Banksia winner finds happiness at university

January 30, 2014

A Murdoch University student will soon begin her first year-long research project after winning this year’s Banksia Association Honours Scholarship, valued at $10,000.

Honours student Jeanette Koh

In accepting the award, Jeanette Koh said she had dreamed of working in scientific research since high school, making her achievement even more meaningful.

At the age of 17, Jeanette and her family moved to Perth from their home country of Singapore.

“I struggled to adjust to a new culture and lifestyle, and find direction in my education and career,” she said.

“I did not finish pre-university studies in Singapore before moving, and after several years of meandering and trying different courses and jobs, I had lost most of my confidence and purpose.”

An academically gifted student, Jeanette eventually put her doubts aside and applied to Murdoch University through an alternative entry pathway.

“I spent much of my first year with some anxiety over whether I had what it took to succeed at university,” she said.

“However, I soon found my passion in studying maths and science alongside wonderful friends and teachers here, and participating in campus life.

Jeanette excelled in her undergraduate studies, participating in several research projects on and off campus, including investigating the genetics of asthma and studying the patterns formed from mapping algebraic functions onto grids.

She has now attained a Bachelor of Science majoring in Biomedical Science and Mathematics and Statistics.

“I’ve since gained confidence and found my passions in research and teaching, and had the chance to develop my skills in research, time management, communication and relationship-building,” Jeanette said.

“I’m amazed at how coming to Murdoch gave me the chance to develop not only academically, but socially and emotionally as well.

For her Honours thesis, she will investigate how misclassification affects diagnoses and treatment outcomes in medical trials.

“Getting the maths right is crucial, and the effectiveness of health research depends on the efficacy of these quantitative tools,” Jeanette said.

“I am also planning to attend my first conference this year, the Congress of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, which will give me the opportunity to learn from the world’s best.”

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