Meet our students: Ashe DeBiasio

4 January 2013

While Ashe originally intended to major in mathematics, a first-year biology course changed her direction completely
While Ashe originally intended to major in mathematics, a first-year biology course changed her direction completely

In her final year of a science degree a typical day for Ashé DeBiasio would start with breakfast and catching up with friends in the dining hall at her Sancta Sophia College. Next she might head to the lab for toxicology tests on some tablets to discover what type of drug they contain, followed by a pharmacology lecture next door.

After the lecture she might grab a coffee from Ralph's, one of the cafés on campus, before having lunch with friends on one of the campus lawns. Then it would be time for an anatomy tutorial, where she might examine the muscles and organs that she's learning about on real bodies.

If it's a Monday, she'd don academic robes in the evening for Sancta Sophia's weekly formal dinner, where she'd hear a talk from a special guest, as well as a musical performance by one of the college members. Then it would be time for the gym with friends.

Ashé completed her three-year Bachelor of Science in 2012, and she will start graduate medicine studies in 2013. Originally Ashé intended to major in mathematics, but a first year biology course saw her change direction completely.

"When I started at University I took a course in biology, I just absolutely loved it. I had such a great time I ended up deciding to study medicine. I'm quite a social person, so I thought medicine would also be a good career for me. When I finish I hope to use my skills to work in rural Australia as well as for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)."

Ashé came to visit both the university and its colleges before applying to study here. "I learnt about all of the different ways to be involved in university life, from competing in athletics at the college competition, discovering new desserts with the Chocolate Society and volunteering to teach English to new migrants. I couldn't say no to the lifestyle!"

Coming from a country town Ashé decided it was important to meet new people, and so she made the most of Orientation Week. "After a week of socialising at university and college events, there was a friendly face in every single one of my classes on the first day of uni," she says.

Ashé says her decision to study at the University of Sydney was driven by its international reputation, as well as the lifestyle offered on campus. "The university I chose needed to have a vibrant campus life, a significant and diverse research output and a great campus and facilities. The University of Sydney was the best fit for my image of what university life should be like".
She adds: "Here you have the chance to meet professors who really have made a significant impact on your area of study, and you also have the opportunity to research with these same professors, starting from your first year."

Ashé says one of the things she most enjoyed about her science degree was its flexibility and diversity. "There are so many subject areas that you can study from to ensure the degree fits your own unique interests. Each day in the degree is diverse, with large lectures, journal club presentations, anatomy tutorials with human cadavers and labs."

Whilst studying Ashé has also fitted in volunteer work, including with the University's Compass program, which encourages high school students who might not be thinking of University study to consider it.
Ashé has also been working for the University as a student ambassador, which, among many other duties, has seen her return to her high school in Taree and inspiring many applications from current studies to apply to come to the University of Sydney.

She is also the most sought-after advisor on the University's online advice service "Talk to our students". Somehow she also found the time to write the "Insiders Guide to the North Coast Road Trip" with another Student Ambassador following a careers market trip she did in July.

"She is someone who always goes out of her way to contribute to whatever she is involved in," says Oanh Do, the Student Ambassador Coordinator at the University. "We are just so lucky to have her." Unsurprisingly, Ashé was named Student Ambassador of the Year in 2012.

Although she enthuses about the academic and extracurricular life she has found at the University, Ashé says one of the highlights of her student experience "has definitely been the friends that I have made in my classes and through the campus life. From day one you're surrounded by fantastic likeminded people and there are always events happening to meet more of them."

Over the summer break, she wants to take up kayaking, and she'll also move out of college to live independently (she is looking forward to having the opportunity to do things such as baking) before starting her medicine studies in the new year.

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