Bachelor of Science/ Bachelor of Arts (Biology, Earth Science, History)
PhD Vertebrate Palaeontology
After obtaining my PhD in vertebrate palaeontology, I moved overseas to New York City where I worked at New York University teaching an undergraduate Environmental Studies course, among others. It was while teaching this course I realised two important things - that undergraduate teaching was not the love of my life, and that I spent an inordinate amount of time talking about the environmental issues facing Australia. Thinking about this, I became eager to return home and to work on modern problems facing Australia's fauna and flora, so I applied for the department's graduate program. While the move back to Canberra has been long and arduous, I haven't regretted leaving behind undergraduate teaching responsibilities. Canberra is no New York City, but sometimes, that's a good thing!
I was really excited to get my first placement in Parks, with the Australian Biological Resources Study. This section is Australia's focal point for species discovery, the science of taxonomy. While here, I worked on a new policy proposal, wrote briefs for the minister and liaised with the heads of Australia's museums and herbaria, among other stakeholders. I even got a chance to put all that undergraduate teaching experience to use, conducting a survey of undergraduate training in taxonomy and systematics at Australian universities. Best of all, I got to work out of the Australian National Botanic Gardens, which was a wonderful antidote to the concrete jungle of New York!
My second rotation is in Culture with the Cultural Property section. This section administers the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986 (PMCH Act) that regulates the export of Australian Protected Objects (APOs). These are items of cultural importance that can range from fine art to my favourite, fossils. This is a busy section where I'm gaining experience working with legislation and in program administration.
For my last rotation, I was in Heritage with the Natural Heritage West section. As part of the integrated Kimberley assessment, I worked on comparative analyses of heritage values of several fossil sites in the study area. I also contributed to work on other aspects of geoheritage, both as part of that assessment and more broadly in the area, by contributing to an ongoing study of heritage values of Australian fossil sites. While here, I got a chance to accompany a visiting Chinese government delegation who were on a trip to study our fossil protection legislation.
My final placement is in Parks, with the Australian Biological Resources Study.
'the best thing about working for us ... is the environment'