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By Maggie Leung, Grok Magazine.
Jason Kim will be the Science and Engineering Faculty Rep for 2021, his pronouns are He/Him and he is studying a double degree in Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science.
From being a First Year Rep to a Faculty Representative, he strives to better enhance student experience for peers around campus and here is his story.
Where is your favourite to be on campus?
My favourite place is the Hammock Hotel, Number 2. The one right outside engineering. So, in first year engineering, all my classes are like going from eight to six with like three hours break, which is terrible. I do not really sleep much at night, so during those breaks, Hammock Hotel is the best place to be.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I want to work in an engineering firm which aligns with my values. I want to go into sustainable developments, an engineering company hopefully in the field of like renewables or something like that. I wanted an office job, say nine to five. But now the plan is from five to midnight, I will work on my own start-up business.
How and why did you get involved in the Guild?
Literally when I first came into university, the advice I was given by my older siblings was to do everything you can and take every opportunity you can. And in my first year, there is an application for becoming a first year Guild Rep. I applied and I got it.
Then Christopher Hall, the previous Vice President - Education, he invited me to elections and to run as an ordinary Guild Councillor. I stayed as an ordinary Guild Councillor, then I ran again as the Science and Engineering Rep.
How do think you can make a difference this year, and what are you hoping to achieve?
When I first ran for Science and Engineering Rep., I made a bucket list of everything I wanted to do. A lot of it came from specific units like abolishing handwritten coding exams.
My main goal would be to bridge the Science and Engineering gap.
I think doing double degrees like computer science and engineering is really my favourite. I see a bit of both worlds. I want to bridge that gap and that starts with the clubs. I will stay involved with the science and engineering clubs and try to get them to communicate a bit more because there is a lot of engineering clubs and few science clubs.
What is the most important issue for students today?
From my perspective, mine would be student missing out on the university experience. Because last year, when things moved online, a lot of students did not get to experience going to class every day, going to tutorials, and making friends. I think the social aspect of university is very important. Study is one thing, but I think the university experience is a bit more than that, it is about making friends, new connections and going to events.
How do you see universities adapting to student’s needs in the future?
From a Guild perspective, when I see their proposals for all the new blended learning, the staff cuts, budget cuts and stuff like that. It feels like they are prioritizing money over the quality of education.
To the academics or higher ups, we are just another number. They are adapting to COVID, but not really to what is best for the learning of students.
What is your advice for making the most out of the university experience, especially for first years?
I would say the advice would be to take every opportunity that comes your way. Because if you do not try, you would never know, and if you never ask, the answer would always be no. So, take every opportunity, which means, join a club, go to all your classes, at least for the first week or two, because that is the time people would be most interactive and social.
If you could make any changes in the university, what would it be and why?
I would probably go with the quality of education. Since I started my role, I have had a few cases where people are like, ‘so it feels like academic has a quota per students’. Saying they have one hour to mark the student’s work and something like that.
I would like more transparency and feedback for students because you do a final exam you get a grade and then that is it. You do not see what you did wrong, you do not learn, you do not get feedback, so it feels like once we do the unit, we do the unit to pass, not to learn.
If you were the Prime Minister of Australia for a day, what would you do?
I would give it to someone else, I want to stay as far away from politics as I could. I just hate politics; it is just too messy for me.
This article is part of a Curtin Student Guild interview series conducted by Grok Magazine.
Email Jason on firstname.lastname@example.org