Melchizedek Michael Jimbai

Sarawakian student is inspired by father to be a top chemist.

“My dad is a chemist with Petronas and tutored me throughout my school days in chemistry. He was very strict and I was punished if I made any mistakes,” says Melchizedek Michael Jimbai (or just ‘Mel’ to his friends). Needless to say, the budding scientist from Kuching did not want to disappoint his dad and would usually ace his exams. As he strove to make his dad proud, Mel began to develop a real passion for both chemistry and biology. “I remember seeing pictures of my dad looking real cool in his lab coat and with his test tubes and assorted instruments when I was a kid. I knew I wanted to be just like him,” smiles the former student of SMK Kidurong Bintulu.

The youngest of four children, Mel’s two eldest brothers are working as an Information Technologist and a pilot, while the third sibling is studying for a degree in mechanical engineering. “I don’t want to be the only one without higher education and I want to make my father proud,” says the 20-year old. He decided on the Diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology programme as he wanted to be involved in the healthcare industry. Nilai University (Nilai U) came by way of recommendation from an uncle who lives in the area.

The quietly, intense young lad has already mapped out the future stating that he wants to pursue a Degree in Biomedical Science. This will allow him to be a microbiologist working in hospitals, helping to diagnose symptoms. “Choosing Nilai U was a no-brainer as it offered both programmes I wanted to pursue. Furthermore, it has ties with Gribbles Pathology which means I don’t have to worry about my industrial placement,” he explains. Nilai U students from the Diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology are sent to Gribbles Pathology for their internship allowing them plenty of hands on experience with latest technology and equipment. In fact, many students are retained by the largest pathology services provider in the country.

Mel says he chose to start with a diploma programme instead of the Foundation in Science as he says that the former will give him more precise and in-depth knowledge of the field. This will help him when he enters the BSc (Hons) in Biomedial Science programme.

Having joined in January 2013, Mel is happy with his experience at Nilai U so far. He finds the greenery and the peaceful environment very conducive for studies and there are plenty of activities planned every month to keep students occupied after classes. But most importantly for a young man very focussed on achieving his academic goals, he says that he is very impressed by the laboratory facilities. “In this line of work, practical training is very important. Having labs that are properly equipped is vital,” he stresses. “I also have to say that the wifi connectivity on campus is pretty good allowing for online research and study. The library is also pretty well-stocked with books for my programme and is also quite cosy and comfortable.”

He has a word of warning though for students who are strong in biology and chemistry and assume the programme is going to be easy. “Despite my father’s tutoring and my strong foundation in both subjects, I am having a very tough time with the subject of biochemistry. It is very difficult to remember all the pathways, hormones, metabolism and catabolism,” admits Mel. However, he has a noble solution to the problem as he makes animated features on youtube to help him remember all the relevant facts and formulae. “The lecturers are also very helpful and accessible. The classes are deliberately kept small to ensure students get sufficient attention from the lecturers. So even if some subjects are tough, I believe I will be able to grasp them with the help of my lecturers and from my own hard work.”

Mel is happy enough at Nilai U to confidently recommend his programme and the institution to family and friends. “If you are good in both biology and chemistry, this is a great programme to suit your strong points. You will be studying in a great campus with good lab facilities,” he smiles genuinely.

Besides the Diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology and Degree in Biomedical Science, Nilai U’s School of Allied Health Sciences also offers a diploma and degree options in the field of nursing.