Kat Gioseffi has rocks in her head. The geologist has always had an ‘insatiable’ curiosity about how the world works, so the lure of science never waned – even when life pulled her in different directions.
“When I graduated from uni the GFC (global financial crisis) hit,” Kat explains. “So I moved to London and became a travel agent, but I couldn’t shake my calling.”
Fond memories of studying her Bachelor of Applied Science (biotechnology and ecology) at QUT meant it was an easy choice to go back there when she decided she wasn’t done learning.
Kat enrolled in a Bachelor of Science (Earth science), one of QUT’s five single-degree science majors, because she’s fascinated by what’s involved in transporting and concentrating resources in the Earth.
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“Modern society is completely dependent on energy resources and minerals,” she says.
“Love your smartphone? About 15 grams of copper goes into every one. Want long-lasting batteries? You need lithium. Drive a car? Petroleum. Even renewable energy resources are dependent on metals and rare Earth elements, which need to be mined.”
The QUT science degree features common units in year one, providing Kat the opportunity to explore the other majors – biological sciences, chemistry, environmental science and physics – before deciding on her specialisation.
“There’s a great mix of practical and theoretical learning in the Earth science program,” Kat says.
“Geology’s about the outdoors – learning from rocks and landscapes – and QUT offers trips every semester. We’ve travelled the north and south Queensland coast, the southern coast of New South Wales and the Flinders Ranges in South Australia.”
Kat also credits the “close-knit family” that develops while progressing through the degree, as a key to her success. “I was blown away by how involved the lecturers were with students,” she explains. “They always made time, even outside of classes, to answer your questions and help develop you as a scientist.”
When Kat decided she wanted to pursue a Master of Applied Science to “get ahead of the pack” in a competitive job market, she knew QUT was the place to do it.
“QUT science has state-of-the-art laboratories, lecturers from around the globe with all sorts of experience, opportunity for vacation work, exchange programs and student-run organisations who run events and can connect you with industry,” Kat says.
With her Master’s complete, Kat has secured a graduate position as an operations geologist with natural gas company, Santos. But before she starts, she’s in SA for a three-week NExUS (National Exploration Undercover School) course to further develop her mineral exploration knowledge under the tutelage of world-class experts in the field.
The course offers no formal assessment, but it’s emblematic of Kat’s key advice for QUT science students. “Take advantage of every opportunity,” she says. “Don’t let the thought of not having experience in something hold you back.” – Jake Dean
This article was produced in partnership with QUT.
Author: Jake Dean
Jake Dean is a South Australian writer and surfer with a passion for science, the environment and conservation.