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For environment graduate Rebecca Steer, life as a consultant botanist in country Victoria provides the opportunity to travel, work outdoors and meet many different people.
'My employment allows me to travel throughout Victoria and New South Wales experiencing the outdoors. My role involves more than the study and conservation of vegetation-it also requires me to provide independent advice to various clients regarding the quality and type of native vegetation on their properties. If native vegetation has to be removed, I provide advice as to the client's legal obligations, and how to meet the requirements of the Native Vegetation Management Framework, as well as any other relevant legislation.'
Rebecca believes that her work has already provided some great career highlights.
'In my first week I went on a three-day field trip through south-western Victoria looking at potential areas for a habitat network-that was a lively introduction to the job. I am also lucky enough to be working with a great mentor who is helping me gain further skills and expertise in the field,' she says.
Graduating from the Melbourne campus at Burwood with honours in 2005, Rebecca says there were a number of reasons why she enjoyed her time at Deakin so much.
'The close attention given to me by staff made it feel like I was never lost amongst the rest of the students and I always felt very comfortable approaching staff. I loved the opportunity to study overseas at Lincoln University in New Zealand as part of my course and the fact that there are so many things on offer to Deakin students to enhance their time at University.
'The friendly 'smallness' of the campus that Burwood offers is great, without students missing out on the benefits of being at a large University. There is a great social side to Deakin, with plenty of clubs to join and activities to participate in, which I took full advantage of. There also seemed to be a lot of students from country Victoria, which gave me something in common with other students, having been born and raised outside of the metropolitan area myself,' she says.
Rebecca believes that her course has helped her career and given her a greater degree of confidence in her abilities.
'I initially chose to study at Deakin because of the interesting range of subjects on offer and the practical and fieldwork components-these have proved very helpful in my job. My course has given me the skills and knowledge across the broad base of environmental science, while also allowing me to customise my degree so that I could study those subjects I was most interested in, like plant science and native vegetation management. Having done honours, I learnt a great deal about communicating with a range of people, and gained confidence and experience as an independent scientist,' she says.
As for the immediate future, Rebecca says she is determined to continue to build upon her already budding career.
'I'd like to continue to gain a higher level of expertise in botany, and to forge a career that takes me places and gives me many different experiences,' she says.
Rebecca is currently employed as a consultant botanist with Biosis Research Pty Ltd based in Ballarat, Victoria.