Continuing our series of stories on PhD students who are successfully finding their way in the world, a postcard from Dr Betime Nuhiji.
After completing my PhD at Deakin University, I stumbled across a knowledge transfer position at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom.
They were looking for someone to be their Business Development Manager, High Value Chemical Manufacturing, in the Faculty of Engineering.
Early on in my research career, I set myself two goals, to get my PhD, and then to land a great job in Europe.
So I applied for the job in Leeds and was thrilled when I was told I was the successful candidate.
For someone born and raised in Geelong it was definitely going to be a considerable change of scenery and lifestyle.
However, after almost three years, I am happy to say that I am still enjoying and learning from this position.
I have had the opportunity to combine my love for science and engineering and utilise my communication skills in order to drive collaboration and innovation by being the interface between the university and industries worldwide.
My role has expanded to encompass faculties including Engineering, Food Science, Chemistry and Physics and I engage with small-medium (SME) and multinational industries from sectors such as food, minerals and personal care (High Value Chemical Manufacturing).
There have been interesting multidisciplinary projects that have come my way (optimising manufacturing processes, enhancing texture and taste of food products) and this has allowed me to expand my knowledge base.
However, the most enjoyable project I have worked on was one for a multi-national company who required expertise in nano-composite materials.
I was able to apply my knowledge of dispersion mechanisms from my nano-composite work for my PhD to this project and since then, have maintained a strong professional network with members in the company.
Of course, there are other attractions. I do get the chance to travel and explore the UK (England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales) as well as Europe since it’s only a hop, skip and jump away.
I love experiencing so many cultures and food, which means that you can’t go past a lovely weekend in parts of Italy, France or Spain!
Walking/hiking in the Yorkshire Dales is amazing and then ending the evening with a delicious Betty’s tea from a traditional English teahouse,
I’ve also been fortunate enough to have friends and family visit and travel with me, as well as make new friends along the way. As much as I love to shop – I can see all my old friends back in Geelong smiling when they read that - I barely find the time anymore because I’m doing other activities such as go-karting, paintballing, clay pigeon shooting, karaoke and occasionally snooker.
There is a slight downside to the UK and that’s having to deal with winter weather and early sunsets (3:30pm!!), as well as continuously renewing my visa during the UK recession.
As you can probably tell, being at Deakin University has helped my career pathway. The technical knowledge, growing networks and communication skills that I gained during my PhD have allowed me to work on a variety of interesting scientific project areas that have the potential to make an impact now and in the future.