What do you think of when you hear ‘scientist’? Someone in a white coat, hidden away in a lab? Beakers, test tubes and Bunsen burners?
Laboratory research is certainly crucial to our understanding of chemicals and processes. But a science degree can lead to a wide range of careers, workplaces and opportunities.
Here are just a few of the things you could do with your scientific know-how.
Step into nature
If you love being outside, you might want to pursue field research in your scientific career. Learn about animal behaviours, examine the make-up of soils or develop plans for how we manage natural resources.
Studying a major like botany, environmental geoscience or zoology could set you on the right path to calling the great outdoors your office.
Solve business problems
Science has many different applications in the business world. If you have a head for numbers, data science could be your pathway to a satisfying career. As a data scientist, you’ll work with large datasets gathered by companies to solve problems, refine strategy and achieve commercial goals.
Alternatively, you could apply your science skills to a business setting. For example, you could use your chemistry skills to work for a cosmetics company or develop pharmaceuticals. Michelle Gallaher took a slightly different route – after studying applied sciences, she developed a company that helps other researchers commercialise their work.
Spread the word
If you’re passionate about sharing science with others, you could channel your skills into a science communication role. Raise awareness for the importance of science or the exciting research taking place.
Science communicators are the bridge between scientists and ‘laypeople’, and without them, many people would never hear about what’s going on in the world of science.
You could work for a research organisation, a government body or a media company writing articles, producing podcasts or creating films. You might even find yourself on television or radio – could you be the next Bill Nye the Science Guy or Dr Karl?
Help out in Hollywood
Although the film industry is currently operating a little different than usual, science will always have a part to play in many forms of entertainment. In the last few years alone, films like The Arrival, Blade Runner 2049 and Annihilation have had a heavy scientific focus, while even franchises like Marvel’s Avengers place science and fantasy side-by-side.
Film and television science consultants are the ones who make sure what we see on the screen obeys the laws of science. Dr Jim Green, Planetary Science Division Director at NASA, lent his expertise to Ridley Scott on 2015 film The Martian to ensure that everything from the physics to the spacesuits featured in the movie were accurate.
Fight the good fight
Science gives you practical skills that you can use to create real, tangible change. If you’re passionate about a cause – say, climate change or conservation – a science qualification gets you off the bench and onto the playing field.
La Trobe graduate Jim Thomas has always been a strong advocate for wildlife conservation and rainforest protection. He used his science skills to save an entire species of tree kangaroo – Papua New Guinea’s tenkile – from extinction. Not a bad day at the office.
Science is a versatile discipline that could take you in many different career directions. Apply now to start a science degree midyear.