Hannah Fair
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Hannah Fair

Surprise Scientist

Medical Researcher
Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre,
University of Tasmania

Towards the end of year 10 I decided that I was not going to study any more science. My parents (an engineer and a computer programmer) were not so keen on this decision, so at my local college’s open day Mum dragged me over to the science station, where I met the coolest science teacher I had ever come across. This teacher single-handedly convinced me that science could be fun, and that even if it wasn’t, it was worth continuing because it kept my career options open.

Based on this conversation I enrolled in science for year 11. By the end of year 11 science had grown on me and I enrolled in both physics and chemistry for year 12.

Three weeks before the end of year 12 I decided that science was so fun and interesting that I couldn’t bring myself to stop studying it. I abandoned my long-term plan to become a teacher and instead enrolled in a medical research degree.

I have now been doing research for three years, and I love it! At first my research involved growing brain cells in a dish to investigate possible causes of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease and Motor Neuron Disease. Now I am trying to understand how scientists can share everything we know about preventing dementia with others in the community. I am working as part of a big study on reducing dementia risk in North-West Tasmania. I love what I do because I learn something new almost every day and because the information I get to share with people has the potential to change their lives.


For more information about my work: www.utas.edu.au/wicking