Science students gain real world insight

The Murray Darling Fresh Water Research Centre continues to support Science students on placement in regions.

Whilst many University students use the summer university break to relax, four students from La Trobe University were successful in obtaining an Industry Cadetship with the School of Life Sciences (SoLS) and the Research Centre for Applied Alpine Ecology, located at various places in Victoria.

The focus of the program is for the students to gain valuable experience undertaking their own research project whilst working with leading research staff La Trobe University.

Mildura based cadet Will Beck said, “The best part about this project is working in a professional environment and really seeing the difference between University and the actual workplace, also giving an insight into conducting my own research which is the basis for future Honours and PhD”

Assoc. Professor Paul Brown said that the program “provides students with a fantastic opportunity to engage with industry and undertake research with leading scientists in Australia. The students get real world experience in an industry they want to break into, which is beneficial for their personal and professional growth. The program has proved successful for both research centers and students, with further engagement either through a progression to Honours and PhD programs and potentially future employment.”

Local business enterprises, Trentham Estate and Murray River Salt provided additional support for Will’s successful placement in Mildura. This financial support provided him with the fantastic opportunity to assist in projects that monitored ecological responses in floodplain ecosystems and understand responses to disturbance regimes such as flooding and drying.

Matthew Brewer, the other SoSL successful student, based at the Wodonga laboratory completed his project, which investigated floodplain microbial communities. Bianca Berto and Alex Blackburn-Smith are working with the Research Centre for Applied Alpine Ecology at Falls Creek examining current impacts of deer on threatened alpine plant communities, with a focus on EPBC listed plant species.

The cadet program is available to La Trobe University undergraduate students who are completing their second or third year of university and are interested in pursuing a career in aquatic ecology. Please visit the Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre for more details about student programs.

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