Programme Coordinator, Whitebait Connection
Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences and Applied Conservation
She enjoys the mix of indoor and outdoor work, says Ella Walmsley who now works for the Whitebait Connection, which offers an environmental education programme for schools and communities.
“I had been interested in environmental education for a while now, and in this role I work with communities around streams in Auckland. This can involve working with a local school, going into the classroom, facilitating field trips and supporting action projects. I also work with community groups to educate locals. In addition to community work I do regular monitoring of sites around Auckland to build up data of our streams.
“The variety of working with children, community groups and experts always keeps my role interesting and means I’m constantly learning and improving. I love getting to work with so many inspiring people. I also have the freedom to make my work my own by creating new activities.”
Standout learning experiences
She has always been interested in the natural environment and enjoyed being active outdoors, says Ella who studied a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences and Applied Conservation.
“I wanted to study something that would increase my knowledge of our environment and give me the tools to improve it. I had heard that AUT was more practical, and that’s an effective learning method for me. I also chose AUT because none of my friends were going to this university, and it would force me out of my comfort zone. I felt confident in doing this at AUT because it has a reputation for being friendly.”
The field trips that are part of the Bachelor of Science are what she enjoyed the most about her time at AUT.
“Going to the Central North Island including Pureora forest, to the Hunuas and to the Solomon Islands were all standout learning experiences and overall highlights. Being able to apply the skills taught from class and see the theories I had been learning unfold in front of me cemented the knowledge in my head.”
Creating great graduates
At AUT, Ella also took up the opportunity to be part of the AUT Edge Award, which helps students develop the skills employers are looking for – collaboration, co-operation, community, curiosity, communication and creativity.
“It was great to have my volunteering efforts recognised and adding up to something bigger. The workshops were also really useful, especially the ones on networking and using LinkedIn. The AUT Edge Award is even recognised on my academic transcript.
“My advice for other students is to do lots of volunteering relevant to the industry you want to get into, and have this volunteering and the skills you’ve gained through it recognised by the AUT Edge Award. Volunteering is an awesome way to improve all the skills you’ll need in the workplace while also potentially getting you good industry contacts.”
She also found the time to serve as the inaugural co-president of the Future Proofers club at AUT, which organises sustainability events for students and participates in sustainability planning for the university.
“The progress that AUT is making to become more sustainable makes it prepared for a changing world.”