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Five minutes with Nardia Bordas

Friday, 28 October 2016

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Nardia Bordas was always destined for a career in a laboratory. But the School of Science Laboratory Technician took a slightly unconventional path to get there.

Q. What was it that attracted you to chemistry? 

A. I loved science growing up. I would actually hang around the science labs during lunch and recess talking to the lab technicians at high school. At university I studied biotechnology, and I enjoyed the chemistry component in that. It’s always fun doing experiments, mixing chemicals together and watching them change. 

Q. What does a typical day look like for a laboratory technician? 

A. It really depends on what time of the year. During semester it is a lot of setting up the labs to be ready for classes. This can involve setting up 30 experiments so that when the students and tutor arrive they can get straight into the class and get the most out of their time in the lab. Outside of semester there is plenty cleaning of equipment, organising and preparing so we are ready for semester to begin. I also help out with promotions like Open Day and going out to high schools to get kids excited about science and chemistry.

Q. What is your favourite part of the job?

A. Definitely the students. Students from many different disciplines do a unit in the labs in their first year, so I get to see a lot coming through each semester. It’s so great watching them learn and develop their skills and get excited about chemistry. Then there’s the students that do units in the lab throughout their degree and go on to post‑graduate work that you get to develop really strong relationships with.

Q. What are some of the more unconventional experiments you get to help facilitate?

A. One of the more interesting ones is where we take the students out to the car park to a simulated car accident. I get to play the role of the injured driver of the car. We set up simulated chemicals spills around the accident and the students have to assess how to safely get to the car to ‘rescue’ me. We have another one where I get to be an ‘arsonist’. This involves me burning an item of clothing and the students have to work out what kind of accelerant may have been used.

Q. What do you like to get up to outside of the lab?

A. While it’s not technically outside of a lab, I volunteer at Scitech helping to teach kids about chemistry. It was for this work that I was named the 2015 Scitech Volunteer of the Year. I also like to play, or at least attempt to play, the ukulele. There’s a group of people who meet up at Hillarys Boat Harbour every Friday night to play the ukulele and sing along. It’s great fun.

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