Bachelor of Science (Geology/Microbiology) (Hons)
PhD (Environmental Microbiology)
I began my tertiary education expecting to end up in geology and mining. However, while at university microbiology took my interest and I managed to more or less combine the two by studying environmental microbiology - microorganisms in soils, rocks and the like.
My Honours project involved cultivating most of the microbiological diversity present in hypersaline lakes (with salt levels of 15% all the way up to saturation). These lakes are usually pink, from the growth of microorganisms in the water - so there's a lot of life in there! The project went well and I continued in this field for my PhD.
After graduation I worked for a time n medical microbiology, and then joined the Graduate program at DEWHA to move back towards my inner environmentalist.
Biotechnology and Nanotechnology - Environment Quality Division
This section works on managing the environmental risks associated with biotechnology and nanotechnology, both through policy development and input into statutory assessments. My time was spent involved with both of these aspects, as well as general APS duties such as responding to ministerial correspondence as well as the (not onerous!) demands of the graduate program. I was exposed to a wide range of the section's responsibilities and it gave me significant insight into the role DEWHA plays in protecting the environment.
Energy Efficiency Futures
In this area I worked in small team primarily concerned with policy creation and co-ordination work. This included work on the National Strategy for Energy Efficiency and other whole-of-government documents. It was particularly interesting to be able to engage with other Commonwealth departments and State jurisdictions in this rotation and gain an understanding of DEWHA's roles and responsibilities in this area of its operations.
Urban Water Policy
This section had a similar role to that of my previous placement but operating in water instead of energy efficiency. It was useful to be able to bring the skills and knowledge I had acquired in the energy efficiency placement into this one and be able to operate effectively sooner than I might otherwise have been able to. I engaged with a wide range of the section's work, and found the breadth and extent of the Department's involvement in water to be much greater and more complex than I had thought.
I was successful in achieving a promotion back into Biotechnology, my first graduate rotation. Having completed the Graduate Program was invaluable both in gaining my position in Biotechnology and in enabling me to perform my job duties with a broad understanding of DEWHA and importantly, with a wide network of colleagues (both from the Graduate program, and the staff with whom I worked in each rotation) on whose experience and advice I can draw on if needed.
'the best thing about working for us ... is the environment'