Citizen Science Program Coordinator, Environment Protection Authority Victoria

Length of service: 6.5 years

My journey so far

I've always loved nature and the environment. So it's no surprise my career has taken the path it has. Growing up, I spent a huge amount of time outdoors — eager to learn about animals and nature.

My passion for the environment led me to study science at the University of Melbourne. While there, I undertook an honours project on sharks — investigating the risk of commercial fishing to two understudied reef shark species.

Following my studies, I worked in aquatic ecology for six years in the consulting sector. At the same time, I was also volunteering in the not-for-profit sector, where I assessed the status of threatened freshwater crayfish populations in Victoria and South Australia.

In 2012, I joined Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA), starting in the freshwater team. I then moved into my current role as Citizen Science Program Coordinator within the Citizen Science Program. Our focus is working in partnership with communities to help protect the environment. 

My day-to-day work

My work involves engaging with volunteer citizen scientists in the community, and running and planning events for our citizen science projects. I also literally get my hands dirty. And wet.

During a recent project in Latrobe Valley, I taught local citizen scientists how to take samples and monitor water quality at sites along Waterhole Creek. To demonstrate the technique, I had to get it in the water myself. Just all part of the job.

As well as running education sessions like these, I'm merging citizen science data with information collected by EPA scientists. We're combining local community knowledge with new skills and experiences, all with the aim to prevent harm to local environments.

A key part of my job is looking for new and innovative opportunities for citizen science projects. In fact, I’m always on the lookout for new projects we can get involved in! 

How my work contributes to the Victorian community

My work has a very positive impact on the Victorian community. It's through citizen science that we can empower people to monitor and help protect our environment. 

We're also creating meaningful, hands-on ways for people to engage in science. The ultimate aim of our work is to create opportunities for the community to engage in the applied science behind EPA’s decision-making. 

Opportunities like no other

The public sector offers so many opportunities to engage with the community and achieve positive, meaningful change on a state-wide scale.

It's an exciting place to work, and my contribution has a tangible impact on the lives of Victorians and their environments. Where else can you get that?

Experiencing diversity and inclusion

I'm impressed by the growing diversity of our workforce, and the encouragement from senior leaders that the public sector should reflect the community it serves.

Proud of my work

I'm most proud of establishing and building EPA's Citizen Science Program from the ground up and seeing it transition from concept into real-world projects. I certainly feel privileged to be a part of it.

Our projects are now making a positive connection with community members and creating meaningful science outcomes. 

Join me in the Victorian public sector

The working conditions in the public sector are very good compared to other sectors. And you get to work in a supportive environment that values everyone's contribution.

Once you're in, you can make a real difference to the lives and environments of people in communities. And that’s something to be proud of. 

I’d encourage anyone to join the Victorian public sector. With such a broad cross section of interests and community needs, there's bound to be something perfect for you.