Madeline McKenzie (USA)

I chose to do a MSc in Marine Biology and Ecology at JCU because it is one of the top ranking universities in the world for marine biology.  I had studied abroad at JCU for a semester in my undergraduate degree, and I decided this was the university I wanted to continue my education at.

The highlight of my study experience was undertaking a research project, where I investigated the influence of a herbicide on the symbiotic sedentary upside-down jellyfish, Cassiopea maremetens.  This experience gained me invaluable skills that will help me in my career path in the future.  I highly suggest a research project to any student who is thinking about it.  I didn’t think I was interested in research until I completed my project – I now know that I love research!

Madeline McKenzie in lab coat.

As an international student from the US, I’m used to large lecture sizes which limits the amount of time you get interacting with your professor.  The smaller lecture sizes JCU offers enables you to learn from leading scientists on a first-name basis, which really adds to the overall learning experience.

I completed my MSc in Marine Biology and Ecology in 2018, and have been employed as a research assistant at TropWATER at JCU since then.  In August I am beginning a PhD at JCU investigating the potential of the upside-down jellyfish, Cassiopea spp., as a model organism in a changing environment, supervised by Mike Kingsford and Shelley Templeman.  I had no idea I would end up where I am now but it appears I can’t get enough of JCU!