I studied enviro science to make a difference: Meet Brittany
When Brittany Hayward-Brown started studying a science degree after year 12, she wasn’t convinced it was for her. But a break and a two year stint overseas changed that.
Returning from her travels with a new-found awareness of the environmental issues we face, she returned to university to finish the science degree she’d started.
A greener future
“Although I originally started university straight after high school, I didn’t know what I really wanted to do and was struggling to find the motivation to achieve what I was capable of,” says Brittany. “I hit pause on my science degree and went on a working-holiday to Canada.”
Working in the hospitality and wine industry, Brittany became more aware of environmental issues, especially plastic pollution and climate change.
On her return home, she restarted a Bachelor of Science, keen to pursue a career that would help tackle environmental issues.
I chose CDU because it has an excellent science course, with lots of opportunities for practical experience in the field. I love the small classes, community feel and the interaction with lecturers that you don’t get at larger universities.
Practicing what she preaches
What started as a desire to help combat plastic pollution has evolved into so much more. Brittany has not only completed her science degree; she’s undertaking an honours thesis on the movement ecology of the Gouldian Finch and championing sustainability through the CDU student group EnviroCollective.
Her studies have extended well beyond the classroom. She’s seen so much of north Australia, through field intensives and research trips.
And in her role at President of the EnviroCollective, she’s worked with a committee of passionate staff, students and community members to raise awareness about the conservation values on CDU’s Casuarina campus.
“For this work, EnviroCollective CDU won the Territory Natural Resource Management Award for Environment & Conservation in 2020,” she says.
“I have really enjoyed my experience at CDU. It has made all the difference to my career progression, thanks to great lecturers, field-based intensives and the opportunities a small and tight-knit study community has to offer.
My perspective on life has evolved and changed so much through my studies. My experience at CDU has opened so many doors for me.
From the ground up
Considering a degree? Brittany says that it’s good to be clear on why you want to study.
“To choose the right course, do your research. Consider the jobs available, think about what you might like to do and what skills are needed to get there,” she says. “Trust in the process of education, you’ll gain a completely different perspective on the world through your education journey.”
To make your study journey as fulfilling as possible, Brittany recommends making the most of any professional placement units on offer as this will help you to gain work experience and build networks.
Similarly, she recommends joining a student group to meet people and make friends with similar interests to you, “CDU has a really diverse student body, and you’ll meet some really great people, who no doubt will be friends for life or at the very least future work colleagues”
While Brittany’s only recently finished her science degree, she’s already had job offers from connections she made during her study.
“I believe studying science at CDU really helped facilitate this because the community is quite close, and very supportive. If you show you’re interested and passionate, people will want to help you out,” she says.
A brighter tomorrow
“Don’t worry about exactly what you want to do, just be clear on the why. Spend time figuring that out and it’ll take you where you need to be,” is the advice Brittany would give to her younger self – and others.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s the only way to learn. Chances are if you’re thinking the question, 10 other people are wondering the same thing!