Sara Schlagenhauff grew up on a farm in Missouri, and decided to undertake her Bachelor of Science with Honours at JCU after carefully assessing her future goals.
“I wanted to study the natural world. I thought about all the things I like to do, and realised that I liked to go outside and be with wildlife. I thought that maybe there are real people that go out and do that for their job, and that I could be one of those people.”
“I find science really fascinating, challenging and exciting. Science is the field of learning how to learn – it’s for people who enjoy exploring and discovery.”
When choosing a university to enrol in, Sara chose JCU for the small class sizes and the facilities it offered science students.
“I wanted to go to a place that had great facilities. JCU has incredible facilities in Marine Biology and all these other wonderful things that other schools don’t have. The Reef is extremely close and there’s this huge community that care so much about marine life.”
The highlight of Sara’s studies has been going on a range of field trips offered to JCU students.
“I specifically chose subjects that had field trips. Orpheus Island was definitely the most impressive facility. I returned as a volunteer, and I’ll soon be going again because I love it so much.”
“I saw a sea turtle last time I went. It was special because I hadn’t seen one in the wild before. I gasped out loud and scared it away. I was so excited I couldn’t help myself!”
Sara is currently undertaking research for her Honours project, which is studying the geological materials made by marine bacteria and their application to fix nitrogen. Upon completion, she would like to complete her PhD and eventually end up teaching students in a university environment.
“I think the best thing about my degree has been the opportunities I’ve been given. I’ve had the chance to get some papers published, I’ve been offered a job in a laboratory between my time in Honours and my PhD. I feel like what I’ve learnt has been very valuable and the credentials from JCU have helped me quite a bit.”
“A lot of people are scared or unsure of the move overseas to study. If you take the risk you can get so much out of it – the benefits are immeasurable.”