High achievers follow their passions

High-achieving students Shakir Islam, Caitlin Matthei and Ryan Betbeder are thrilled to receive an offer to study at UNSW in 2017.


Pursuing her passion for education...Caitlin Matthei.

High-achieving students Shakir Islam, Caitlin Matthei and Ryan Betbeder are thrilled to receive an offer to study at UNSW in 2017.

Caitlin Matthei achieved an ATAR of 99.35, and while she could have followed in her mother’s footsteps and studied medicine, she has decided to pursue her passion for education and enrol in a dual degree in Arts and Secondary Education at UNSW.

“I really want to be a teacher because I think you can have a real impact in people’s lives,” Caitlin says.

“I did consider other university subjects but I decided that I wanted to do something that wasn’t necessarily the most highly sought-after career in society, but rather something that I actually wanted to do,” she says.

Caitlin attended St Catherine’s school in Waverley and was particularly inspired by her biblical studies teacher.

“My favourite subject in the HSC was Studies of Religion. The information was applicable to life and I enjoyed finding out about different beliefs and religions.

“I’m really happy to get an offer at UNSW. I live close by, and I’m also keen to get involved in some of the clubs and societies,” she says.

Shakir Islam, who attended Alexandria Park Community School, is planning to study Business Information Systems, and is the recipient of a UNSW Co-op scholarship, which provides both financial assistance and industry experience.

“My sister Shirleen went through the UNSW Co-op program and graduated in 2012. While I was in high school she constantly told me that I had to do this program, and that I should work hard so I would qualify for the Scholarship,” says Shakir.

Shakir Islam

Shakir Islam

“The UNSW Co-op program is really unique, particularly in how much industry experience it offers as well as the networks it provides,” he says.

Shakir chose the Bachelor of Business Information Systems because he is interested in learning how to integrate new technology into the business environment.

“I’d love to work with businesses to overcome problems through the use of technology. I would also like to learn more about entrepreneurship and maybe start my own business. However, I think it's important to get industry experience first and that is something the Co-op program offers,” he says.

Ryan Betbeder graduated from Sydney Technical High School with an ATAR of 98.7 and was state-ranked in engineering. He will study a new degree in Data Science and Decisions.

His father is Director of Research Technology Services at UNSW and Ryan says he heard about the degree from his dad.

“I was interested in either Mechatronic Engineering or Data Science. I chose Data Science because I thought there would be more employment opportunities,” Ryan says.

The new three-year multidisciplinary degree was introduced to address a high demand for data scientists who can make discoveries and gain business insights from analysing complex datasets. Read more about the new program here.