Physics and Astronomy Careers Night

Physics and Astronomy Careers Night

Successful completion of a degree in Physics and Astronomy is a demonstration of a keen intellect that has been trained to observe, analyse and interpret complex situations, and to solve a wide range of problems. Some graduates go on to be professional Physicists or Astronomers, but there is a very wide choice of careers that also need exactly the skills that our graduates have gained.

Our yearly Careers Night brings back to Macquarie a number of recent graduates, who tell us what careers they have chosen, and how their degree has given them the skills they needed to succeed. We invite you to our next Careers Night, but in the meantime offer recording of some of the previous speakers to give you a taste of where Physics and Astronomy can take you.

Jenn Fishburn

Research manager, talking about how to get a job! – Play her talk (9 minutes)

Here is a link to the Life after university talk.

Tom McGregor

Research Scientist – Play his talk (9 minutes)

Byron Usmar

High school teacher – Play his talk (9 minutes)

I love science! I’ve got a piece of paper that says as much. You might think I’m referring to the Bachelor of Science: Astronomy and Astrophysics I earned at Macquarie University but no, when I was 3 I wrote down: “When I grow up, I want to be a scientist”… that mentality hasn’t changed much in 24 years, and I still have the piece of paper with a backwards ‘S’.

Turns out, passion for a subject is contagious and this made me quite suited to teaching. So after getting the Bachelor degree I completed a pretty hectic Graduate Diploma of Education, again at the fantastic Macquarie University. Along the way; I tutored maths, physics and chemistry, demonstrated in the 1st year physics labs, volunteered at the observatory and even created some Mad Science workshop holiday programs while working at the cinema. Now I’m working as a Full Time Science teacher at Brigidine College, St Ives. I’m having a fantastic time teaching, working with the science club and going on the occasional Duke of Edinburgh expedition.

Steve Davey

Patent and Trademark attorney – Play his talk (7 minutes)

Steve completed a combined degree in Physics and Law in 2005 and was admitted as a Solicitor in 2006. A Masters of Intellectual Property in 2010 then rounded Steve’s skills for registration as a Patent and Trade Mark Attorney. In the patent field, Steve has been responsible for the initial preparation of more than one hundred patent applications for mechanical, software and optoelectronic devices including inventions concerning optical physics, optical fibres and laser technologies as well as prosecution of numerous other applications in the above areas to registration. Steve also managed a large and vibrant trade mark practice and has resolved many contentious trade mark matters at one of Australia’s top tier law firms.

Dr Peter Brooke

Financial Management – Play his talk (7 minutes)

Peter holds an MSci degree in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Durham, UK and has a PhD in Physics from Macquarie University, Sydney. Peter has worked for Platypus Asset Management since January 2008, where in addition to managing the systematic portfolios, he is responsible for all aspects of quantitative research.  From May 2006, Peter worked as a Quantitative Analyst with MIR Investment Management. During this period, he worked on various research projects and in quantitative portfolio management.

Jeff Stanger

High school teacher and beyond – Play his talk (7 minutes)

Jeff holds a Macquarie BScDipEd joint degree (a teaching qualification combined with physics and chemistry undergraduate programme). Jeff is now the head teacher of Science at St George Girls High School. He teaches junior Science, Chemistry and Physics at the HSC and specialises in running a school astronomy club. He continues to involve his students in Science related projects involving authentic scientific research which has led to students as co-authors on professional peer-reviewed scientific journal publications. He is now leading a group of Sydney students to work with NASA scientists to image the surface of Mars using the Mars Odyssey THEMIS orbiter. He is councillor of the Science Teachers Association of NSW and a guide lecturer at Sydney Observatory. He collaborates with several universities on various projects or committees and is an honorary associate of the SUPER group in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney.

Dr Aaron McKay

Postdoctoral researcher – Play his talk (7 minutes)

Aaron McKay has undergraduate degrees in applied physics and engineering from UTS, and a PhD from Macquarie University. During his undergraduate years he worked for JDS Uniphase and, concurrently with his PhD, at BluGlass. Recently he completed a 2-year post-doctoral research position at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland working on the fabrication of ceramic laser materials and beam formatting for high-brightness laser diode arrays. Aaron has since returned to Macquarie University as a post-doctoral research fellow working on diamond Raman lasers.

Jena Shaw

Science communicator and school teacher – Play her talk (7 minutes)

2002 saw the start of my University career as I began B Technology (Optoelectronic). A fantastic 3 years with so many opportunities and experiences. After completing Opto, I moved to Canberra to complete a Graduate Diploma in Science Communication with ANU and Questacon. I got my first full time job, as an education officer on the BioBus, a travelling biotechnology exhibition that went to all corners of Queensland presenting shows for high schools and the community. I proceeded to the other end of the school spectrum with my next job as a founding member of SciencePlay, a Questacon program designed for children aged 0-6 and their carers. During 2008-2009 I worked for ANSTO (Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation) as the communications advisor where I wrote newsletters, designed publications and organised events while completing my teaching degree at UTS. 2010 was a big career shift as I began high school at Monaro High School in Cooma where I have been teaching junior science as well as senior physics and I have just also started teaching senior chemistry. I am loving teaching and the students and look forward to the rest of my career.

Dr Hamish Ogilvy

Data scientist – Play his talk (7 minutes)

Hamish has a BOptTech and a PhD from Macquarie university. Now he works on big problems that involve creating and analysing huge volumes of data to optimise business efficiency. While originally from scientific origins (laser physics), recently he has mostly applied his skills in the field of web analytics and online marketing for many of Australia’s banks, telco’s, insurance giants and many other smaller corporations.

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