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Meet the Chemistry Valedictorian motivated for good


Music, economics, psychology, and fine arts were just a few of the study options 2021 College of Sciences and Engineering Valedictorian Eve Poland considered when coming to university.

However, amidst the cornucopia of courses, her unwavering passion for sustainability remained her true north.

“I had a very hard time choosing which course to study, mostly because I was interested in so many different things. Even after two gap years, I was still struggling to decide!” revealed Eve

Her familiarity with the University of Tasmania began in high school and deepened during college when her family and friends started attending. Given her desire to be close to her family, choosing the university was instinctive.

Eve initially selected a Bachelor of Medical Research, eyeing a career in medicine. However, the enthralling world of chemistry unveiled in her first-year chemistry units left her utterly enchanted.

“I swapped into a Bachelor of Science majoring in both chemistry and statistics after my first year. I also enrolled in a Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil) - a companion degree for high achieving students - which allowed me to follow my curiosity and learn new things.”

The BPhil is a degree with remarkable freedom. It is about philosophy in the literal “love of wisdom” way, giving students the ability to study units beyond the traditional confines of a structured degree.”

Eve added, "For instance, I pursued units in French, public speaking, leadership development, and even undertook independent chemistry research projects."

Ever the self-starter, Eve embraced every chance to contribute to her field beyond her academic commitments. Whether it was completing summer research projects, establishing the UTAS Zero Waste student society, authoring an academic paper, or presenting at conferences, Eve seized every opportunity with gusto.

Her proactive approach did not go unnoticed. Last year the General Sir John Monash Foundation acknowledged her dedication and awarded her the prestigious 2023 John Monash Scholarship, alongside another fellow University of Tasmania graduate Bridget Dunne.

She is now set to embark on a Doctor of Philosophy in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Oxford, investigating sustainability issues such as plastic pollution and heightened levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Eve acknowledged, "Every opportunity I had was due to the mentors at the University of Tasmania. I am eager to represent the University of Tasmania as a proud ambassador during my time at Oxford."

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