Jonathan weaves an academic web

Jonathan Webb

In the tradition of Rhodes Scholars, Jonathan Webb has not only set a high scholastic bar, but pursued his love of the arts and packed in a few more activities while studying at Oxford, including a 100-mile cycle ride in the Cotswolds.

Name:  Jonathan Webb

Secondary and tertiary education details:

St Peter’s College 1998; University of Adelaide (BA 2001, BSc (Mol Biol) 2003, BSc (Hons) 2004); Worcester College, University of Oxford (MSc in History of Science 2007; MSc in Neuroscience 2008)

Why did you choose Adelaide for your undergraduate degree?

I wanted to stay in Adelaide to be close to my family and friends. Importantly, the University of Adelaide offered the breadth and depth of academic and extracurricular activities that I was interested in.

Apart from your academic qualifications, how did your experience at the University of Adelaide shape you as a person?

It gave me the opportunity to pursue a lot of interests outside my studies, especially music and performance, which taught me a lot and left me with many lifelong friends. Within my studies, it was the character and dedication of the scientists who taught me that made me want to be a researcher. I’ve now decided to follow a career outside the lab, but my passion for science will be with me forever.

Details of scholarships (including Rhodes and any others)

Rhodes Scholarship for Australia-at-Large, 2006; Clarendon Scholarship for three years of DPhil study at Oxford, 2008

Describe your time at Oxford – what were the standout memories?

Too many to mention! I did a US tour with a singing group, took my own jazz concert to the Edinburgh Fringe, played Sweeney in Sweeney Todd, did a 100 mile cycle in the Cotswolds, and set up a science radio show with friends. College life is really fun – memories of the dinners will stay with me a long time – and academically, I’ve been able to work with some of the very best in my field.

What has been your career path since then?

I worked for a year at the Science Media Centre in London before returning to Oxford to finish off my DPhil. I plan to find more work in science communication after that.

How has the Rhodes Scholarship changed your life?

Immeasurably. The most important benefit, as with Oxford generally, is the range of interesting people I was able to meet. I now have a network of incredible friends spread right across the world.

Advice to incoming students to gain the most from their time at university

Get involved! This is the time in your life when it’s almost impossible to have too many commitments, so make the most of it. As long as you’re committed to your studies as well, there’s no limit to the fun you can have or the different things you can try out.

Any tips for new graduates on choosing their employment path?

Try never to let an opportunity pass you by. And when one comes along that really rings true with who you are and where you want to go, pursue it with all your passion and personality.


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