Join me in congratulating Alice Jeffery who was awarded the University Medal for outstanding academic performance. Alice has just completed her honours year with Dr John Bartholomew and is a member of the Quantum Integration Laboratory. Here’s what Alice had to say…
What does this award mean to you?
The university medal is – to my knowledge – the highest merit-based award that an undergraduate student can be awarded for their honours work, so for that alone it’s a very special feeling to be awarded one. Winning the university medal as a woman in physics is also a particular privilege. Physics still has a way to go in achieving gender parity and I’m proud to be a woman in this field working to that end. Finally, the physical medal will hopefully vindicate me when my friends, family, and partner all complain about how many things I missed in the past year!
What did you enjoy the most about your degree and what did you find the most valuable?
Without a doubt the community and people I’ve met. Firstly, the friends that I made in first year physics whose friendship carried me through the subsequent years of lockdowns, and then my research group (Quantum Integration Laboratory) which is full of lovely scientists that I was fortunate to work with for an entire year. I have very fond memories of chatting to friends in lectures, working on assignments together in the Sydney Nanoscience Building, and gathering at the nearby Ralph’s Cafe to commiserate and complain after exams! I’m a strong believer in the idea that science is a fundamentally collaborative discipline, and I think that this was reflected in my university experience.
What are your plans for after graduation?
Like a lot of students my age, I feel cheated of my early-20s experience so plan on making up for lost time. I’ll travel for a few weeks, then I’ll work and relax for a year. I’ll also be exploring potential PhD options whilst I’m travelling – before potentially picking up a PhD in mid-2024.
UPDATE: Alice will be attending Caltech’s all-expenses-paid workshop in September. The workshop, titled FUTURE, is often considered as pipeline for Caltech’s physics graduate program and is aimed at supporting the ambitions of young women women and gender diverse individuals. Congratulations, Alice!