“My job is about the passion I dedicate to improving the quality of life.”

I first met Antonia Armitage at Trajan Scientific and Medical, when I was learning about chromatography and how it’s related to our everyday life. I was fascinated by her passion for science and how she balances the hundreds of responsibilities that we juggle as women.

She is a vibrant, youthful, and dedicated research scientist, who has devoted her career and ambitions to a demanding technical field and time-consuming job! She spends time in the lab, carrying out research and testing products that are used in different industries. She wants to make sure our food, medication, and environment are safe from contaminants and harmful substances.

Ms. Armitage believes that every day brings more scientific breakthroughs that can improve a person’s quality of life. “Whether it is a new wound-healing bandage or a new piece of equipment to help with surgeries or medication innovations to treat human illnesses,” she said.

“I think it is great to have new technologies and science working together to improve the quality of life, as long as we don’t take what we have achieved already for granted,” she added.

Antonia knew from a young age that she wanted a career in science.

“I initially wanted to study veterinary medicine, but after our house got destroyed in a fire, I became interested in forensics. So, I went down the path of investigating different forensic courses and jobs.” Ms. Armitage said.

Antonia Armitage bachelor degree graduation

Forensic science is known to be a vital element in applying justice by providing evidence-based information and chemical analysis.

Her academic path supported her love for science. Antonia attained her honours bachelor degree of Forensics and Environmental Science at Dublin Institute of Technology and took a year off after that.

“In 2012, I completed my Master of Forensic Analysis at Kingston University, London. I enjoyed studying both degrees, but not so much the exams,” she added. “Before joining Trajan, I was backpacking my way around the world.” She has been through many adventures and lived different lives. She roamed all around Ireland, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, just before she fell in love with Melbourne and decided to settle here.

To join Trajan, she had to have the knowledge and experience in gas chromatography (GC), along with a sound understanding of separation science and analytical chemistry.

Chromatography is used in many industries and for many purposes – one of which is forensics. Gas chromatography can be used for crime scene testing, arson investigation and to determine the compounds present inside a human body after death.

“I find Forensic Pathology fascinating, especially when there is very little to go on, in finding out the cause of death,” Antonia said.

I had always wondered if scientists graduate from universities “job-ready” and how their career journey develops after that.

Antonia Armitage at Trajan

“I learned a lot of the basics at the University and then was able to put my experience to use.  Also, I learned a lot from working here at Trajan, things that aren’t necessarily taught in a university,” she clarified.

As a research scientist, she is responsible for conducting on-going research,  studying materials relevant to the company’s projects. She develops solutions for new products and improves the performance of existing ones. The ambitious scientist is motivated by continually challenging herself, “I am always striving to perform at 110% and to understand the work I am doing,” Ms. Armitage added.

She advises all women and girls to follow their dreams and never give up!

“If you like science, go for it. You should look back on your life with no regrets. If you don’t try, you won’t know the outcome. Yes, there will be some failures and setbacks, but the triumphs will generally outweigh them,” she said.

What supported her to become who she is today; a successful full-time research scientist and a mother of a beautiful child is the dedication and support of a close group of family and friends.

Although she is a long way from her home country and parents, she found just the right people to embrace her here, especially her partner and son.

Stay tuned to find out what I am learning from Antonia Armitage in my next blog posts.

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