From Melbourne to Wodonga to Canberra

Cassandra Bates did a lot of research before enrolling in a Bachelor of Environmental Management and Ecology at La Trobe University’s Albury-Wodonga Campus. The Melbourne girl was weighing up the options of pursuing tertiary study in the country.

Cassie Bates‘After looking at a few universities and seeing what they had to offer, the choice was clear. The course in Albury-Wodonga has its location as a draw because I could actually get some field experience instead of learning all things science related out of a book,’ she says.

The Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre (MDFRC) is located on the Campus and Mt Hotham and the Alpine region are within a short drive away making it easy for students to practice components of their science course in the field.

‘While studying the degree I was lucky that the campus is in a prime location with the environment on your doorstep. We were encouraged to go outside and not learn from books. 

‘Moreover, the teachers know your name, who you were, where you are from and why you wanted to be there from Day 1 and are willing to go to any length to help you,’ she says.

Cassandra—who recently won the campus medal—is the first in her family to graduate from University. She says that at first her parents were hesitant towards the move but quickly let her pursue her higher education goals.

‘My parents weren’t exactly happy about me living three hours away by car, but when they drove up with me to settle in the student accommodation, they felt much more comfortable about it.’

The move was the furthest Cassandra had been from home but she says she quickly found friends on campus and found the stark differences between ‘city’ and ‘country’ folk to be beneficial. 

‘A lot of the students I was living with were from very rural areas and farming towns which was quite different then what I was used to in Melbourne.

‘The friends I made in Albury-Wodonga were not just my friends, they became my family and it was an amazing sense of community and care within the Faculty that I will never forget.’

However, Cassandra says University was not always easy as she worked two jobs, volunteered with student groups, played sport and undertook a cadetship at MDFRC, which in the end helped her secure a job in her field.

Cassandra applied to work in Canberra for as a graduate working in Science Policy at the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, which working closely with Australia’s chief scientist, Ian Chubb, straight out of Uni and got the job.

‘I was nervous applying but gave it my all; usually they look for people with honours which I didn’t have. But in the end I got the job I wanted, my parents are proud, but I am mostly proud of myself.’

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Meghan Lodwick

La Trobe University Communications Officer

T:  03 9479 5353 M:  0418 495 941 E: