Sebastian Manfrin, pictured in his graduation gown. Photo: Mark Newsham

Degrees in music and physics not such a strange pairing for Sebastian

Degrees in music and physics not such a strange pairing for Sebastian

Two topics of interest enable student to thrive in his studies

On Tuesday (3 May), Sebastian Manfrin graduated from the University of Wollongong (UOW) with a double degree – a Bachelor of Creative Arts in Music (with Distinction) and a Bachelor of Science in Physics.

“Music and science are simply both areas of study that I am passionate about,” said Sebastian, who lives with autism.  

“I think there can be a lot of pressure to choose one area of study to focus on but I preferred to keep my interests broad and choose a speciality later.”

Sebastian said his courses have been great for being able to explore areas of interest while maintaining a broad perspective and learning to work independently.

“Through my physics labs I’ve gone from answering set questions and using equipment that has been set up, to being an independent learner who can devise my own questions to explore and calibrate equipment myself.”

A keen guitarist since the age of six, Sebastian enjoyed that music studies offered the freedom to work on an area of interest.

“My third-year project centred around infusing live recordings and digital music in a composition piece.

“The project was recorded through the pandemic lockdowns, where restricted resources made recording rather than performing a logical focus. 

“Working with other students through concert projects was a highlight of my music studies – it’s a unique challenge, learning how to collaborate and negotiate on creative ideas.”

Sebastian Manfrin, pictured in his graduation gown, with his parents. Photo: Mark Newsham

Sebastian Manfrin with his parents on graduation day. 

Sebastian’s autism hasn’t stood in the way of his studies.

“The lectures and teachers have been very helpful and willing to answer my questions. 

“Dr Tim Bruniges [lecturer in the Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities] in particular has been very helpful with recording projects and has offered much constructive feedback – his keen engagement was the best thing a lecturer could do.”

Sebastian has now begun a Masters of Research in Medical Radiation Physics and will look at treatment planning software in radio therapy to calculate dose based on bone inhomogeneity. 

Sebastian will be attending graduation with his parents, sister and grandmother. His mum, Kath McCollim, Executive Director of Global Student Recruitment for UOW Global Enterprises, said she is so proud of what Sebastian has achieved.