Elizabeth (Lyz) Murago

(Final Year PhD Student)

I am from Nairobi, Kenya and currently undertaking PhD degree at the School of Chemistry, UNSW. My interest in science started while I joined high school. Most of my teachers became encouraged in my good performance in mathematics and science subjects. In particular I used to perform exemplarily well in Chemistry, and this led me to doing a BSc degree in Industrial Chemistry at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Nairobi Kenya. Why Industrial Chemistry? At that time, 2001 my dad owned a paint manufacturing firm and really wanted me to one day work in his paint company and become a polymer chemist. And with this in mind, I worked to achieve my goals as well as make dad a happy man. After finishing my undergraduate studies in 2004, I emerged the best student overall and was awarded a scholarship and a teaching assistant position to undertake a masters course at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). I juggled between taking up the masters offer or working for dad, finally I took up the Masters opportunity as I would work for my dad anytime. Just after finishing the master’s degree, the offer for PhD came from UNSW, I could not resist taking it up knowing that I had an opportunity to study away from home and I also wanted to meet new challenges.

I arrived in Sydney on 27th March 2010 and have been studying for a PhD in Chemistry (Nanotechnology) under the supervision of Prof Justin Gooding and Prof Brynn Hibbert. Gaining a TFS scholarship on a faculty stipend and a teaching fellowship from the School of Chemistry makes me have a good go at my research work. My research work focusses on gold coated magnetic nanoparticles, their functionalisation and their use as sensors. I have been able to attend six local conferences that have enabled me visit four states in Australia and one international conference where I gave an talk at the International Society of Electrochemistry (ISE) conference Bioelectrochemistry 2013 in Bochum, Germany. My talk was on "Au@Fe3O4 Nano-Electrodes: Their Electroanalytical Performance as 'Dispersible Electrodes' and their use as Sensors"  I will hopefully be finishing my studies in March 2014, and I hope that the skills and knowledge acquired at UNSW, will be put to use when I go back home where I am currently serving as a Tutorial Fellow. I am always thankful to my supervisors Prof Justin Gooding and Prof Brynn Hibbert for having introduced me to the area of nanotechnology and sensing and for being great supervisors. I have enjoyed the three and a half years I have spent with the lovely people of Australia and the beautiful continent of Australia. My inspiration came from my dad and mum, who always used to tell me that there is no lift to success, to succeed in life, one must climb the staircase. My husband also forms a very substantial part of my life as he joined me here in Australia to give me moral support and love which I have appreciated very much.

To conclude I would like to thank all chemistry students, academic staff and administrative staff who make School of Chemistry at UNSW a lovely institution to be part of.