Materials News November 2018

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Welcome to the November 2018 edition of the newsletter of the School of Materials Science and Engineering at UNSW Sydney - The top ranked Materials Science and Engineering School in Australia. 

We are always keen to also hear from our Alumni and receive contributions to the newsletter. If you would like to share some news with us or write your profile please contact us at


Welcome from the HoS

Welcome to the final newsletter for 2018 and my final newsletter as Head of School. Throughout this year I have been in dual roles as both Head and Deputy Dean – Research in the Faculty of Science. I will be stepping down at the end of the year to focus entirely on the Deputy Dean position. A new Head, external to UNSW, has been identified, but the appointment has not yet been finalised. In the interim, Michael Ferry will be stepping in as acting Head of School, probably for the first several months of 2019. 

2018 Alumni Evening

On August 22nd, the School welcomed around 70 alumni to reconnect, meet industry partners and hear about some of our current exciting research in sustainable materials using the world’s first e-waste micro factory. 
There was an excellent vibe in the room all night and many attendees expressed feelings of inspiration and fondness as they articulated the tangible impact the School has had on them both personally and professionally.











Open Day

Once again the School of Materials Science and Engineering's tent was the most vibrant, exciting and engaging at Open Day! A massive thankyou to our students and staff who generously contributed both in the lead up and on the day to making this year's event one of our best yet!




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ASPIRE – Jump into Uni! Dubbo 2018

One of our Postdoctoral Fellows, Wen-Fan Chen, was chosen to represent the School at this important regional event run by ASPIRE UNSW.

At Jump into Uni, Year 7 students from regional ASPIRE partner schools are invited to attend this program which is aimed at increasing awareness of what higher education has to offer and to give the students confidence to see university as a place for them.

Wen-Fan developed a fun, hand-on activity to introduce these students to Materials Science and Engineering .

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Singapore Polytechnic Visit

On Monday 24th September, the School hosted a visit from 24 Diploma of Materials Science students and 2 teachers from Singapore Republic Polytechnic.

The students had a great time touring the MSE building, watching demonstrations on Tensile and Charpy Impact Testing, MagLev trains and chatting to current MSE Student Ambassadors about what it’s like to study Materials Science and Engineering at UNSW.


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Staff Ceramics Workshop

In October, the School hosted a Ceramic Making Workshop as a Faculty staff engagement activity.

Attendees learned to create ceramics over two afternoons - in the first session they slipcasted their moulds, then returned to glaze their masterpieces. .


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World Mental Health Day:

October is Mental Health month which aims to promote the importance of early intervention practices for positive mental health and wellbeing and reduce the stigma associated with mental health.

The School recognised World Mental Health Day (WMHD) on October 10th with lunch for students and staff after a special presentation from BeyondBlue in which we heard how developing strategies to cope with stress, relying on support mechanisms and seeking help can make all the difference.


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On Thursday 26th September, the School hosted an 'R U OK? Day afternoon tea for its staff and students - a national day of action, dedicated to reminding people to ask family, friends and colleagues the question, "R U OK?", in a meaningful way, because connecting regularly and meaningfully is one thing everyone can do to make a difference to anyone who might be struggling.


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Wilson Handoko - 1MT ‘People’s Choice Award’ winner

Congratulations to Wilson Handoko who won the ‘People’s Choice Award’ at the Faculty of Science Postgraduate Showcase. Wilson is supervised by Dr Veena Sahajwalla.

A significant number of students from the School presented at this event and the quality of the presentations given was outstandingly high. As was noted on a couple of occasions during the competition, the capacity to transmit complex, and often critical, information in a very succinct, clear and relatable manner is a key, and increasingly important, skill in the workforce and one best developed by regular practice. So, well done to all our students who entered this competition.

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Alumni Profile: Avneel Prasad

I moved to Melbourne to work as a Process Engineer at the Liberty Onesteel Laverton Steel Mill Meltshop. After 6 years in this role, I moved back to Sydney and continued my position as Process Engineer. I have now been with Liberty OneSteel for 11+ years (this includes 2 years as a cadet during my 3rd & 4th year as an undergraduate).



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MSE Alumni, Holstein Wong, to represent Australia at APEC Youth Forum

The School extends congratulations to one of our high-achieving alumni, Holstein Wang who has been selected to represent Australia at the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) youth forum in Papua New Guinea later this year. This is being held as a satellite meeting to the APEC leaders meeting held concurrently.

Holstein graduated in 2013 with a BE with the University Medal and is currently a market analyst for BHP. Earlier this year she received an Award for Queensland’s Exceptional Young Women in Resources and was a finalist for the Women in Resources National Awards for her Volunteer work related to gender diversity and equality in the mining industry.


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MATSOC Speed Networking Event

On Wednesday 29th of August MATSOC hosted their annual Speed Networking Evening, connecting industry contacts directly with students.

The night was a key opportunity for students to gain insight into various career pathways available to them upon graduation. Guests across a range of industries from biomedical, civil and construction, welding, consulting, design, processing and research were present.

Students from first to final years were in attendance, knowing it’s never too early to be thinking about their career options. Industry representatives welcomed the opportunity to engage with the next generation of Materials Engineers in a rapid-fire, speed-dating setting!

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PGSOC Women’s Equity in STEM Event

Together with the School’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committee, PGSOC held a panel discussion event: ‘Women’s Equity in STEM’ on August 30, with an aim to raise awareness of the current underrepresentation of women in STEM disciplines.

The panel comprised 4 female representatives with PhD experience in STEM and who are currently working in related industries or academia: Professor Julie Cairney from Sydney University, Dr Judy Hart from UNSW, Amanda Wang from Pallion and Dr Maryam Parviz from UNSW.

Panel members shared experiences from their PhDs, careers and also provided sound advice about skill development and the benefits of a good mentor. The panel was well received by all attendees including School students, staff and EDI representatives from across the University such as Professor Mark Hoffman (Dean of Engineering) and Tierney Marey (Science EDI Project Officer).

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19th International Microscopy Congress (IMC19)

Sydney hosted the 19th International Microscopy Congress (IMC19) in September, co-chaired by Professor Paul Munroe. The conference attracted over 2100 delegates, as well as a large trade exhibition. Highlights included plenary presentations by Nobel Laureates, Professor Dan Shechtman and Professor Joachim Frank. Professor Frank also visited UNSW to formally open the new cryo-TEM recently installed in the Hilmer Building. The conference also incorporated a School’s Outreach Program that provided 570 Year 8-10 students with an insight into the world of microscopy as well as exhibition of works created by indigenous artists based on microscope images of Australian fauna, flora and geology.





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Strong performance by School of Materials Science and Engineering in world subject rankings

UNSW Sydney’s School of Materials Science and Engineering performed strongly in the latest ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2018: Metallurgical Engineering moved up from 51-75 to 50.