• SAMS UoA

#HumansOfMedsci with Dr Rachel Cameron

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 4/10/2018

Sound advice comes from Dr Rachel Cameron this week! You may know this heartening Lecturer and Pharmacology aficionado from Medsci 204 and 307. Read on to find out what influenced her path to success and advice for students today!

What is your background? Where did you grow up? I grew up in Essex in the UK, which is famous for Jamie Oliver (whom I never met) and infamous for Essex Girls (I met plenty of those).

What are your interests outside of university life? Escaping Auckland to the beach with my family and enormous, magnificent dog (Larry). Reading great books my children have found (currently the Unwind series by Neal Shusterman). Travelling to places that put my life in perspective.

What was your education pathway? In the UK I went to a fantastically posh primary school where we were taught elocution by reciting “How now brown cow”, followed by a girls high school and two years at the University of Sheffield studying medicine. Medicine was not my calling so I dropped out and moved to NZ. After a year working for five entertaining dentists, I enrolled at the University of Auckland in a BSc, which led to a BSc Hons then a PhD in Neuropharmacology supervised by Prof. Mike Dragunow.

What are you working on right now? Incorporating Maori values in my teaching meaningfully.

What drew you to your field of interest? Was there a particular moment you knew that this topic would be your focus? I originally wanted to be a psychiatrist but too many people told me I would turn into a miserable alcoholic. That sounded like something to avoid, so I made neuropharmacology my focus based on an ‘Aha’ moment during a conversation with a good friend on Grafton Road.

If you could give your undergraduate self any advice, what would you tell them? 1. Maintain perspective: University life can be challenging, critical and competitive. Don’t let this diminish your self-worth. 2. Don’t procrastinate: Give up on perfection and learn the law of diminishing returns. 3. Exercise! It will protect your mental wellbeing. 4. Find yourself a champion to remind you of your strengths and a clown to help you laugh at your flaws. 5. Persevere!

Thank you so much to Dr Rachel Cameron for her wonderful interview! Dr Cameron is always keen to talk to students about their research - email her if you'd be interested in doing a research project with her!