Welcome New Members Update- March 2021

We would like to welcome all new NSW/ACT members who joined the RACI in March 2021. As a professional membership organisation, we provide networking and special interest events during the year. Details of all Branch events can be found on the website.


Full Name Member Type
Haibo Yu MRACI Cchem
Mr Cameron McEwin MRACI
Dr Nandhini Ravi MRACI
Miss Sashika Madhupani Yalage Don Postgraduate Student
Mrs Tanjina Sultana Student
Mr Dominic Fleming MRACI
Ms Antonia Papasergio Student
Mr Kamal Jayakumar MRACI
Mr Ryan Stephen Pratt Student
Mr Tyler Anthony Simons Student
Mr Samuel James Shelton Student



New Member Interviews


1. Thi Tuyet Nhung Nguyen

  • How did you learn about RACI? Last summer, I had an opportunity to be a part of a research project under the supervision of Dr Danny Wong, who mentioned about the activities of RACI.  I understood that RACI is the community of people loving chemistry in Australia, which is therefore often regarded as the voice of chemistry in Australia.  RACI conducts many events, conferences,and programs for not only students in high schools, universities, but also professional chemists in industry.

  • Why did you decide to join RACI? I just moved from Vietnam toAustralianearly one year ago and I am keen to involve myself in the chemistry community in Australia. My supervisor, Dr Danny Wong, also encouraged me to join RACI.  

  • What degree program are you studying? I am now studying my Master of Science Innovation in Chemistry and Biomolecular Science at Macquarie University.  After working in analytical chemistry for a long time, I'm fully aware that nowadays there is no clear boundary between different science disciplines.  For example, certain chemical principles can be used to explain a variety of phenomena in a human body.  Besides, chemistry could bring many benefits to the society such as development of drugsand improvement of human health. Therefore, I decided tocontinue doing scientific research in chemistry as well as broaden my knowledge of biomolecularscience.

  • What made you get into chemistry? With the passion originated from my first chemistry teacher, whois my mother, I completed a bachelor degree majoring in Chemistry.  I have shown my enthusiasm for analysing and quantifying substances in matrices while studying at the university,where I met many lecturers who kept inspiring me in the analytical chemistry pathway.

  • Do you use chemistry in your everyday life? If so, how? I can see chemistryin many aspectsof everyday life.  For instance, I always pay attention to the list of ingredients on food packaging to avoid synthetic additives.  I sometimes guide my children by doing some simple experiments such as making a lava lamp or distinguishing between a vinegar solution and a soap solutionbythe use of indicators.

  • Do you have a favourite reagent or a reaction? I have been working with many reagents in analytical chemistry. These reagents could be used for qualitative and quantitive determination of ions in a solution. An example is redcabbage that can be used as an indicator for pH. In the laboratory, alizarin red S and dimethylglyoxime are reagents for determining the presence of aqueous aluminium ions and nickel ions, respectively.

  • What do you like to do outside of chemistry? love to spend my spare time with myfamilyor watch movies during my down time.

  • How can the RACI help you in your current role? intend to join inevents and workshops organised by RACI,as well as interacting with professionals in this field. I am interested in the application of laboratory ideas to industry and I hope to find an internship position through RACI in the future.


2. Phuc Minh Hung Nguyen

  • How did you learn about RACI? I have actually known about RACI since I was in Year 10 in my home country of Vietnam through my participation in one of the largest competitions (the International Chemistry Quiz) for gifted high school students sponsored by RACI.  I represented my school in a fun-filled and informative competition at the time.

  • Why did you decide to join RACI? I began my study at Macquarie University in 2017 and more recently, I participated in a research project under the supervision of Dr Danny Wong.  Danny mentioned about the opportunity of becoming a student member at RACI, which reminded me a lot of my participation in the competition run by RACI mentioned above.  I was very excited and could not wait to lodge my application.  I also feel there is a benefit of becoming a student member so that I have all the opportunity to meet and interact with many world-leading chemists based in Australia.

  • What degree program are you studying? I am currently in third year of my Bachelor of Medical Science (majoring in medicinal chemistry) program at Macquarie University.  Hence, I am super keen to learn and be involved in medical research in drugs and drug treatment for human diseases (for example, anti-cancer drugs).  I am therefore looking forward to joining different specialised groups in RACI to enrich my knowledge and to network with fellow students from other institutions and experts in Australia.

  • What made you get into chemistry? In retrospect, I was fortunate to have come across an inspiring chemistry teacher at high school.  This teacher always incorporated and introduced examples of amazing and useful chemistry applications in daily life.  One example that I can still vividly remember is the production of toxic carbon monoxide during charcoal burning, which poses hazard to all occupants in an indoor setting.  I always enjoy learning how chemistry can be applied to daily life experiences and be able to offer a sound explanation for various observations.

  • Do you use chemistry in your daily life? If so, how? We are all using chemistry on a daily basis. For example, scented candles can be used to calm and relax an individual after a long and hectic study day.  When the scented candle is burnt, it will release an aromatic scent (a derivative form of an ester product).  The release of the fragrance will relax one’s mind well at the end of a day.

  • Do you have a favourite reagent or a reaction? One of my favourite chemical reactions is the bromination of acetylene (C2H2 + Br2 C2H2Br2), which I came across in high school. In this reaction, the orange colour of bromine solution is decolorised when it is being consumed in the reaction with acetylene gas that is constantly pumped into the bromine solution. This reaction stimulated my curiosity a great deal back at high school as I was anxious to understand why and how this phenomenon happened.

  • What do you like to do outside of chemistry? I consider myself an outgoing and engaging person.  Therefore, I am actively involved in leading social events for small student groups on campus and community projects run by not-for-profit organisations.  I am always interested in connecting with people of a diverse background in the local community and my activities provide an opportunity to contribute to their development and progression. I am also a health-conscious person and so I enjoy a regular gym session or go jogging in the open. Besides that, I am into cooking and watching various cooking shows to learn about different cuisines and cultures. I usually spend my weekends reading books as well.

  • How can the RACI help you in your current role? As I am a student majoring in medicinal chemistry, I hope to network with as many scientists within RACI as I can.  This will be an incredible opportunity to learn and to acquaint with scientists through conferences, webinars or workshops.  Participation in RACI will help develop my professional skills and discipline-specific knowledge in medicinal chemistry.


3. Stephen Bortolussi

  • How did you learn about RACI? I was vaguely aware of RACI throughout my undergraduate studies at UNSW, but I was only made aware of the RACI’s importance as a professional network after attending some workshops run by RACI members for students.
  • Why did you decide to join RACI? Professional organisations play a vital role in supporting a community.  In a field that can, at times, be isolating and tightly focused, RACI provides an opportunity to meet and learn from other chemists.  Learning about  developments outside your own speciality enriches your understanding of chemistry as a cohesive whole, and networking between science and industry helps to contextualise the impact research can have.
  • What degree program are you studying?  I am currently studying a PhD at the UNSW at the Kensington campus in Sydney.  I’m looking into antiaromatic molecules for new magneto-optic and other physical properties, under the guidance and supervision of Dr Martin Peeks, after having done a similar project for my honours year.
  • What made you get into chemistry?  I had initially started my undergraduate degree focusing in on material science, with chemistry on the side as a possible second major.  I was won over by how interesting the fundamentals of chemistry were, the simple  (and not-so-simple) rules that lead to an explosion of complexity and possibility.  I also found the experimental side of chemistry far more robust and adaptable, with an exhilarating mix of innovation and discovery.  I changed the focus of my studies to chemistry, and I have never looked back.
  • Do you use chemistry in your everyday life?  If so, how? While the strict academic knowledge doesn’t come up in everyday life, the skills and mindset absolutely do.  Being adaptable, curious and creative are prerequisites for a fulfilling life, and are trained every day in studying chemistry.  So-called “soft skills” like communication, time management and integrity are absolutely necessary for both chemistry and life.
  • Do you have a favourite reagent or a reaction? While I don’t have any specific reaction, I do have a place in my heart for any reaction that can be set up in the late afternoon and can run without monitoring until the next morning.  There is something so satisfying about going to bed knowing the chemistry is handling itself!  Also, anyone who needs to do quite a few TLC plates a day will appreciate the aromatic joys of vanillin.
  • What do you like to do outside of chemistry? In my free time I like to read (both fiction and non-fiction), play Dungeons and Dragons, and listen to podcasts, as well as run social events through a number of on-campus student societies.