Graduate Environmental Scientist 

    Anika Fechner-Head

    Anika
    Anika would eventually like to combine her love for environmental science with her passion for empowering women.

    Into environmental science but other stuff too? A double degree could equip you with some pretty well-rounded skills

    Science has always been Anika’s thing, but the Macquarie University grad has always been frustrated with how it’s been portrayed – as typically lab-based and reserved for the academic elite. 

    “It’s always been a goal to make science fun, relatable, and accessible for everyone,” she says. “In particular to inspire people to better understand global environmental issues and sustainability initiatives!” 

    Instead of enrolling in a straight-up science degree, Anika made it a double – kickstarting a Bachelor of Environment/Bachelor of Arts at Macquarie University, peppered with PR and social media units. The communications emphasis was all part of Anika’s master plan – to learn the skills needed to communicate environmental science to the masses. 

    Anika
    Anika spends nine to five assisting an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) auditor with contaminated land projects.

    Coolest classroom

    Luckily for the outdoors lover, being an environmental science student never meant being bound to a desk! Anika spent her uni years enjoying regular field trips – picking up essential skills while adventuring with mates. “Hands-on learning is definitely a perk of the environmental field,” she says. “I gained some seriously valuable experience!”

    Other course highlights included the communications internship she did at Macquarie’s  sustainability office and her extracurricular role in the Sustainability Squad society – where she encouraged students to be more eco-conscious. 

    Qualified, much?

    These days Anika is applying all the communication, leadership, management, tech, stakeholder relations and networking skills that she learnt at uni in her first paid grad gig at SAGE Environmental Services. She spends nine to five assisting an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) auditor with contaminated land projects – checking businesses are complying with environmental laws around soil, groundwater and vapour. 

    “I attend sites, collect samples, review results and identify areas of concern in line with government regulations,” Anika says of her busy work day. “And then there’s the business development, proposals and report writing.”

    Although field work has been on pause during the pandemic, Anika is very much excited about getting into that part of the job, particularly considering how much she loved it at uni. And then there’s a bunch of extracurricular stuff she’s keen to tick off. “I would eventually like to combine my love for environmental science with my passion for empowering women somehow,” says Anika. “Whether that be in the field of women in STEM and First Nations knowledge – the sky is the limit!

    Anika’s study and career pathway

    • Bachelor of Environment/Bachelor of Arts at Macquarie University
    • Communications intern, Macquarie Uni Sustainability Office 
    • Graduate environmental scientist, SAGE Environmental Services

    This article is brought to you in partnership with Macquarie University and originally appears in Careers with STEM: Science 2022.

    READ MORE: 

    Cassie Steel

    Author: Cassie Steel

    As Refraction’s digital editor, Cassie Steel spends her days researching robots and stalking famous scientists on Twitter.

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