On top of the world

A dream to design and build social robots has taken student Anastasia Laczko around the world.

UQ Scholarship recipient Anastasia Laczko

Walking through a bamboo forest in the parks surrounding the National Museum of Korea, Anastasia Laczko could hardly feel further away from her sunny Queensland home.

The 8,000 kilometres between Seoul and the Gold Coast is vast, but Anastasia is not one to shy away from an adventure, and what an adventure she’s having.

2019 has been an exciting year for this the fourth-year mechatronic engineering and information technology student, as she switched out a lecture theatre in Brisbane for the bustling streets of Bangalore in India while she completed a robotics internship with the Infosys Centre for Emerging Technology Solutions.

After two months in India and a quick hop, skip and jump over to Deajeon, Korea, she began her semester studying abroad at UQ’s partner institute, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, with the support of a New Colombo Plan Scholarship.
Before starting at UQ, Anastasia said she had never travelled outside Australia, but now she is drinking in the opportunities that the University has to offer.

Thanks to generous donors, countless hours applying for scholarships and an awful lot of hard work, Anastasia has built up a long list of accolades that have provided her with international travel opportunities, industry exposure and a more-than-full university experience.

“Receiving the New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant and UQ Idea Hub’s support both had such a massive effect on my outlook,” she said.

Anastasia spent one month studying with 19 other IT students from UQ at Dalian Neusoft University of Information, learning about Chinese startup culture and spending time exploring the city and culture; she spent a second month in Shanghai, working as an intern front-end developer at a crypto-currency analytics startup.

“Not only did these one-month travel experiences in Dalian and Shanghai, China give me a chance to explore new cultures and learn new skills, but they gave me a chance to understand my own heritage as a half-Chinese, half- Hungarian second-generation Australian.

“I have learnt first-hand how transformational it can be to view the world from a different cultural perspective.”

Over the last summer holidays, Anastasia decided to keep honing her tech and innovation skills at home, gaining a Summer Research Scholarship so she could work with the UQ Co-Innovation Group.

Under the guidance of some of Australia’s sharpest minds in the field, Anastasia designed and developed an assistive technology prototype. Her interactive photo album was designed to assist people living with dementia to prepare for visitors.

“My dream is to design and build social robots which improve the daily lives of others, so being able to combine my engineering and design skills in projects like this is very beneficial for me.”

Anastasia took a left turn towards engineering in her final year of high school, when she learnt that she could combine her love of design and arts with her knack for maths and science, and she never looked back.

“The opportunities that scholarships have given me have completely transformed my university experience and enriched it with invaluable academic and cultural experiences, and I can’t be thankful enough for the support donors have offered me.”

“Knowing that someone else believes in my potential and has invested in my future has strengthened my dedication to my studies – I hope that one day I too will be in a position where I can support students to pursue their dreams.”

Anastasia has also received a Johnian Residential Engineering Scholarship and an ICT Alumni Advantage Scholarship thanks to the generous donations of UQ alumni Peter and Margaret Hay and Bob Christiansen, and a Rio Tinto Excellence Women in Engineering Scholarship with thanks to UQ’s ongoing industry partner Rio Tinto.

Anastasia Laczko
Anastasia Laczko among the colourful houses of Gamcheon Culture Village. Busan, South Korea
Anastasia Laczko among the colourful houses of Gamcheon Culture Village.
Anastasia Laczko with postcards

Infosys interns; Archways of the Lotus Mahal. Hampi, India; A wild monkey at the Hanuman (Monkey) Temple. Hampi, India; The colourful houses of Gamcheon Culture Village. Busan, South Korea

Anastasia Laczko among the colourful houses of Gamcheon Culture Village. Busan, South Korea

Archways of the Lotus Mahal. Hampi, India; A wild monkey at the Hanuman (Monkey) Temple. Hampi, India; The colourful houses of Gamcheon Culture Village. Busan, South Korea

If you would like to support driven and talented students like Anastasia in their pursuit to make the world a better place, please get in touch with the Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology Advancement Team at advancement@eait.uq.edu.au for more information.