Student close-up : Ashnil Kumar

BE(Software) 1st Class Honours
BA (English)
PhD student, BMIT Research Group

I am a migrant from Fiji and completed my high school studies in Australia. I was able to get in to my first choice of degree and university: Bachelor of Engineering (Software) and Bachelor of Arts at the University of Sydney. I have always had a keen interest in solving problems, both abstract and technical, and engineering was a logical choice of study for me as it allowed me to apply my interests in analyzing problems and deriving creative solutions to them. Furthermore, my aim was to study at a postgraduate level and to have a career in academia.

I graduated in 2008 with Honours Class 1.

Since graduation I have been continuing my studies. I have been accepted as a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and I am currently undertaking this degree with the School of Information Technologies, with funding from an APA.

Why the University of Sydney?

The multidisciplinary avenues available at the University of Sydney were one of the major reasons for my choice of study here. Within my engineering degree I was able to undertake many courses including several major projects with the School of Information Technologies and the Faculty of Science. The Advanced Engineering program also attracted me, providing me the opportunity to carry out studies with groups of excellent students, companies and schools.

In addition, the university inspired me with its stimulating environment - the largest library collection in the Southern Hemisphere, an active student body, and areas for leisure and recreation. I also undertook a combined degree in Arts, and this provided an interesting complement to my studies. I have had the extraordinary opportunity of studying both digital systems design and The Lord of the Rings at the same time!

The University of Sydney provided me an environment where I could tailor my studies to my needs and interests, and where I could develop my skills in ways I enjoyed.

How relevant is/was the program to your employment/further studies?

The engineering degree gave me the technical skills and experience in problem solving that I would need for my research degree. It provided me with a background in mathematics, strong skills in programming, and the ability to adapt my thinking to a variety of different problems. My engineering skills are currently being applied in research projects with the Biomedical and Multimedia Information Technology research group at the School of Information Technologies.

One of the most valuable parts of my degree was the opportunity to engage  in meaningful projects at every level of my studies. These were not assignments but fully fledged projects that needed a semester of work to complete. Engaging with academic staff, other students and industry partners provided a priceless experience that went beyond the scope provided by lectures.