guide them through their first year at uni, giving them a skill set they need for further years of study."