Ruth's Story

What made you choose UNE?
Although I had been a maths teacher for many years, I initially studied botany and mathematics at UQ in preparation for a career in teaching. As my family responsibilities decreased, I was able to spend time photographing and trying to identifying plants I had found while bushwalking. I wanted to improve my poor plant identification skills and heard about the subject BOTY203 at UNE. I considered enrolling in just BOTY203 but discovered it was much cheaper to enroll in a Graduate Diploma of Science (Botany) and study it as BOTY403. I had no intention of completing the diploma!I  But, I have always wanted to know a bit more about soils, so after successfully completing BOTY403 I studied SOIL220. SOIL220 was not part of the program for the Graduate Diploma of Science (Botany), but several emails later I had approval. In the program for Graduate Diploma of Science (Botany), there were other subjects that were interesting, so I decided to complete the diploma - just for fun. I had no intention of using my studies professionally. I was studying for my own interest. One of my favourite things to do is to try to identify a plant that is new to me.

Best thing about UNE?
1. As a result of studying BOTY390, a friend and I were able to go to Gibraltar Range National Park (GRNP) and extend the known range of the Acacia beadleana, a plant currently only known from three populations in GRNP. We increased the known size of one of the populations and have plans to do further exploration. We also know more places it isn't!
2. I was successful in my application to study Himalayan Ecology and Biogeography as part of the ERS Special Topics Field Trip - Himalaya. This included a two week trip to Bhutan - lots of new plants!

Career Aspirations?
In February 2015, I had just retired from teaching for the second time and was completing the 7 week Student's Volunteer Botanical Internship Program (now replaced by the Volunteer Botanical Training Program) at the Australian National Herbarium in Canberra as part of WORK500 when a friend convinced me to apply for a job with her boss who runs an ecological consultancy in Sydney. My application was successful and I now work part time (3 weeks out of 4) as a botanist/ecologist/mapper. One of my final subjects was EM534 Introduction to GIS and Spatial Thinking - again this subject was not part of the program for the Graduate Diploma of Science (Botany), but again several emails later I had approval.
I am now in the process of planning my masters!! There are still a couple of subjects I want to study and I want to do a project.