Marine biology graduate Rachel Janes has translated her passion for the ocean into a dream career, helping to protect Queensland’s marine environment.
Born and bred on the Gold Coast, Rachel decided at just ten that she wanted to be a marine scientist.
“One of my earliest childhood memories of the ocean would have to be snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef with my family – it really opened my eyes to the world of marine science,” she said.
“The natural beauty and wonder of the ocean make it worth saving.”
Rachel studied a Bachelor of Science (Honours) at Griffith, majoring in Marine Biology, Wildlife Biology and Environmental Science. She said hands-on experience in the field and passionate teachers laid the foundation for a successful career in marine conservation.
“Studying at Griffith University was absolutely the right thing for me. I learned key research skills that continue to help me in my career and the people are just so passionate about it.
“When someone believes in you, it makes a huge difference.
“One of the highlights for me was our field trip to Heron Island – it’s those sorts of experiences that shape your life.”
Rachel now works as a fisheries scientist at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, helping to protect and preserve Queensland’s marine species.
“I’ve been able to channel my love for the ocean into something I can do for a living – now I have a career doing what I love every single day,” she said.
Marine biology lecturer Dr Tim Stevens supervised Rachel’s Honours project, and said her passion for the ocean was obvious.
“The thing with Rachel is she’s clearly always loved the ocean, and everything in it,” he said.
“Her face just lights up whenever she talks about it. I think she was destined to be a marine scientist.”
Dr Stevens said the hands-on experience provided at Griffith University helped students develop the skills valued in the industry.
“There’s a field trip up to Heron Island that always makes a mark on all the students and provides the sort of experience that makes a difference with employers,” he said.
“The project almost didn’t happen for Rachel because she didn’t have her scientific diving certificate, but we managed to help her with that.
“That’s what I love about being a lecturer here at Griffith, those sliding door moments and watching students like Rachel make the most of them.”