After graduating from her degree, Merinda landed herself a job working at GHD in Cairns after going through the CareerTrackers program. She says she enjoys how her job enables her to connect with people and develop her skills as an environmental scientist.
“I started out as a graduate doing a lot of desktop reviews, which is where you research all the environmental aspects of a particular patch of land. That includes what we can and can’t do on that land, the corresponding legislation and the permits we might need. I found that really interesting,” she says.
“Then I also became involved in the approvals process, which is the next step in assessing how we can make sure a project goes ahead while still ensuring sustainability.”
But Merinda says as a generalist environmental scientist she’s also been able to do a wide variety of field work, including water and air quality sampling in Greenvale, and work in Townsville doing benthic sampling, which is assessing sediment from the sea floor. “It’s very messy, but very fun,” Merinda says.
In her role at GHD, Merinda says she’s been offered a lot of opportunities to develop her skills and use her strengths. “It’s opened up a lot of opportunities working at GHD in the Cairns office and I’ve been able to branch out into things that suit my personality,” she says. “I’m a bit of a talker, so I’ve been involved in some stakeholder engagement since the middle of last year, which has been pretty sensational.
“It involves talking to people, discussing their perspectives and then relaying that back to the project team. It involves a lot of understanding of cultural knowledge, so I’m able to advise on what is culturally appropriate and communicate that. I really like to be able to help out in that space.”
“Naturally, I have a desire to educate others and a willingness to learn new things, so going into the stakeholder space has been a really fulfilling opportunity that has arisen for me.”
JCU Alumni Merinda Walters