Sherilyn D’Costa

Sherilyn D’Costa

Sherilyn D’Costa

  • Student type: International
  • Degree type: Double Degree
  • Year commenced: 2012
  • Degree(s): Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Biomedical Science
  • Major(s): Chemical Engineering

What made you choose the specialisation/major you studied?

High school biology introduced me to the theories behind how the human body functions and the molecular targets of treatment drugs. But while I was trying to find the perfect degree to complement my interests, I learnt that chemical engineering made it possible to manufacture these drugs for large scale distribution. What attracted me to this specialisation is that engineers implement the innovative ideas that scientists come up with and transform them into practical solutions.

Tell us about what you studied – What was it? What did it involve? What did you actually do?

This double degree was an introduction to a range of theories and their practical applications. While the biomedical degree introduced me to human physiology and the biochemistry of drugs, the chemical engineering component was about understanding the concepts behind the transport of fluids, controlling the temperature and pressure of a process and thermodynamics. Engineering wasn’t just about solving equations. Towards the end of the course we were working through applying these equations in designing stress resistant vessels and simulating an entire manufacturing process using software like Aspen Plus and HYSYS.

Despite the challenges, I found chemical engineering to be very rewarding as it disciplined my work ethic and motivated me to keep going past the initial failures I encountered.

Apart from study, what else were you involved in both at Monash and off campus? (Paid work, sport, clubs, hobbies etc)?

Apart from study, I was involved in a bunch of activities across both the Medicine, Nursing and Health Science (MNHS) faculty and the Engineering faculty. I was accepted into the Engineering Leadership Program in the second year of my course where we learnt about developing those soft skills required in a working environment. I was on the first executive committee of the Robogals Monash Committee as the Partnerships Manager, which involved securing funds to run our events.

What was the best thing about being a student at Monash?

Monash has always had an atmosphere of inclusion regardless of the course, the department or the student society. It was the perfect environment to meet people who shared my interests and ideas about a career in the field. I think the best part of the learning experience at Monash was the approachability. There was never a sense of superiority or power play. I felt comfortable talking to lecturers and tutors and they were forever ready to answer questions and explain complex concepts repeatedly and involve themselves in thought provoking discussions.

What advice do you have for prospective students starting uni next year?

As an international student, travelling halfway across the world to a new city can be hard. Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone. Involve yourself with activities that build your confidence and help you learn about the professional you want to be.