The more Tegan learnt, the more she realised there is so much more to the marine environment than she ever imagined, and now one Bachelor of Science, one Post Graduate Diploma in Marine Science, and most recently, one Master’s in Marine Science, she is ready to take on the world’s oceans.
“I really enjoy fisheries work as it is a balance of both field work and lab work, and the information from this type of work is pretty powerful in managing the fisheries in
New Zealand. I was lucky enough throughout my studies to be involved in conservation and biosecurity work with NIWA, which highlighted the potential job opportunities available. I am also very interested in ecology and conservation, so depending on where there is work available, that will determine my future career, as I am always keen to learn more.”
To complete more than five years of study, it takes some solid motivation to get through, but Tegan puts her success down to a passion for learning and science, as well as good time management – studying, working part-time, and having a social life can be a lot to juggle.
“Being open to new opportunities is also crucial. As marine science includes so many different aspects, the more you learn, the more you realise there a number of things that you not only find interesting but also could offer up some job prospects.”
While Tegan has enjoyed every part of the last five years, especially getting to see places that she would never have had the chance to otherwise, one thing that really surprised her was the importance of numbers. Although taking basic levels of statistics throughout undergraduate studies is compulsory, she says she didn’t realise until postgraduate how critical statistics are in this line of work.
“The better your understanding of statistics, the easier it becomes in understanding the work you are doing. I also didn’t realise how the number of different aspects that marine science includes. As well as the ecology and fisheries side of it, there is also chemistry, geography and a number of other fields and this opens up a world of opportunities in terms of what you want to specialise in.”
If this all sounds your kettle of fish, Tegan has a few words of advice and that is to make the most of opportunities available in science at an undergraduate level.
“There are a lot of volunteer opportunities, such as summer studentships, which give exposure into different fields of marine science. These can be a great way of figuring out what you are most interested in.”