Computer Science PhD student, Jess, has always been interested in computers. In high school she was often found playing video games, upgrading computers, taking them apart and putting them back together.
The realisation that she could turn her passion for computing into a career came two years into her architecture degree.
"I found that the only courses that I was really passionate about in my architecture degree were the CAD courses! (Computer Aided Design)," Jess said.
Jess was living in Adelaide at the time, and her first experience with ANU came during the Summer Research Scholars program in 2008. The program involved interstate students travelling to Canberra and living on campus whilst participating in a research project of their choosing.
It was this positive experience that convinced Jess to move to Canberra and study her PhD in Human-Computer Interaction at ANU.
It didn’t take her long to settle into the research student lifestyle, Jess enjoys the flexible work hours, independence and that she is able to use her own initiative.
When she isn’t studying Jess keeps busy with a variety of extra-curricular activities including taekwondo training, tutoring and attending events and activities run by the various student associations on campus.
Jess is a member of the Computer Science Students Association, a role she wishes she had taken earlier in her studying career.
“Helping to run a club or society is a really rewarding experience and so great for meeting new people that you might not usually engage with, as a PhD student, working in your office.”
Jess hasn’t yet decided what she’ll do once she has completed her PhD, she would like to continue working in the area of Human Computer Interaction, however she is keeping her options open.
“As a result of my PhD, I feel confident that I can do independent research and I have also gained some skills in teaching and helping to create content for undergraduate courses. Having this experience means that I can return to academia later if I choose to. There are a lot of options available to me.”
Her advice to students considering PhD studies at ANU is to join a student run club or society and to get involved in what Canberra has to offer.
"The student culture at ANU is great and makes it easy to settle in to being a student. Canberra is also such a vibrant university town and there’s a lot to do both on and off campus."