Life Beyond Biomedicine. Where will your career take you?

Eight Biomed alumni shared their varied career and work experience stories with undergraduates at our Careers Breakfast.

The alumni described the adventures and unexpected turns their careers have taken since they began studying biomedicine.

“A career develops, it doesn’t just happen,” Biomedicine Program Director A/Prof James Ziogas told the room. “It’s not just about being a good student, but also about being a good citizen.”

Charlotte Ramage
Charlotte Ramage

As an undergraduate biomedical student Charlotte Ramage became interested in “what you can do at a macro level” when she took global health as a breadth subject. She went on to study a Master of Public Health. After working in London and the Canberra-based Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Charlotte took a job at a Melbourne-based consulting company that works with government agencies. In this role she has examined data relating to COVID deaths in aged care centres and is now contributing to the final report of the Disability Royal Commission.

Kelsey Turner, an anaesthetic registrar, has had a more conventional medical career. She finds anaesthesiology hugely rewarding but was also open about the challenges involved. While training, she found herself “longing to have control of my life … the study and working hours are long”.

Brendan Lacota was a medical student before the introduction of the Melbourne model. As an undergraduate, he heard a pharmacology professor joke that he would have been better off as a patent attorney. Years later, Brendan recalled the professor’s off-the-cuff remark and went on to study law.

“The insane amount of contact hours you do as a medical student sets you up nicely for another career,” Brendan told the students. He now leads ANZ’s social impact programs through Australia, Asia, the Pacific and New Zealand.

The other talented alumni who shared their experiences were Fern Koay, a postdoctoral fellow who received a L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Fellowship in 2022; Vicky Chen, a doctor at the Royal Melbourne Hospital; Mariana Lauretta who has worked as a research assistant, a genetic counsellor and a speech pathologist; physiotherapist Debby Purnama, the founder of Livewell Health; and Naomi Sutanto, who works for Cambridge University Press and is completing a Master of Teaching. The one thing they all had in common was an interest in people, health and the vision to keep exploring.

Prof Ian van Driel, the Deputy Head of the School of Biomedical Sciences, emphasised the importance of volunteering, mentoring and experiencing the world outside of the classroom.

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