The horizons have broadened for Master of Science graduate Anna Purcell. After majoring in Aquaculture Science and Technology, her job opportunities have grown in the booming industry. Anna graduated at the end of 2016 and now works as a research assistant at MACRO (Centre for Macroalgal Resources and Biotechnology) where she is working on liquid fertilisers made from algae.
“Both my partner and I studied aquaculture and we have never looked back,” she says. “There are more opportunities in aquaculture. I learnt a lot about things that I never knew about before.”
Originally from Sydney, Anna studied a Bachelor of Marine Science at another university. After graduating, she found it difficult to secure volunteer work or a job.
“It’s very competitive,” she says. “You can volunteer for ages and not get a job from it.”
Growth in the aquaculture industry and solid job prospects attracted Anna and her partner to study Aquaculture Science and Technology. They considered their options before making the move to Townsville.
“We decided to come to JCU because it was warmer and more tropical,” she says. “It’s very friendly. We love it so much here we just bought a house.”
Moving to Townsville also offered Anna the chance to learn more about aquaculture in the Pacific, including studying the trends and opportunities for the aquaculture of sea cucumbers and sea urchins. As well as training in the principles and techniques of tropical aquaculture, Anna also studied biosecurity and environmental regulations. The course emphasises practical learning and Anna made the most of the experience to raise Barramundi larvae from eggs all the way to their juvenile stage.
“That was something we did during the course that was very applicable to commercial aquaculture,” she says. “The course is very hands-on and practical. There is a broad future for aquaculture in Australia. It is a big developing industry for Australia and overseas.”
Being part of a smaller cohort, having easy access to her lecturers and gaining practical experience are highlights of Anna’s time at JCU.
“I studied Marine Biology at a huge university and I never really felt like I knew my lecturers,” she says. “At JCU, the class sizes are smaller, there is more of a personal learning experience and the academic staff are great.”