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How Eloise's internship helped her reach for the stars

08/08/2023 |
2 minutes

Meet Eloise (she/her) – known for having the perfect meme for any occasion and avid consumer of nerdy hobbies! And we are talking seriously nerdy hobbies – Warhammer (Age of Sigmar), Dungeons and Dragons, sudoku, fixating on global weather patterns, or competing against herself to guess the strength of solar flares (then cross-checking what’s been reported).   

She also graduated this year with a Master of Physics in Astronomy and Astrophysics.

It seems Eloise’s calling to study astrophysics was written in the stars. As a child growing up in the Adelaide Hills, she would look up at the amazingly clear skies and wonder how everything worked. What started as curiosity to understand what went on in space turned into an obsession. The more she learned, the more questions she had.

After deciding to move to Perth to be with her partner, Eloise switched degrees to study physics and computer science at UWA in 2019.

She was accepted into a summer research internship with OzGrav where she met her current research supervisor and became involved with the Zadko Observatory in Gingin.

“My research explores our understanding of where the most energetic particles in the universe come from,” Eloise says.

“These particles (Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays) have the same amount of energy as a bullet fired from a gun.

“We haven’t explained where they originate from yet because theoretically, they should not have such high energies if they come from extra-galactic sources.

That’s the joy of research – to continue to ask questions and try to understand the vast expanse of the unknown.

Wondering how you can make the most of your study experience? Eloise highly recommends an internship.

My internship with OzGrav gave me the chance to work with an amazing supervisor and I continued to do so after the internship ended. My research skills and physics knowledge improved, and I even learnt how to assist in running an observatory.

Eloise’s future shins bright as she looks to start her PhD in 2024 after taking a 6 month break to be a software engineer for the Zadko Observatory, and hopes to one day coordinate her own high-energy astrophysics unit.

Head to the latest Research on the Record podcast to hear more from Eloise about the moment she fell in love with the world of academic research and what it’s like being one of only a handful of female students in a class of hundreds.

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