Get to know your College alumni: Fitri Widiantini, Master of Biotechnology, PhD

Fitri Widiantini, Master of Biotechnology Studies (2006), PhD (2012)

Current position & organisation: Lecturer (Associate Professor), Department of Plants Pests and Diseases, Faculty of Agriculture, Universitas Padjadjaran, Indonesia

What led you to study Biotechnology at Flinders University? I have two reasons why I chose to study Biotechnology at Flinders University. Firstly, the university is the home institute of Professor Chris Franco, a world renowned and highly respected expert on actinobacteria, which is my main research interest.

Secondly, Flinders University has excellent services and support for international students, and the staff focus on developing solutions to any problems you may have.

I sent enquiries to a few different universities asking about their program, and the Flinders International Office was by far the best one to deal with: they were friendly, informative and very fast in responding to my emails.

What is your favourite memory from your time at Flinders? Every single moment I spent at Flinders is a favourite! But if I must choose, probably my most favourite memory is attending my PhD graduation.

Finishing my PhD really was a dream come true. I started my PhD study in 2008 and, only a few months into it, I became very sick and was diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly I found myself juggling study and chemotherapy treatments. Fortunately, I was surrounded by many great people, including my supervisor Chris Franco, University staff, Flinders University doctors, friends, and doctors and nurses at Flinders Medical Centre. I would never have made it through my study without their tremendous support. Chris, Bunny (Chris’s wife), academics and staff and my fellow PhD students were like my family far from home. That is why to be able to graduate with a PhD degree is one of my favourite memories.

How did your Flinders degree prepare you for your current role? Studying at Flinders University equipped me with workplace-ready knowledge, skills and experiences. Furthermore, I also gained communication and leadership skills which greatly boost my self-confidence.

What advice do you have for someone contemplating a career in biotechnology? The word ‘biotechnology’ sometimes scares people! However, once you get to know the world of biotechnology, you’ll find that it is a fascinating field of study, with applications in many fields including medical, pharmaceutical and even agricultural, and that it can remarkably benefit humankind.

Fitri’s Master of Biotechnology Studies was sponsored by the Australia Awards; these are prestigious international scholarships and short courses offering the next generation of global leaders an opportunity to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia.



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