Professional Environmental Scientist, AECOM
Bachelor of Science (Honours)
Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and Environmental Sciences
She has always been fascinated by the ocean, says Dannie Cullen who studied a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and Environmental Sciences, followed by a Bachelor of Science (Honours).
“I became a junior open water diver when I was ten, and my intended career path has always been connected to the environment in some way. A degree in marine biology felt like a natural choice for me.
“I was attracted to AUT’s Bachelor of Science as it offered me an opportunity to do a double major. The opportunity to study both marine biology and environmental sciences was a no-brainer for me.”
Creating world-ready graduates
For Dannie, there were a number of highlights throughout her studies.
“Throughout my time at AUT, I was offered a number of different learning experiences including fish and aquatic plant identification while snorkelling at the Goat Island Marine Reserve, terrestrial vegetation identification in the Pureora Forest Park, improving my technical skills in the laboratory and learning to conduct a scientific study, collect and analyse data and report effectively.
“Having a wide range of different experiences at AUT gave me the ability to adapt to different challenges; something that has been extremely useful in my career now.”
She also appreciated the support from AUT’s academic staff, says Dannie who received an Applied Ecology New Zealand Award for best Environmental Sciences Student as well as a Postgraduate Fees Scholarship.
“I always found the academic staff knowledable, approachable and willing to help. The support I received from my project supervisor Dr Armagan Sabetian during my undergraduate and postgraduate study was particularly invaluable.”
A fulfilling career
Now working as a professional environmental scientist at AECOM, Dannie loves that her role is a mix of office tasks and fieldwork.
“I love being able to work both outdoors and in the office. I really enjoyed doing fieldwork for my Bachelor of Science (Honours) dissertation at AUT, and this is no different at the workplace. I’m often working out in the field, conducting groundwater investigations and environmental soil sampling. I also spend time processing data and reporting.”
She looks forward to coming to work each day, Dannie says.
“I work in a really supportive, hardworking and fun team, and I love that no two days are the same.”
Advice for other students
Make sure you use the facilities offered to you as a student at AUT, Dannie advises other students.
“I personally would recommend the silent study areas in the library. But if you’re someone who learns better with other people, then create a study group and book a study room together.
“I found that AUT offered useful and well organised resources, and I spent a lot of time in the library and computer rooms, the silent study areas and the dedicated postgraduate study rooms. They suited my learning style well.”