Fri, 12 Aug 2022

Science and media

Posted on Monday, October 30, 2017

Reetika Vadgaonkar, a student in Australia, shares her story on winning a scholarship and discovering her dream subject with Malini Sen

However, due to a lack of career options which mesh these two fields, I decided to go forward with science, and do a Master's in physics.

Since Australia accepted an undergraduate degree of three years' duration, I concentrated my efforts on securing admission there. I was sure that I wanted to do a specialised physics degree and not just a general Master's in physics. I came across the Master of nuclear science course at the Australian National University (ANU) in the capital city of Canberra. 

Nuclear physics being one of my favourite fields in physics, it seemed like the right choice. At the time, ANU was ranked 20th in the world in the QS rankings (the only Australian university in the top 20). The university's international reputation and concentration on research-based learning clinched my decision.

I received the ANU-Study Canberra India Scholarship, awarded to 10 (now 15) Indian students on the basis of our prior academic achievements. The scholarship was worth Australian $10,000 and it helped with the expenses. We received the scholarship from the university's vice chancellor, Brian Schmidt, who is a Nobel Laureate. I also got to work with ANU’s International Student Recruitment Department because of the scholarship. It was a special opportunity to interact with a variety of people and learn something from each one of them.

I am currently in my last semester and my time at ANU has been fantastic. Canberra is a beautiful and peaceful city which is easy to fall in love with. Our university always has some activities or events, which keeps my social life quite busy. We have a postgraduate and research students’ association that not only conducts networking sessions, but also provides free legal services. We also receive constant support in our academics with the professors helping out in all possible ways. 

One of the best part of my degree was the flexibility to choose my electives. I got the chance to opt for electives from science communication, a field which I hadn’t even heard of in India. Science communication brought together two seemingly different interests of mine: science and media. Taking up these courses made me realise how important it is to communicate science to the layman. It also helped me to get an internship in science communication with the ANU’s Energy Change Institute. This real world exposure has made me decide that I would like to continue in this field on graduating.


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