Updating Results

The University of Western Australia (UWA)

  • 22% international / 78% domestic

India Cywinski-Jan

What I loved most about the course was how students would help each other out.

What did you study at undergraduate and postgraduate level and when did you graduate? What are you studying now (if applicable)? Are you studying and working at the same time?

I work as a field hydrogeologist. I graduated with a Master of Hydrogeology in March 2018. While undertaking my masters I worked part-time at the Australian Taxation Office and undertook several vacation programs with BHP and Kirkland Lake Gold. My undergraduate degree was a Bachelor of Environmental Science majoring in geographical science and geology, which was completed in August 2014.

Please list the most important stages of your life (school, education, experience abroad, jobs etc.)

I grew up as an expatriate child in both Indonesia and the USA where I gained my passion for the environment through becoming an avid scuba diver. In addition to my many years spent overseas completing my undergraduate degree in environmental science, which was a significant mile stone, during my second year I was diagnosed with a soft tissue cancer in my knee and underwent 15 operations and numerous other treatments. I used my ability to network to procure a master's project in industry with a junior uranium explorer where I used numerical modelling to assess the impact of the proposed reinjection scheme.

How did you get to your current (or most recent) job position and for how long have you occupied it (if applicable)?

I got my current job through gaining experience at both BHP and EMM consultants as a hydrogeologist. I am in the process of starting this role.

What made you decide to progress with further study?

I decided to progress to further study after spending about a year looking for work as an environmental scientist to not avail. During my undergraduate, hydrogeology was one of my favourite subjects and after I graduated a took a short field school in hydrogeology and decided I would like to pursue further study.  

How did you choose your particular further study course (compared to others)? / Were you weighing up any alternative degrees or career pathways before choosing this qualification?

I choose this particular field of study because I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the mining industry but geology was my weakest subject in my undergraduate but I enjoyed studying hydrogeology. After I undertook a field course in Hydrogeology, I decided to pursue further education. However, there were not many courses on offer. I chose the University of Western Australia because I was already living in Perth and didn't wish to relocate to Adelaide.

What was the process to get accepted into your course? What were the prerequisites?

The process of being accepted into the course was an online application. To be considered for admission to this course an applicant must have—a relevant bachelor's degree, or an equivalent qualification, as recognised by UWA. In addition, an English language proficiency is critical. In addition make sure your recognition of prior learning paperwork is in order because UWA takes several months to process and apply the prior learning.

What does your study involve? Can you describe a typical day? (if it’s difficult to describe a typical day, tell us about the last thing you worked on?)

Since the master's was designed to be flexible and accommodate for FIFO, workers courses were run in six week blocks where face-to-face contact was two three hour seminars. Although the last subject I took had the same layout, the seminar was broken up into a seminar/tutorial format so that we could practice using numerical modelling software. In addition to class time it was very common for students to conduct group study sessions in order to bounce ideas off each other for assignment. Generally each course would have 2-3 assignments.

Will this course be beneficial in your career? Where could you or others in your position go from here? Please explain your answer.

This course is highly beneficial to my career as most positions advertised even at graduate and junior levels are now requiring a Master of Hydrogeology. Most people in my graduating class have found employment as hydrogeologists in either mining or consulting. Down the track there is an opportunity to undertake further study via either higher degrees or short courses to improve my knowledge in fields such as geochemistry.

What do you love the most about your course?

What I loved most about the course was how students would help each other out both academically and on the job front. The course had access to guest lecturers from industry, which gave us exposure to real life projects and potential job opportunities. Additionally the course has links with staff at the CSIRO .

What are the limitations of your course?

The limitation of this course was lack of exposure to industry and practical application. Even though we had lectures from leaders of industry the course was far too theoretical and many of the assignments reflected this. I believe the course would be greatly improved if it had more practical elements because if students have transitioned from undergraduate they may have been exposed to drilling and other field techniques.

Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current undergraduate student? They don’t necessarily have to be related to your studies, or even to one’s professional life.

  1. Always network and don't be embarrassed to exploit your parents' networks.
  2. Get experience in your chosen field.
  3. Choose electives from outside your degree because it's critical to have varied understanding.