Kalana Vithana

Kalana Vithana

Kalana Vithana

  • Student type: Domestic
  • Degree type: Double Degree
  • Year commenced: 2017
  • Degree(s): Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Computer Science
  • Major(s): Marketing science
  • Specialisation: Advanced computer science

Hungry for creative IT

When I was in high school, I studied fine arts and was weighing up whether I wanted to go to film school or traditional university after I graduated.

I chose to study computer science at uni because I believed it would allow me to still apply myself creatively. I’ve always liked creating things, so whether it was a short film or a mobile app, I concluded that an IT degree would still let me flex my creative muscles while maintaining more stable job prospects.

Finding the right fit

Monash offered a double degree program so I chose to study two creativity-driven degrees: marketing science and computer science.

I thought having both a business and technical background was a unique mix and would be more valuable for employment. So after chatting to staff and students at Monash Open Day, and hearing from friends, I decided that Monash was the best fit for me.

I also felt that the culture on campus at Monash was more inclusive and tight-knit compared to the city-based universities.

Enjoying an active student lifestyle

During my time here, I’ve primarily been involved in Robogals Monash as its former marketing manager and now as a digital adviser. The program runs robotics workshops at primary schools to increase engagement among women in STEM and promote greater gender diversity.

It's great that Monash has so many clubs and societies available because you can always find a cause that's important to you or a group of like-minded people.

Being part of Robogals Monash has allowed me to travel and deliver workshops in rural schools and attend a global Robogals conference in Queensland.

I also occasionally run a radio talk show with friends on Radio Monash, and attend screenings and compete in filmmaking competitions with Monash Film Society.

Pursuing a career that advances social good

I'm passionate about building products with technology, whether in a software engineering role or as a product manager, as long as what I'm working on is bettering our world.

With recent media coverage surrounding the tech industry highlighting many of its ‘evil’ practices, it has further ignited my will to steer the use of technology for good.

For example, one of my summer projects was building an application which helps friends connect based on the similarity of their music tastes. The webapp, called musictaste.space, has since connected over one million people from over 90 countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s really helped bring people together into a supportive community, especially amidst the lockdowns.

More recently, I participated in the Codebrew Health Hackathon where we placed first for building an AI-powered medication tracker which helps non-fluent English speakers better understand their prescription medications.

Ultimately, I want to work in an environment where I'm surrounded by talented individuals who are all focused on bringing positive creative visions to life.

Pearls of wisdom for future students

University is a great time to try new things and put your hand up to take on opportunities off the beaten path.

My greatest piece of advice for future students is to use your time at uni to explore the pathways available to you and discover your own calling. When I started at Monash, I had no idea I would end up wanting to become a software engineer. But I took up opportunities while studying to participate in hackathons organised by student clubs, get real-world experience through the Industry-Based Learning program and work on my own personal projects with friends.

These experiences made me fall in love with the process of building products with technology, and they all began with me deciding to try something new.