STEMM PROFILE: Dr Shaghik Atakaramians | Postdoctoral Fellow, Photonics & Optical Science | University of Sydney | Sydney | NSW
“There are plenty of hidden opportunities in each challenge. To discover these opportunities one needs to get uncomfortable by embracing change and taking the initiative”
Dr Shaghik Atakaramians was awarded ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) in 2014 on Terahertz metamaterial waveguides. She joined the Institute of Photonics and Optical Science (IPOS) at the University of Sydney in 2011 as a postdoctoral fellow, and in 2012, she also started working for The Centre for Ultrahigh Bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS).
Shaghik received her Bachelor’s degree from Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST) and the Master’s degree from University of Tehran. In 2006, she joined T-ray group of the University of Adelaide as a visiting researcher. In 2007, she was granted an Australian Endeavour International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (EIPRS) and University of Adelaide Scholarship for Postgraduate Research. In 2011, she received her PhD in Electrical & Electronic Engineering with a Certificate of Merit from the Dean. Her PhD thesis has won the Gertrude Rohan Memorial Prize and 2011 University Doctoral Research Medal for outstanding research.
Shaghik is passionate about teaching. She is currently, lecturing Electromagnetics to third year Physics students. As a female researcher in the field of Engineering and Physics, disciplines with small number of female academic staff, she has always tried to be an advocate for diversity. She encourages and supports diversity and she is a member of PEAC (Physics Equity and Access Committee) at School of Physics in The University of Sydney.
Shaghik is a proud wife and also a mother of two – a five-year old girl and a two-year old boy.
What is about you that got you to where you are today?
Willingness, dedication and perseverance are the secrets for my achievements. There are plenty of hidden opportunities in each challenge. To discover these opportunities one needs to get uncomfortable by embracing change and taking the initiative.
Who and/or what inspires you to achieve?
The main driver for me is the willingness to have a positive impact. The feedback that I receive from people in my circle of trust including family members, colleagues and mentors help me adjust my objectives to fulfil my ultimate goals.
How do you cope with the self-doubt?
I focus on my strengths and task ahead- nothing left or right.
How do you cope with loss and rejection?
I reflect on the loss and rejection, trying to accept and acknowledge it. Soon after I discuss with relevant people with the aim of finding a new direction to proceed.
Do you have a mentor? What is the most important advice they have given you?
Yes, I have mentors. The best advice: in line with your vision, invest in activities that maximise your impact and output.