Jessica Drummond BEng (Mech) / M Biomed


How did you first find out about UNSW and programs offered?

I first found out about UNSW on an engineering camp I attended in 2010 when I was in Year 11. The programs offered were so varied and the courses sounded so interesting. UNSW seemed to offer the most exciting opportunities for engineering, so I did more research and attended open days to further explore all of the possibilities available to me.

Why did you choose UNSW over another university?

I was really excited about the 5 year dual program offered at UNSW for Biomedical Engineering. I liked the idea that in the 5 years I could complete my Bachelor degree and my Masters in Biomedical Engineering. This opportunity was a major reason I decided on UNSW and for all of the possibilities, e.g. international exchange, variety of research opportunities and a great university social life.

Why did you choose your program?

I chose my program because I was very interested in Biomedical Engineering. Once I decided this was what I wanted to do, I needed to decide upon an undergraduate degree to go with the Master’s degree. I decided to undertake a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering with a Master in Biomedical Engineering since I was most interested in designing devices and seeing how they would work inside the human body. Anything from prosthetics to hospital machines I found as interesting career perspectives, and for these reasons chose the biomechanical side of engineering.

Do you have a scholarship? If so, what difference does it make to you?

I was fortunate to receive the ResMed 5 year scholarship valued at $47,500. This has made a huge difference in my university life so far, since it has meant I haven’t had to worry about working too much outside of my studies. I live at home and travel to university each day, so finding time for work outside of the contact hours each week would have been a challenge. It has been great having the scholarship to help pay for textbooks, travel to university and even overseas travel, but most importantly, it has opened up opportunities, such as being the 1st and now 2nd year representative for the Student/Staff committee for the Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering.

How did you find university different from school?

University was a big jump from school. It is almost like doing your HSC twice a year. I found that the content is taught at a much faster pace, and it is really up to you how much time and effort you put in. No one is there to make sure you are doing the work like in high school, so if you really want to succeed you have to put in much more effort than was needed for Year 12. However, the freedom and variety you get in your studies is great, and doing the 8 subjects a year is challenging, but very rewarding and interesting.

Is university like you imagined it would be?

University has been better than I imagined. I have been able to challenge myself, been given some amazing opportunities, and have made great friends. I thought I enjoyed high school, but the freedom and variety you get at university is amazing. I am so happy that I chose UNSW, it has been the perfect fit for me and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

What is a typical uni day for you?

A typical uni day for me is travelling an hour and a half on public transport, and then attending either lectures, labs, or tutorials, or some days all three. The labs are interesting and give hands on aspect of the subjects, and the tutorials and lectures give us the opportunity to ask questions and learn the content. In between all of the classes, I attend BBQs and try to catch up with the many friends I have made at university, from a variety of faculties.

What do you like about UNSW?

I really enjoy the variety that UNSW offers, in study and social life. There is always something happening, from day one at O-Week, right through to the end of session party. I also like the variety of subjects we are offered and the opportunities, for example, I am also completing my Diploma of Professional Practise with UNSW, which I believe will benefit my career as it will help with applying for future jobs and internships. UNSW has already given me the skills to secure an internship for these summer holidays, doing Biomedical Engineering work in a hospital environment, an area which I am very interested in at the moment.

Do you still like your program? Do you still want the same career that you did at the beginning? If not, why not?

I really enjoy my program, and definitely still want to end up in the Biomedical Engineering field. At the moment, as I am in second year, I am mainly doing Mechanical Engineering subjects, and although interesting, is not my main area of interest. I think I will enjoy next semester even more since I will be studying Anatomy, Physiology, and other Biomedical electives.

Do you belong to any clubs, sporting groups or societies, any comments?  Which facilities do you use on campus?

Last year I was part of UNSW hockey as well as the student society for engineering, being MECHSOC (Mechanical Engineering Student Society), BESS (Biomedical Engineering Student Society) and ENGSOC (Engineering Student Society). I attended the Engineering Ball this year and last, and have been to many university events and parties. It is a great social atmosphere at UNSW, and gives students a good break from studies to give a balanced university life. This year I have been a part of the Outdoors Club and Underwater Club, and allowing me to meet people outside of engineering. There are so many different facilities on campus, and I quite often use the printing and computers, as well as the doctors, post office, banking and have been to check out the Fitness and Aquatic Centre.

Do you have hints/tips for prospective students looking for a program of study?  What are your plans when you graduate? Do you have a job confirmed yet?

I would say do your research and find something you really love. The more you enjoy your degree the easier it is to find the motivation to work hard and achieve your goals. Attend open days to find the best fit for you, and once you start university, begin working and studying from day one, because 13 weeks fly by and it is hard to catch up those first few weeks at the end of semester right before exams. Apart from all that though, have fun, get involved in clubs and societies and make as many friends as you can. Having the social aspect at uni helps you have a balanced life while studying.

My plans for when I graduate in 3 years, is that I hope to work overseas for a year or two, and explore all different areas of the Biomedical Engineering industry. I am only in second year and have a job/internship confirmed for these holidays at Westmead Children’s hospital. I am so excited, as I think it will be an amazing learning and practical engineering opportunity.