Chippy Mathew says while studying a Master of Internet of Things in a foreign country, during a pandemic, certainly brought its challenges, the extraordinary time has also highlighted the potential life-saving applications of her field.
Chippy, of India, is one of two women studying in our first IoT cohort. She specifically chose to come to Bendigo, after discovering the unique La Trobe degree.
Chippy had graduated from a Bachelor of Electronic Communications and Engineering in 2017, then spent two years working as a software engineer in India. The experience combined software, electronics and IT, and inspired her to know more.
Over the past two years our IoT students have learnt to build their own electronic hardware parts and develop their own software, enabling them to gather information in real time and instantly make that data accessible.
For Chippy, the opportunity to take part in two practical projects has been invaluable. She spent early 2021 on an internship with the City of Greater Bendigo, collecting, analysing and visualizing data from sensors along local walking paths, to detect how many people were walking and how often, giving the council a snapshot of residents’ exercise habits.
She was also part of the student team to devise a system to record real time water quality in the Bendigo Creek, eliminating the need for constant physical data collection.
But, her heart lies in healthcare. She says sensors could be used in ICUs and ambulances to record patients’ vital signs, feed that data directly to doctors, speed up response times and save lives. “It’s especially needed in this pandemic, as everyone needs care at the same time,” she says.
While in Bendigo Chippy has supported herself by working in cleaning and hospitality, but she also credits some scholarships to aid in her goals. She was awarded a Federal Government Destination Australia scholarship, which encourages students to study in the regions. She was awarded a City of Greater Bendigo scholarship encouraging women in STEM, plus a La Trobe Golden Key International Award for her outstanding academic achievement.
“The Destination Australia scholarship was a great relief for me during the entire course period,” Chippy says, as it provides students with $15,000 per year of study.
“During the unpredictable COVID-19 pandemic situation here and back in my home country, the scholarship helped me to stay on track with my studies. It was a great support to cope with the living expense as well. That was even a relaxation for my parents.
“I am also so grateful to the sponsors, who take care and always welcome international students like me to Australia.”
Chippy also recently received an IDP Professional Development Bursary of $1665. “Which helped me to explore the core subjects in depth by accessing online course and materials, to sharpen and develop my new skills,” she says.
Chippy is now at the end of her degree and says she’d like to repay Australia, and the support of the Bendigo faculty, by remaining here to work in IoT development, before heading home to India to do the same.