TSP: Inspirer and the Inspired

Marcello Solomon
Inspired TSP student

Discovering how the world works and reasoning why things are the way they are has always captivated Marcello Solomon ever since he was a very young child. So it was a natural progression for him to study science at university and take up the research opportunities in the Talented Student Program.

What did surprise him was how much he enjoyed chemistry in his two TSP projects in the School of Chemistry, as he had originally intended to major only in mathematics in his Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics).

“I have always had an interest in chemistry, but it was never my intention to complete a chemistry major and Honours in chemistry. Originally, I planned just to take some units in chemistry along the way,” said Marcello.

“It was my second year TSP project that opened my eyes to the nature of research in chemistry and how important its applications are for society. That experience persuaded me to complete a major in chemistry alongside mathematics.”

Marcello undertook two TSP projects in his undergraduate years, both in chemistry.

“In my first year, I researched how complex carbon molecules could have been carried through space to Earth to allow for the formation of life. In my second year, I synthesised, characterised and started testing two novel platinum coordination complexes for their use as drugs in cancer therapy,” explained Marcello.

“The best part of the TSP was having the freedom to choose units tailored to your favourite areas of science. The program gave me the space to replace some of my elective units with semester long research projects that interested me. It also gave me the opportunity to make contact with potential Honours supervisors and to really help me discover what parts of science I liked the most.”

Marcello had made the decision to study science at university by the end of year 10 and was particularly inspired by his high school science teacher, Mrs Julie Harrison, who taught him for three years.

“I had Mrs Harrison as my teacher for Science in year 10 and for Chemistry in years 11 and 12. Mrs Harrison was encouraging and her chemistry lessons were always well planned, relevant and interesting.

“If there was ever a difficult concept, she would happily sit down and explain it in very simple terms until you could understand it. She even arranged extra lessons during the school holidays to assist our revision in the lead up to the HSC exams,” said Marcello.

“It is very rare to find teachers who are passionate about the subjects that they teach. Her style of teaching demonstrated that there was more to chemistry than just memorising the relevant HSC syllabus dot points, and her enthusiasm played a large role in my decision to continue on with chemistry at university.”

Having been inspired to study science in high school, and then becoming particularly interested in chemistry through his TSP projects, Marcello has gone onto a PhD in Chemistry, and hopes to work as an industrial chemist or as a chemistry academic at a university.

“I recommend the TSP because it provides students with a lot of flexibility in your degree and also provides a wealth of opportunities outside lectures and tutorials. You will meet a lot of great like minded people in this program and form lasting friendships in the process.”

Read about Marcello's inspirer, Julie Harrison.