How many school-leavers start University wanting to be researchers?

Evidence would suggest very few, but a project within Griffith Health’s Foundation Studies program, in which first year students interview top-level researchers, is turning that around.

Foundation Studies is a cross-disciplinary program, run by the Health Group in first year to give as many students as possible an equal grounding in health sciences and ready them for the professional environment they will one day enter.

Meet the leaders

One of the projects is to meet, interview and produce a profile on a leading researcher at Griffith. Pharmacy students Caitlin Low (18), Michael Bobko (20), Nabilah Hussain (19) and Erika Alejo (18) came away from two hours with Professor Andrew Davey with a new avenue in life and enthusiasm to take it on.

“I have to admit, I wasn’t that interested and thought we’d spend our time sitting with some old fuddy duddy who’d be really boring, but it was the complete opposite,” said Nabilah.

“I had thought of research as a possibility, but I’d never actually met a researcher, with a career,” said Caitlin.

“He also constantly mentioned all these things we’re learning about right now, but which I thought would be forgotten by his stage. It makes you realise the basic stuff we’re learning keeps coming up, over and over.”

Not so remote

Adding to the tension the students felt was the fact Professor Davey is the Head of the Pharmacy School.

“I spent three years doing Engineering and I never even saw the Head of the school, let alone met him. But he was easier to talk to that I thought, we actually had some stuff in common, which was pretty weird,” said Michael

“He told us how when he was young it was either football, the army or the mines, that’s just like me and my friends. He’s also worked all over the world and that’s what I want to do.”

International possibilities

With multilingualism being a feature of the group, the international career possibilities of health research quickly became the focus of conversation.

“He really opened my eyes to what is possible,” said Eriza Alejo.

“I speak Tagalog (Philippines) and Japanese and really didn’t understand the whole possibilities for research around the world. The more I asked him the more I felt I could do.”

Find out more about Foundation Studies at