Tim Friel

Tim Friel
Liaison Officer
meriSTEM Educational Resources

About Tim

Towards the end of a Bachelor of Science from ANU, I became aware that my passion lay in education, not Theoretical Physics research. Since recognising the privilege I have experienced to study and live in Canberra, when originally from the NSW South Coast, I have worked towards educational equity whenever possible. This includes through formal roles as a science communicator with Questacon, recruitment manager with Teach For Australia, as an independent candidate in the 2016 ACT Legislative Assembly elections, and now with the start-up project ‘meriSTEM’. Through creating flipped science classroom science resources with meriSTEM, I can assist teachers and volunteer contributors to implement best practice in their endeavours to produce positive outcomes for students.

After numerous conversations with undergraduate students regarding their future, I studied a Graduate Certificate in Careers Education and Development to understand the pedagogy behind careers counselling to more effectively support others. This knowledge is now implemented through my work with meriSTEM and via delivering workshops for STEM volunteering organisations.

In what remains of my spare time, I run a Bengal Cat breeding business with my partner and ride a motorcycle.

Area of study

Bachelor of Science at ANU from 2013 to 2016, majoring in Theoretical Physics, specialising in Astrophysics, minoring in Mathematics and Science Communication.

Graduate Certificate in Careers Education and Development at RMIT in 2019.

Epic fail

I was arranging to run a training session on mentoring young people as a value-add and recruitment activity for Teach For Australia on ANU campus. My supervisor was flying from Melbourne to Canberra to facilitate the session as an experienced teacher in challenging environments. We decided to cancel the session at the last moment due to poor registration numbers, only 7 people, as it was not a viable use of time.

I was awfully embarrassed as it was my first time arranging an activity like this, and as a not-for-profit organisation it was a big investment of funds to fly a staff member to Canberra.

From this experience I learnt two things: firstly, partnerships are key! Work closely with organisations who engage with your target market to promote your event, rather than trying to do all the promotion yourself without the networks. And secondly, set markers in the approach to an event which act as points to determine next actions. There should always be a date at which you will pull the pin on an event if the demand is not there, and your stakeholders need to be on the same page regarding these deadlines.

Proudest moment

As a young professional, your key performance indicators are often related to external actions (e.g. sales targets, productivity). However, I always dedicate time to my colleagues and employees to build relationships and support their growth through sharing my knowledge, which are not always KPIs. Every time I hear of my workplace peers achieving bigger and brighter things, I’m proud to have been there as a sounding board and a motivator.

Top tip

Have a LinkedIn account and contribute content! Approximately 240,000 applications are submitted to the top 100 graduate employers every year for 5,000 graduate roles. Almost all graduate recruiters are on LinkedIn, but only one-third of final year students have a profile and next-to-none post content. Posting a few times a week during graduate application season and connecting with the relevant graduate recruiters and employees of the businesses you want to work for will maximise your name recognition. Plus you’ll be able to learn about all the cool things you can do with those organisations (perfect for your cover letter and decision-making process).