Like many students, Diane didn’t know about the PhB program when she was considering her uni choices.

“I thought I’d do something to do with physics, such as engineering, or a straight science degree. I also considered a science/arts double degree.”

But when she saw a second-year PhB student speak at a conference at Monash University, she changed her mind.

“I’d always wanted to study astrophysics and in Year 12 I volunteered as a microphone runner at an astronomy conference held at Monash University.

“I saw a PhB student give a talk there about the research she had been conducting as part of her degree. I knew I wanted to enter academia and saw the PhB program as a way of getting a head-start onto this career path.”

And, she says, it worked.

“I myself am going to an astronomy conference this year in Honolulu to present the work I have been doing as part of the PhB program.”

Diane’s area of research is extragalactic astrophysics. Not only does it sound great when she gets to tell people she’s an “extragalactic astrophysicist”, she says it actually is really great.

“Whilst the projects are intellectually stimulating and challenging, they are set at a level that’s   accessible to your individual abilities, and the small student to academic ratio makes it perfect for personal mentorship.

“Also, ANU is also primarily a research institute, so the ongoing research of the lecturers is interwoven into the coursework, giving you a taste of the different work occurring in the research communities.”

While Diane might now be an expert on the evolution and behaviour of galaxies, she says her biggest challenges of university living bring her right back down to Earth.

“I wish I could go back to when I was thinking about studying and tell myself, ‘Please learn to read a map/cook/do laundry/drive before moving!’”