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Advice for Aspiring Scientists

As college students return to campus, we asked CSL scientists to offer their best advice.

Science student taking notes with gloved hands

Every successful scientist was once a student with a stack of books and a lot to learn. What do they wish they knew then?

We asked our scientists based in Australia to offer a few words of advice during National Science Week, recently celebrated there:

“My advice goes without saying, but never give up. Once you start your degree make sure you chat with your lecturers and tutors, look for opportunities to gain experience helping in labs on the weekends and during semester breaks. Getting in-lab experience will complement the theoretical knowledge gained during your degree…The skills you gain will only flow on to help you after that, be it a PhD or going straight into industry.”

-Kyal Young, Scientist in Research and Clinical Bioanalytics at CSL Bio21

“The advice I’ve always used is, “Say yes, until you have to say no.” Any project or research goal is an opportunity to learn new skills or demonstrate your expertise. That said, learning how to say “no” is a hard skill – and one I’m trying to learn as well!”

- Jarrod Kennedy, Scientist in Process Development of Gene Therapy at CSL Sydney

“As scientists our curiosity should never stop, so my advice is, ‘never stop asking questions.’ Find the problems and identify the solutions by implementing technological innovations. We always need to ask if something can be done in a better way in our field, so advance your scientific knowledge and bring something new. In science, we often fail, but we never stop because of failure.”

- Jiaul Islam, Senior Scientist R&D at CSL Behring, Broadmeadows

“You can be successful in a company like CSL with or without a PhD. There are many avenues for on-the-job training to grow your career. Build up a good network - science in Australia is comprised of a very close-knit community. Try to get your foot into your field of interest by work placements or student programs.”

- David Leong, Scientist in the In-Vivo Biology group at CSL Bio21

“I think it’s really important to find an area of science that interests you and pursue that!”

- Ellen Otte, Senior Manager, Cell and Gene Therapy at CSL Parkville

“Be open to flexibility in your science-based career. Where you start out may not necessarily turn out to where you end up. When you step out of your comfort zone, you may just find a more creative, productive self.”

- Larissa Provan, Senior Laboratory Administrator in Laboratory Operations at CSLs Bio21

“Keep thinking, keep innovating, keep asking ‘why?’ To be inventive one has to understand the box before you can think outside the box. One doesn’t need to re-invent the wheel but put the wheel in a different place. That is, someone else has been there before you so utilize their information/experience.”

- Steve Rockman, Senior Director Global Innovation (Technical Development, R&D) at Seqirus Parkville

“I personally think that working as a scientist is very exciting and it doesn’t feel like a job (except sometimes 😊). It takes at least 10 years for a new medicine to be approved so being a scientist means that often you must be patient.”

- Aleksandra Bankovacki, Scientist in the Translational Research Department at CSL Bio21

"Be curious, read, ask questions – always keep learning. You just never know where you will find the next opportunity or idea that can make a positive difference to someone’s treatment or health."

- Kathryn Pollock, Scientist, Drug Product Development in PPD R&D at CSL Behring, Broadmeadows