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Committing to Science

A year-long lab assignment helps a young researcher find her path.

Celia Vandestadt
Celia Vandestadt

Researcher Celia Vandestadt knows there’s no substitute for real-life experience.

She fell in love with research after spending a year in the lab at Monash University’s Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute. Today, she’s about to finalize and submit her Ph.D. 

The placement was thanks to UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program), a paid employment program of Biomedical Research Victoria. CSL, the world’s fifth largest biotechnology company, is the principle sponsor of UROP, a program that gives students work experience as well as insights into biomedical career options.

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Vandestadt was looking for something hands-on that went beyond university classes. She now recommends UROP to other students. 

“It’s a smart move,” she says, “to gain an incredibly valuable experience.”

Working on projects for six to 12 months, UROP scholars learn while being supervised by a mentoring host scientist. They work alongside other staff within the lab.

Even the application process was valuable for Vandestadt because, until then, she had never prepared a curriculum vitae (an academic-style resume) or been to a job interview. During her UROP placement, she learned about the topic of her doctoral research and gained practical skills, like public speaking.

CSL partners with organizations like BioMedVic because the company values the contributions that young scientists can make and is committed to fostering the next generation of scientists, said CSL Senior Vice President for Research Andrew Nash.

“I encourage students interested in biomedicine to explore the endless possibilities of a career in medical research,” he told UROP scholars at a welcoming event in Melbourne.

Interested undergraduate students can learn more about the program at the UROP website.