29 Apr 2019

Two James Cook University students were recently provided an environment-focused internship to learn the ropes from our team based at our Mackay office. We had a chat with intern Ella Smyth about her real-world experience.

NQBP's Nicola Stoke and JCU Intern Ella Smyth.
What are you currently studying at JCU?

I’m in my third year of Marine Science.

Why did you apply for the internship?

I am very passionate about the environment and sustainability. I saw this internship as an opportunity to gain practical experience and learn how science can be applied to achieve better environmental outcomes.

What were you hoping to gain from the internship?

Industry experience in environmental management, and more specifically, how ports operate to ensure minimal impact on the marine environment.

What did you get up to during the internship?

I had the opportunity to undertake a range of activities throughout my week at NQBP, including going out in the field, conducting environmental audits, vegetation mapping, and tours of the Port of Mackay, Hay Point and quarantine waste facility. I also had the opportunity to assist with data processing and development approvals, and observe a number of meetings.

What was the most interesting thing you learnt?

I was surprised at the breadth of environmental elements that are addressed by NQBP. The work was varied and it was interesting to see the different programs NQBP is involved in, such as ambient water and air quality monitoring, as well as seagrass and coral monitoring.

Would you encourage others to take part in this opportunity?

Yes, for sure! There aren’t many opportunities to gain industry experience while studying an undergraduate degree in science, and this program is particularly valuable due to the knowledge and expertise of NQBP’s environment team.

What are your plans for the future?

I would definitely like to be involved in port environmental management, as well as other marine industries, such as fisheries or tourism. My overarching goal is to improve environmental outcomes for our oceans, and this is what drives me to pursue a career in this field.