Don't jump onto any career conveyor belts! The world is so overwhelmingly rich and complex. So too should your career be.
In 2021, Lauren received a John Monash Scholarship - Australia’s most prestigious postgraduate overseas study scholarship. This has enabled Lauren to pursue PhD studies at one of the world’s top research universities, University College London (UCL).
Her PhD will form part of the inter-disciplinary Ecological Brain PhD program that focuses on embedding neuroscience and human behavioural studies in the built environment.
“My project will combine neuroscience, statistical modelling, architecture and engineering to create machine learning models that predict how population dynamics respond to stressors within the built environment,” Lauren says.
Lauren first began her tertiary studies at the University of Melbourne where she completed her Bachelor of Biomedicine, majoring in Neuroscience.
“I chose Melbourne as I wanted to have the option to try different pathways before I settled on a career trajectory…the 'breadth' program taught me that fields like literature and philosophy provide insights that are not just ancillary, but absolutely critical to work in science and technology,” she says.
Lauren took the opportunity to do overseas exchanges during her BBMED degree and studied at both the University of British Columbia in Canada and Lund University in Sweden.
“Those international opportunities taught me how fields, such as Biomedicine, are approached differently depending on their cultural context. The exchanges also ignited my love for travel and led me to study both my Masters and PhD overseas.”
By the end of third year of the Biomedicine degree Lauren knew she didn’t want to pursue medicine or clinical research and pivoted instead towards economics.
“It could sometimes feel alienating to want to pursue something different - but comforting to remember that we were just at the very beginning of our studies, and what really mattered was the range of knowledge that we were being exposed to,” she reflects.
I found that the analytical, computational and experimental skills we learnt in Biomedicine helped me immensely in my future work in economics and machine learning.
Now, Lauren wants to ensure her research brings together disciplines and unites architecture and neuroscience: “I think the deepest insights come from a holistic understanding of problems, and an engagement with multiple disciplines.”