Want to know where study in marine science could take you? Hear from Ashley Marino about her career path since graduating from UWA with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Marine Science.
I was born in New Zealand and grew up in Albany, so naturally the ocean was a massive part of my childhood and I can’t imagine ever living away from the coast.
After visiting multiple universities in Perth during high school, I chose UWA because of its beautiful campus right on Matilda Bay and the relocation services. One of UWA’s on-campus accommodation options, University Hall, and all it offered made the idea of moving out of home to a big city a thrilling milestone to focus on during Year 12 exams.
After commencing studies, I learnt the other students in my classes had similar mindsets to myself. Many of my fellow students respected the environment and aspired for a minimalist coastal lifestyle rather than materialistic ambitions. Daily class conversations were often about fishing, surfing or snorkelling adventures and travel plans to an island destination or volunteering programs.
The ocean is my happy place. In it, on it or being near it, has always relaxed me. Learning about marine ecology, biology and the interconnectedness of all environmental aspects were the most fascinating parts of my degree. I had never considered the impact the earth’s orbit or moon’s gravity has on our ocean tides until I learnt it in class.
Your first two years overlap with Environmental Science and Conservation Biology students, so you definitely won’t be pigeonholed if that’s a concern. My major was Marine Science but it has not limited me from successfully applying for environmental roles; rather, it has offered diversity of thought to terrestrial-dominant teams.
In my final year of uni, I was accepted into BHP’s graduate program as a Health, Safety and Environment Graduate. Since starting my career path, I have done fly-in fly-out work in the Pilbara, coordinated audits, managed projects and learnt a lot about rehabilitation and biodiversity management in the mining industry.
My current role as Water Quality Specialist Graduate supports the management of water systems (specifically groundwater extraction, wastewater management and data integrity) at our iron ore mining camps.
Outside my professional life, I have had many travel adventures since graduating to satisfy my marine cravings. I have volunteered for the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions’ turtle monitoring program and dolphin conservation program. I also regularly travel to coastal regions where I can snorkel, especially with animals (like manta rays), develop new skills (kitesurfing) and learn about other Pacific cultures, such as the different local conservation programs in the Fiji islands.
I aspire to work in a marine-specific role, potentially in the petroleum industry with the marine specialists to study and manage operations and their influence on migratory marine species. Until then, I know these broader environmental and regulation roles will help develop my leadership skills, legislation knowledge, networks and industry experience.
I still keep in contact with my academic co-ordinator from UWA, Gabe Garratt, and know I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support and academic opportunities I had at UWA. Marine science can lead to many opportunities beyond Australia’s geographical boundaries. I knew whatever I did with my degree, I would enjoy any job and lifestyle that involved the ocean. This is why I chose marine science.
Want to know more? Here are a few courses in Marine Science to get you started: Marine Biology, Marine Science (extended major) and Marine and Coastal Processes. You can also view our full list of Natural and Physical Sciences courses.
This article was originally published 01/12/2020 and edited on 06/10/2023.