Feyza Narli

Feyza Narli

Feyza Narli

  • Student type: Domestic
  • Year commenced: 2022
  • Degree(s): Bachelor of Science
  • Major(s): Genetics; Physiology
  • Minor(s): Pharmacology

Why did you decide to study science?
Science first piqued my interest as a seven year old child watching Backyard Science, the TV show hosted by children for children, which showed different experiments you could try at home. I would look forward to watching the show as soon as I came home from school and it inspired me to learn more about science. I then bought my first monthly science magazine for kids from the supermarket. I remember opening the first page, reading a scientific explanation of something and feeling an intense curiosity to learn more. After that, I started saving my pocket money to buy the same science magazine every month.

In high school, I wasn't sure where my future career lay. When it was time to list my course preferences, I needed to do some soul-searching. I was interested in a wide range of things, from engineering to law, but I couldn't imagine myself doing anything specific. I soon realized that the course structure for most degrees was very prescriptive in that it wouldn't allow me to discover different areas of interest. Then, I came across a science degree. Most science degrees offered various fields of STEM to choose as a major. It was a very flexible and broad degree that I could use as an instrument to make a difference. I knew I wanted to use my degree to make a positive difference and contribute to society and I also needed my degree to challenge and stimulate me intellectually. It also had to feed my lifelong curiosity. So far, my science degree has given me all that and more!

What made you choose Monash Uni in particular?
I chose Monash University for two main reasons. Firstly, because of Monash University's "Change it" mentality. Secondly, for the scholarships which Monash University offers to asylum seekers and refugees.

Monash University takes pride in tackling societal issues and supports its students to become active and informed citizens who can use their skills and abilities to solve local and global issues.

It also offers heaps of different scholarships. Receiving tertiary education was my biggest dream, but my temporary visa status as an asylum seeker was a significant hurdle. The restrictions on my visa meant I had to enrol as an international student with expensive tuition fees my family could not afford. Monash University offered me a full scholarship and made what otherwise would have been an impossible dream possible.

What's your favourite aspect of studying science?
I have always been interested in learning why and how things work the way they do. Science provides explanations for a variety of phenomena, which helps me not only understand the world around me and make sense of it, but also helps me understand myself better. This degree teaches me essential skills to reach a scientific understanding of the world.

Studying science helped me become a more reflective person who makes well-informed judgments about health, environmental, social, and ethical issues at a personal and public level. When I recognize the scientific aspects of things, and apply the scientific knowledge I learn in my units to my day-to-day experiences, it makes me feel accomplished.

What has been the highlight of your science degree so far?
The Science Student Ambassador program is definitely in the top three! Talking to high school students at different events and knowing that I can offer my guidance and make an impact to these students’ lives is such a rewarding experience.

The flexibility the Monash Science degree offers is unmatched. I can branch out into different areas of science or use my electives to discover non-science units from other faculties. There are applied classes for mathematics units, where you work with the same group of students throughout the semester to brainstorm and solve problems in a smaller class environment. I found applied classes extremely helpful, as they allowed me to pick other students' brains and see how they approached a specific problem.  All of the biomedical science units I have completed in my degree have been very hands-on labs which taught me different skills to be useful in my future career.

What's the biggest misconception you had about studying science before you started your course?
I had a very different idea about how science operated as a discipline. I thought science was isolated from Arts and social studies, and that scientists were closed off from other disciplines, but boy, was I wrong! STEM is more than a scientist in a lab coat and most certainly more than science, mathematics and technology. Science influences society as much as societal challenges and determinants influence scientific research and development. STEM plays a massive role across the globe and impacts ethical considerations, sustainability, communities, the environment, the economy and many other things. The historical development of STEM has been shaping not only our everyday lives but also our intellectual and cultural experiences.

All my lecturers are excellent communicators, always there to help me, and delightful to talk with. Neither my lecturers nor my friends studying science fit the entrenched scientist stereotype represented in pop culture. We need to shift our narrative around STEM. There are heaps of different careers and opportunities in STEM. Unfortunately, most of these careers are overlooked and not talked about enough. We need to do a better job at inspiring STEM education in young minds and informing them about rewarding career paths.

If you were to give some advice to someone who's thinking about studying at Monash Science, what would you say?
Go for it! I couldn't have been happier with my choice. Since the first day of university, I felt welcomed and part of the Monash Science community. From academics and staff members to your friends, everyone is very supportive. There are many different resources to guide you throughout your degree. There is always help available if you need it. There is an array of opportunities for your academic, personal, and professional development. There are different clubs and societies, and there is something for everyone. There are research and internship opportunities. The flexible nature of our science degree can take you wherever you want.

Give us a life hack or piece of advice you live by:
Don’t expect to figure everything out and have all the answers by your twenties because you probably won't figure everything out or have all the answers by then, and that's okay. It takes time to find what you like and what you don't like.  Also, do yourself a favour and use a physical or digital planner to organise your days and manage your time. Don't forget to write down your assignment deadlines.