University Medallist active in Engineering Club

Loaded with an ATAR of 99.55, Jake Boyce could have studied anything, at any institution.

The boy from Heathcote accepted a scholarship from the University of Wollongong to study Materials Engineering.

“I was always interested in science and maths, and materials combines a lot of the things I was interested in,” Jake said.

“And it allowed me to go in either direction towards research or industry.”

Jake will celebrate his graduation on Tuesday afternoon (17 December) with his parents and two brothers, and accept an extra honour – the University Medal – in recognition of his outstanding academic performance.

Professor Madeleine Du Toit nominated Jake for the University Medal, and was pleased to hear he had been successful.

“Jake has always been an outstanding student,” Professor Du Toit said.

“He’s always received top marks in every subject and has been very involved with the Materials Engineering Society.

“On top of that he’s a lovely young man, always friendly and willing to help.”

For two years, Jake volunteered as treasurer of METSOC, the University’s Materials Engineering and Technology Society.

In this time, he organised an industrial trip to Melbourne, giving fellow students a taste of the career opportunities ahead of them. He also organised tech talks, to match students with a thesis idea.

“This helped younger students to work out what they want to do, instead of getting to their final year and freaking out,” Jake said.

Jake worked as a research assistant for a steelmaking lecturer, where he spent time conducting steel solidification experiments and analysing data.

His thesis was on high temperature thin film superconductors.

It was one of the most challenging things he’s ever done.

“It’s completely different to anything you’ll do at school, it can be hard to stay motivated,” Jake said.

“It involved plenty of problem solving, and thankfully there was always other people there to discuss it with you and work through it.”

His brush with research led him to believe he’d be best placed in an industry position, rather than immediately pursuing research. But if an exciting research position did come up, he’d go for it. Jake has realised what matters most is that a job offers variety.

“I want a position in a career that keeps me interested, where I keep on getting to work with different materials,” he said.

“I want to contribute rather than push buttons.”

As he begins the process of applying for graduate positions, Jake will keep this in mind, and undoubtedly make a contribution in his chosen field.

Words by Bec Fist. Originally published on UOW Media Centre.