Even though the academic year at USC is nearly over, I just hit mid-semester break at the University of Queensland. I thought I would take this break to reflect on my semester so far and talk about my favorite courses at UQ! I’m taking a course for abroad students called MARS2005: Australia’s Marine Environment. It is focused on Australia’s marine species and ecosystems and teaches us about the wide range of marine species here. The content is fascinating, and my favorite part is the field work we get to conduct as part of the class. We got to spend a weekend at the university’s Research Station on North Stradbroke Island. On the island, I researched biodiversity in various intertidal zones such as mud flats, rocky shores, and seagrass meadows. One of my favorite parts was seeing stingrays, corals, and reef sharks as I was collecting data. It was a great experience to take classroom learning into the real world, and the deadly blue-ringed octopus was scarier (+cooler) to see in person than on a lecture slide. Hint: don’t touch it.
Coming up this week: field work at the Heron Island Research Station (Part of the Great Barrier Reef!!). This field trip is a large reason I decided to take this class, and while I’m there I’ll be looking at coral bleaching on the reef.
Another course I’m really excited about is called TIMS3304: Social Entrepreneurship. It’s a project-based course focused on creating a successful social enterprise. My team’s focus? Climate change mitigation. Since my emphasis is in sustainable energy, I love working on sustainability topics in a different way. Social entrepreneurship is a great way to explore some of the wicked problems that persist today, and I recommend courses similar to this one.