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16-year-old me

Dear 16-year-old me: advice from UQ academics

UQ people
Published 21 Oct, 2020  ·  2-minute read

Have you ever wished you could see into the future to predict what choices you should make, what degree you should study, and what direction you should take to have an amazing life that you love?

Unfortunately, we can’t offer any psychic predictions; however, we did ask some of UQ’s most successful women to tell us about their highs and lows on the path to success. Here, they share what they wish they could tell their 16-year-old self.

Their advice may surprise you. 

Dr Anita Heiss

Anita Heiss, UQ Professor of Communications, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit

Dr Anita Heiss is a Professor of Communications in UQ’s Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

Anita’s passion is sharing the knowledge and understanding of contemporary Aboriginal life in Australia.

Find out what this multi-award winning writer and Indigenous-rights champion has to say to her 16-year-old self.

Discover Anita's advice

Professor Kate Schroder

Kate Schroder

Director of the IMB Centre for Inflammation and Disease Research, Professor Kate Schroder is an immunologist who is captivated by the biology of the innate immune system.  

Kate advises her 16-year-old self to ditch ancient history for biology, and always stay true to herself.

Discover Kate's advice

Dr Aideen McInerney-Leo

Aideen McInerney-Leo

Dr Aideen McInerney-Leo is a clinician-academic whose interactions with patients have shaped her research questions and fuelled her enthusiasm for the importance of clinical research.

Aideen lets her 16-year-old self know that leaving her comfort zone is the best thing that she can do, as a teenager and well into her career.

Discover Aideen's advice

Professor Deborah Brown  

Deborah Brown

Professor Deborah Brown is a professor of philosophy at UQ’s Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. She was the first female professor of philosophy in Queensland.

“Make informed decisions and make them yours,” Deb tells her 16-year-old self, emphasising to stay curious and true to herself.

Discover Deb's advice

Professor Kim Wilkins

Kim Wilkins

Professor Kim Wilkins is an award-winning novelist, as well as a researcher and teacher in the fields of creative writing and publishing at UQ's School of Communication and Arts.

Kim reassures her teen self that as long as she has love and passion for what she does, she’ll be happy.

Discover Kim's advice

Dr Anita Parbhakar-Fox 

Anita Parbhakar-Fox

Dr Anita Parbhakar-Fox is a Principal Research Fellow in Geometallurgy and Applied Geochemistry and leads the Mine Waste Transformation through Characterisation (MIWATCH) group within the Sustainable Minerals Institute at UQ. 

Anita tells her 16-year-old self that she needs to appreciate the value of teamwork, self-assuredness and having fun.

Discover Anita's advice

Dr Sue Keay

Sue Keay

Dr Sue Keay leads CSIRO's Data61 Cyber-Physical Systems program.

She developed Australia's first Robotics Roadmap highlighting how advances in robotics, computer vision, sensing and AI will impact on every sector of the Australian economy.

Sue’s advice to her 16-year-old self is to stay kind and to embrace the unknown.

Discover Sue's advice

Professor Tamara Davis AM

Tamara Davis

Professor Tamara Davis AM is an Astrophysicist who studies the elusive ‘dark energy’ that's accelerating the universe. 

She's measured time-dilation in distant supernovae, helped make one of the largest maps of the distribution of galaxies in the universe, and is now measuring how supermassive black holes have grown over the last 12 billion years. 

Tamara let’s her 16-year-old self know that it’s okay to fail as long as she never stops trying.

Discover Tamara's advice

Ready to start taking steps towards your own successful career? Find out more about undergraduate study at UQ.

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