4 May 2018
In the space of his student life at USC, Raymart Walker has been to a global conference in Las Vegas, used equipment that resembles “alien technology” in Italy and is now studying in Hokkaido, Japan.
The key to such a rich student experience is being open to opportunities, says Raymart, 22, from Sippy Downs.
“It started when I was elected to the University Council and at my first meeting I sat at a boardroom table with people who had run the university for years,” Raymart said.
“I realised people are not scary because they hold high positions at a university or anywhere else.”
This realisation gave him the confidence to accompany USC Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Roland De Marco and a research team to conduct experiments at the Italian synchrotron facility, Elettra Sincotrone Trieste, in November last year.
A synchrotron is a machine the size of a football field that accelerates electrons to almost the speed of light.
“There is aluminium foil everywhere and the equipment we used is like alien technology. We were profiling samples coated with nanometre thick films and analysing the composition,” Raymart said.
Though the team worked night and day intensively, Raymart said it was “a great learning opportunity”.
It was also a reminder of the trust Professor De Marco and the other researchers placed in him.
“If you drop a sample in the machine and it degasses in the chamber, they have to bake it out and close the beamline for one or two days. But I didn’t drop anything,” Raymart said.
This year, Raymart is studying at Hokkaido University in Japan on a New Colombo Plan scholarship, working towards his combined Bachelor of Education and Science and Bachelor of Environmental Science, which is a six-year program altogether.
In March 2017, he attended the Student Leader Global Summit in the United States. In January he met the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and he is now looking forward to various internships in Japan.
Raymart, who is a former student of Saint Patricks College in Gympie, would like to continue on to PhD study, but says while he is travelling he’s keeping his options open.
“I have always had an interest in physics but I’ve since discovered a skill for working collaboratively with other people, and I might like to get involved with government or something,” he said.
“I like to keep busy and I think that has turned into all these opportunities. And as people get to know you, more opportunities arise.
“I would encourage new students to take up opportunities to travel and get involved on campus. You learn more about yourself, things you never thought you could do.”
Applications for the New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program in 2019 are open from 1 July to 31 July, 2018. The program provides opportunities for Australian undergraduate students to undertake semester-based study and internships or mentorships in 40 participating Indo-Pacific locations.
A Flikr gallery of images is available here.
- Janelle Kirkland