In recognition of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, AusDiagnostics are celebrating the talents and success of our female colleagues.
Marilla Bickerstaff-Westbrook is a rising star in the production team at AusDiagnostics. Since embarking on her role as Production Operator in July of 2021, she has impressed her colleagues with her passion for biotechnology and love of the lab.
We asked Marilla some questions about her career.
What do you like/love about what you do?
Well to confess, on Sundays, I’m often impatient for the week to start and get back into the lab!
First and foremost, the people: the collaborative and nurturing working environment with a strong sense of team-work, diversity of character, inclusivity, value oriented and driven team I work with everyday. The growing production demands during the COVID craze in the production lab has enabled the team to feed off the rush of adrenaline, but has also fostered a tight bond of trust and support for each other.
I don’t need to have worked in many laboratories/companies to know that this is sense of community within the workforce is rare.
What attracted you to AusDiagnostics?
The fact that AusDiagnostics is a relatively young, rapidly expanding and innovative company is one reason.
I also felt very compelled to work with my production Managers, Stuart and Tiasha, as they actively promote a breadth of learning opportunities tailored to each employee and provide the mentorship and guidance to learn and grow as a person and grow with the company.
What do you do in your spare time and why?
Currently, I am learning German, do a lot of cycling, crocheting and blog writing (experimental vignettes merging ideas of science, art and philosophy together).
Did you know what you wanted to do after finishing school or the industry you wanted to work in?
My heart was set on Astrophysics in high school and I was originally enrolled in an Bachelor in astrophysics before I chose the Bachelor of Medical Sciences a week before semester started.
Have you followed family footsteps into this industry?
Both my parents studied back to back all the way through to completing PhDs in the fields of computer science, electrical engineering and optometry. I feed off both my parent studious working ethic and fostered a deep-rooted interest and hunger to learn.
My Father’s experience in the biomedical industry, working on neuromodulating implants at SALUDA Medical, prompted me to jump out of my academia bubble and consider my options in the biotech industry.
Additionally, my Mother’s courageous return to university to pursue creative writing, having already achieved a PhD in Optometry and her deviation from the orthodox career path has given me treasurable insight and heavily moulded how I define success.
Where would you like to take this opportunity, or see yourself moving forward?
I’m not sure. Just reiterating, the role has exposed me to an overwhelming scope of opportunity. I want to expose myself to as much as possible! Currently, I’m interested in learning robotics and getting involved in projects regarding the research and development of new products.
Were there any detours in your journey, different jobs or industries?
Working at AusDiagnostics as a production operator is my first full-time role within the biotech industry. Previously, my interest and experience has been focused on research-orientated work experience, such as investigating mutant genes associated with motor neuron disease using zebra fish and antibiotic drug discovery for nosocomial pathogens.
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