Interview with Dr. Andi Horvath

Posted: May 23, 2011 in Interviews
Tags: ,

Andi on the set of Einstein Factor ABC TV :: photo provided complimets of Andi

Meet Dr. Andi Horvath as she tells us all about her love of science, her career in science and gives us some tips for your blossoming science career!

1. How did you become interested in Science?
My year 2 teacher performed a class science demo where she stuffed a student’s hankie (mine!) into the bottom of a glass. She then turned it upside down into a deep bowl of water held it there and pulled it out again. I was astounded, my hankie remained dry! I was even more astounded to learn why: the air in the glass takes up space and the water can’t get to the hankie. From that moment on I was hooked on Science!

2. What is your current job?
I am “Dr Andi” a Science radio broadcasters on 3RRR and a Science podcaster at Museum Victoria. My job title is ‘Senior curator, Science communication’, I also develop exhibitions like the House Secrets at Scienceworks. I have really cool ‘to-do-lists’, example: Find out about microwave ovens for a blog, interview an invertebrate palaeontologist about their findings, etc.

3. Why did you choose this field?
So I studied Human Biology at University. As a post grad student I got a job tutoring Biology and then I realised I actually liked talking about science more than doing it. So when I finished my post grad, I ran away and joined a Science circus to learn about how to present Science to public audiences. Many years later and few jobs later, I ended up here at the Museum.

4. What was the hardest part about jumping from VCE to Uni?
Having even more pimples, I thought they were supposed to stop before you got to Uni. The other thing is you have to set your own homework otherwise you cram for exams and that never ends well. Trust me.

5. What was the highlight of your tertiary studies?
I’ll never forget my pharmacology lecturer (the late Struan Sutherland); his lectures were unforgettable because they were so memorable. He knew how to synthesise and communicate scientific information.

6. Throughout your career, who has been your greatest inspiration?
My high school biology teacher was enthusiastic about biology and that shear ‘enthusiasm’ for getting into a subject no matter how hard or tricky was inspiring. It helped me get motivated to really get my head around complex theories in Science.
There were a couple of ‘professors’ that were very inspirational too. I was always impressed they were so ‘knowledgeable’ in not just their Science but also in history, philosophy, and wonderfully mundane but important things like coffee beans.

7. What was your favourite subject?
My favourite subject was Pharmacology; it’s a great way to understand more about Human Biology.

8. What do you think your science career holds in store for you?
I have no idea (seriously it’s such an unpredictable world) but I rather talk about ‘you’ the reader. Your teachers (like my old teachers) are busy preparing you for careers that may not exist yet. No one had heard of ‘Science communication’ when I was school and now there are courses everywhere.

9. What are the must-dos to achieve a career in science?
Be inspired and be inspirational.

10. If you could give one piece of advice to a budding Science student, what would it be?
When studying for exams pretend you are teaching it someone else (even a teddy bear or action figure will do). Seriously I think I only learnt how fascinating the Science was when I had to teach it as a post-grad! I wish someone had told me that earlier I wouldn’t have had to cram for exams.


Thanks Andi!

  1. Nubia says:

    Dr. Andi,

    I am so glad to have “stumbled” upon your blog and this site. My mother has continually encouraged me to study animal behavior, when I didn’t even know the formal term for it. When you mentioned the fact that people are preparing for careers that do not yet exist, I was so thankful all over again for my mother’s encouragement.

    I think I will be one to create my career, and I do not yet know the name for it. I still have not made a decision, but I am terribly distraught about having to prepare for the GRE in order to apply for a program for which there is only a Ph.D. and no Master’s. Applied Animal Behavior. However, I found inspiration in the story of pursuing a MS in Zoology.

    In short, “thank you”. If you’ve got any tips, whatsoever with regard to test prep or possible challenges that come with paving one’s own career path, please do share with your readers!

    • Thank you for your comment, Nubia! I will pass on your comments to Dr. Andi.

      I’m not sure how far along you are into your tertiary education, but if you are interested in Animal Behaviour, I’d look into doing a Zoology major and/or degree. Animal behaviour is a major stream within Zoology. You will do entire subjects on it, as well as incorporating it into a ‘larger picture’, which I think is perfect for your Bachelor degree. In order to truly understand animal behaviour, it’s important to understand all the factors in the environment that may be influencing them.

      As mentioned in the post you referred to, my Masters research project is all about animal behaviour, so it’s very possible to specialise straight out of your Bachelor degree.

      If you have any queries about it, please feel free to ask me.

  2. Kylie T. says:

    That is interesting and I’m glad I read it. I am about to complete my Bachelor in Science degree majoring in Chemical Engineering and although I am glad I have come this far, I’m not sure I want to continue further. I have spent a lot of time thinking I want to continue or switch majors into a another science degree or commerce degree. However, I mostly dream about writing or psychology and travel. Perhaps, I need to give it more thought and find out how to combine my interests like Dr Andi.

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