A Wagga man is about to embark on the next stage of an already impressive academic journey after being awarded a prestigious President's Scholarship to undertake his PhD at the Imperial College London.
Jacob McMullen, who is a Mater Dei Catholic College alumni, recently completed his honours thesis in Chemistry at the Australian National University and was awarded the University Medal.
Now he is packing his bags and heading to England, which Mr McMullen said has been a lifelong dream.
He departs for the British capital on 18 September.
"This has been my dream to go and work in a different country, it was part of the reason I have continued in academia," he said.
"To get the opportunity to move so early in my career, then get a scholarship that allows me to study in another country, is amazing.
"To go to somewhere like Imperial, that is in the top ten universities in the world, is exciting but also a little bit scary."
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Mr McMullen's thesis focused on Main Group Organometallic Chemistry, where he researched elements mainly in group two of the periodic table, such as magnesium.
He will continue his research in a similar field, but with more of a focus on aluminum and silicon. Analysing how those elements can be potentially utilised to convert environmentally harmful molecules, such as greenhouse gases, into more practical molecules like medicine.
He wants to encourage all young people no matter their background, to pursue their dreams.
"I have doubted I would ever make it for a long time," Mr McMullen said.
"I definitely wasn't the smartest in my degree over the years, but I just wanted to reinforce that if you set yourself a goal, and you are prepared to put in the effort, the sky's the limit.
"It doesn't matter where you come from or what barriers are put in your way. If you put in the hard work, you can overcome those barriers and get to where you want to go."
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