Connor’s blog


Work experience was a chance to see what work was like in the real world. So as an aspiring scientist with a passion in biology, I was eager to learn from the experts. When I came across GTAC I knew that I didn’t need to look any further.When I arrived at GTAC on my first day I was pretty nervous as I didn’t know what to expect. But when I arrived and was introduced to the warm and welcoming staff all of those nerves seemed to fade away. The first activity I embarked on was microscopy; I had never seen an electron microscope and didn’t really know too much about them. So I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But you could say I was in complete awe by some of the images that I could see, and that a plant that I would usually take for granted had such a complexity. Of course I had seen a plant cell under a light microscope but the amount of detail that this microscope could produce, was so amazing that anyone who saw these images might have mistaken it for art.

We picked petals from this Geranium flower to look under the electron microscope.

We picked petals from this Geranium flower to look under the electron microscope.

A picture of a Geranium petal taken using the electron microscope at 200x magnification.

A picture of a Geranium petal taken using the electron microscope at 200x magnification.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the third day of my work experience we joined other students on a workshop about immunity where we did 3 activities, and we also got a lecture by two of Australia’s finest scientists Professor Phil Hodgkin and also Sir Gustav Nossal. Who have not only got a wide array of knowledge about the immune system but also have fantastic public speaking skills, they were both very entertaining to learn from. On that day I particularly liked the microscopy activity as we got to see the differences in tissue when it was healthy or when it was not. It was extremely strange seeing how one simple thing could change how the cells looked and also the surrounding tissue.

One of my favourite experiences fell on me by accident, but it was truly amazing. It was using the fluorescence microscope. I don’t know if it was the bright and beautiful colours that made it so amazing, or if it was the detail or a bit of both. But it fell on me by being asked to pose for some photos, so I wasn’t really expecting too much. I went from posing for some photos to seeing one of the most abstract and amazing things I have ever seen, and I could honestly say it became one of the most memorable experiences since I can remember. The bright colours and the fine detail of the cell were amazing and even if there are photos of these cells, I don’t think any text book can give it justice.

Using the fluorescence microscope to look at different parts of the cell.

Using the fluorescence microscope to look at different parts of the cell.

 

Talking with Fran about the different parts of the cell we could see using the fluorescence microscope.

Talking with Fran about the different parts of the cell we could see using the fluorescence microscope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Besides from playing with some fancy equipment and meeting some very amazing scientists, I have learnt things that I could have never learnt from school. It has been an extremely memorable experience that has sparked my passion in biology, and has helped me to see what it is really like to be a scientist and also how I could get there. I think that this work experience has not only opened up what career pathways I can take in science, it has made me want to learn a lot more as I realised that there are always new discoveries and problems which arise and I find that really cool. I have been introduced to so many different pathways of biology at GTAC, I have also learnt that a lot of the sciences such as physics and chemistry also interconnect with all the different career pathways that I can find in biology. Because of this I am almost lost on what I want to do after school, but after staying at GTAC I can honestly say that the pathway that I want to continue down is a lot more clearer.