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UC Faculty of Sci-Tech celebrates high achievers

Libby Roberts

19 April 2021: The annual Faculty of Science and Technology Prize Presentation ceremony took place today, celebrating student achievers of 2019 and 2020.

Last year, Bachelor of Software Engineering student Divya Packianathan received the 2019 Australian Computer Society Prize in Software Technology 1. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she wasn’t able to accept the award in person, or meet the prize sponsor – so she was pleasantly surprised to receive an invite to celebrate her achievement at this year’s ceremony.

“I think the biggest benefit is that it was a nice confidence boost,” Ms Packianathan said.

“Starting the degree was very nerve-wracking for me, because it was very different to anything I had done before, so it was really encouraging to have such concrete acknowledgement of success."

“The prize includes a year's membership to the Australian Computer Society [ACS], so I'm able to access their resources and events. Plus, it looks good on a resume – I've been asked about it during interviews.”

The Australian technology sector’s professional association, the ACS sponsors five prizes for University of Canberra students who excel in software technology, and the Bachelor of Information Technology, the Bachelor of Engineering in Network and Software Engineering, and Bachelor of Software Engineering courses.

“When people excel in their studies, it is a great pleasure for ACS to recognise these achievements, these people have the capability to take technology innovation forward in Australia,” said Dr Vicki Gardiner, ACT Branch Manager, ACS.

“As a student transitions from study to the workforce, they also transition from UC to their professional association to continue supporting their life-long learning and professional growth.  It is a privilege to be part of graduates’ learning journey and to celebrate their awards with them.

“It is these great minds that will solve the problems society faces, as well as continually develop new technology that improves our standards of living and safety.”

Recently graduated with a Bachelor of Environmental Science degree, Tasha James received the 2020 Australian Council of Environmental Deans and Directors Scholar Award for her outstanding achievement in the Bachelor of Environmental Science course.

“I was very surprised when I received my email about the prize!” she said. “I was in a bit of disbelief, it was a very bizarre moment. I had gone into my degree just wanting to get to a point where I could eventually help the environment. However, the classes, and the way UC works with its students, just sort of clicked with me.”

Ms James said that a prize like this helped her feel a little more confident, as she starts her journey into the workforce.

“I am working at the Australian National Herbarium at CSIRO [Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation] and have plans to do my honours, studying wetland ecology and the importance of environmental health,” she said.

“I would like to continue in this field, working with plants and ecosystems especially. My aim is to do the best I can, at what I can, to help the environment, its conservation and regeneration.”

Faculty of Science and Technology, Executive Dean Professor Janine Deakin said the prize presentation ceremony is an opportunity to not only celebrate student achievements but to also connect with industry.

“It is wonderful that we can recognise those students who were awarded the prizes for their efforts in 2019 at this ceremony, even if it is a year later,” she said. “Seeing them and the 2020 prize recipients, along with their families and friends, just brings some vibrancy back, as we celebrate their achievements together.

“Sci-Tech is also very grateful to our prize sponsors for their continued support for our students through these prizes, it means a lot to the students who have worked hard and are now being recognised for their dedication.”

Ms James and Ms Packianathan both have advice for new students.

“Take any opportunity that comes your way,” Ms James said. “There are many opportunities at UC if you simply ask and keep an eye out. I did this throughout my degree, and it helped enrich my understanding and experience. Even if you don’t end up liking something, you learn which way not to go in future.”

“I learnt a lot at UC, and not just from the classes themselves, but from the other experiences and conversations embedded within my experience at the University. The lecturers, staff, volunteers, and students, especially in my area of study, were all incredibly helpful, approachable and practical.”

“PALS [Peer-Assisted Learning Sessions] and MASH [Maths and Stats Help] are very helpful resources and I don't think enough people take advantage of the,” Ms Packianathan said.

“Also, join the UC Engineering Society! The student clubs are a really nice way to engage with other students in a supportive environment, and you get to learn a lot with other people.”