Katrina Dutton (USA)

JCU graduate makes childhood dream a reality

The dream to study on the Great Barrier Reef was ignited in JCU alumna Katrina Dutton from an early age.

After visiting Townsville on a school trip, Katrina pursued undergraduate tertiary studies in her home country of the USA, completing a Bachelor of Science in Oceanography from the Florida Institute of Technology.

However, she never let go of her desire to study in North Queensland.

“JCU was a school I heard about from an old colleague of mine when I was studying my undergraduate degree in Florida,” she said.

“She raved about the marine biology program and the amazing things she was able to accomplish while at JCU.

“After I graduated college, I also heard things from people about JCU in the environmental world and how they loved the program as well as the researchers that I spoke with at various internships.

“I researched the university and fell in love with the marine biology program and the opportunities to be on the Great Barrier Reef.”

Katrina Dutton.

Image: Katrina Dutton releasing a turtle on the Great Barrier Reef.

Katrina said the opportunity to conduct a thesis on sea turtle behaviour during her studies at JCU was one of the most rewarding experiences.

“I studied something I loved and made friends with people from all over, creating wild and fun memories I will never forget, finding an amazing group of people I became really close with.

“I also visited some wild places like the Daintree Rainforest and Australia Zoo, and then made my way back to Arthur Bay Lookout on Magnetic Island and Reef HQ in Townsville.

“This was a beautiful and emotional moment for me because those were the two places when I was in high school that inspired me to begin my journey as an Oceanographer/Marine Biologist.”

After completing her studies at JCU, Katrina returned home to the USA where she is working with the University of Central Florida Marine Turtle Research Group in her hometown in Melbourne, Florida.

Katrina says a PhD is potentially in her future, but in the meantime, she is focused on gaining real-life experience and putting her knowledge from her studies at JCU into practice.

We wish Katrina all the best in her future aspirations in building a career in the sea turtle world!