Anzel has always been interested in the intersection of science and innovation - he's now a successful entrepreneur and a finalist in the University’s Velocity 100K Challenge.
Programme: Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci)
Subject: Biological Sciences
Anzel has always been interested in the intersection of science and innovation and this was integral to his choice of university. “I primarily chose the University of Auckland for the programmes they offered and their alumni network. A lot of disruptive leaders have come from here and being able to sit down and talk with some of them has been really insightful.”
During his postgraduate studies, he was exposed to innovation and entrepreneurship in science during a medical science class. “We got the opportunity to do an investor pitch around cancer drug combinations we chose that would be an excellent candidate for a phase III trial. For that session they brought in a special guest investor judge who had led projects in this area and it was one of the first times I experienced my entrepreneurship and science world collide.”
Since then, he’s been developing his skills and knowledge in this area by choosing courses at the forefront of innovation in science: “I was interested in progressing my knowledge in different areas related to biotechnology and medicine and the flexibility of the programme allowed me to take more specialised papers from a variety of different science disciplines that I thought would be valuable in the future.
“I enjoy the range and variability of relevant topics such as Protein & Genetic Engineering, Nano and Biotechnology, Drug Development, Scientific Ethics and Environmental Governance just to name a few. I love that every class I'm taking is thinking about where things are heading so we as the next generation of professionals are prepared to be part of the change-making at the forefront of these fields.
We’re challenged to think about current problems and with the COVID-19 pandemic, learning about viruses and vaccines has been quite relevant. The lecturers are also experts in their domain and eager to help.
Taking advantage of entrepreneurship opportunities at the University and meeting fellow students interested in innovation has been critical for Anzel. “I’ve had some amazing experiences. My entrepreneurial journey begin at the University’s Summer Lab, where I made some incredible friends. After I graduated from undergrad, my first job was a Programme Manager at Hack Aotearoa which was New Zealand’s first AI in Healthcare Conference & Datathon hosted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Critical Data and the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland.
“Working with everyone in that experience to bring an international data set to New Zealand and facilitate that interdisciplinary collaboration between medical and data specialists opened my eyes to how specialties will be blending together in the future to catalyse problem solving. Some of the things I’m studying in my PGDipSci build on what I witnessed during that job, for example the importance of data ethics and how to use technology for good. All of the experts involved had also achieved so much and it was inspiring to learn from all of their experiences.”
He's now a successful entrepreneur himself, and a finalist in the University’s Velocity 100K Challenge. “Currently I’m running a VR start-up, which has opened up some opportunities for me in tech. I’m passionate about exploring more avenues in that industry and I think my qualification makes it easier to venture into the health side of it which I have some experience in. Since the world is rapidly changing and this decade will see another significant shift in technological advancements, I'd love to be part of that process of development in my vocations.”