James Ha

James is completing a major in Chemistry alongside a Diploma of Mathematical Science

Whilst attending two youth science forums, NYSF (Perth, 2013) and LIYSF (London, 2013), I was fortunate to hear from several distinguished scientists and see science in action at facilities such as CERN. These experiences inspired me to pursue chemistry, through which we can understand so much of the natural world around us. I find it fascinating that chemistry can explain physical phenomena by considering interactions between the smallest of objects. My interest for statistics was piqued in second year, when I was first able to appreciate the role maths has in forging new knowledge from data. This helps us to draw informed conclusions, which seems particularly relevant in this information epoch.

James Ha

As science branches ever further outwards, it has become increasingly difficult for scientists to specialise in multiple areas. I hope to be able to communicate science across disciplinary boundaries and to synthesise and distil the information down to the level where policy-makers can use it effectively. Either that, or I'd love to use statistics to help improve conditions in the developing world, by creating and analysing models for complex issues such as food distribution, climate change or disease outbreak. Immediately after I graduate, I want to travel to Peru and tackle the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Certain subjects can completely change the way you view the world. For me, studying Famine (GEOG10001) and Intro to International Politics (INST10001) provided these revelations, opening my mind to radically different perspectives through frameworks such as Sen's Entitlement Theory and Feminism/Gender in Politics. I never anticipated it, but university introduced me to feminism, through which my perception of the world has undoubtedly changed for the better. I hope that I am more aware of privilege and inequality now (with respect to gender, race and other arbitrary classifications), and I have made time to volunteer for a program that aims to tackle educational inequality in Victoria.

James received the 2015 Huntsman Australia Prize and the 2014 Dwight Prize in Chemistry.


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