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    How Diego embraced volunteer opportunities

    After sharing the opportunities he’s embraced during his time at Griffith University, Filipinoi student Diego Gloria outlines exactly how he did it in this post. We’re inspired by his go-getting attitude and know that you will be too!

    Hi Diego! How did you do it?

    I’ve had a mixture of paths that have led me to volunteering and gaining experience in all sorts of crazy (yet fun!) things. The key thing has always been to contact people (even if you think it may not lead anywhere) and put yourself out there – and if an opportunity comes up, grab it.

    Emailing for opportunities

    The COVID pandemic made pursuing marine science a bit difficult because, well, a large part of marine science is being in the field, which was just not possible during a lockdown situation. I was stuck overseas during the pandemic, but I still emailed organizations to ask if I could somehow help them out with anything online. Luckily, one citizen science organization – Humpbacks and Highrises – got back to me and said I could help with data entry. This gave me some experience with the technical side of science while still allowing me to meet both experts and peers in the marine science field. And I’m still able to keep in touch with them now that I’m in Australia, which is always nice.

    Griffith’s Clubs and Organisations

    One of the great things about being a university student is the access it provides you to student societies and clubs. These groups often have connections to academics and industry professionals who may be looking for a volunteer or even their next postgraduate students – which is why you should look into joining whatever organization specializes in the field you’re pursuing.

    In my case, the Griffith Marine Society was right up my alley. I was participating in just about every event I could join and assisted in whatever capacity I could. There were fieldwork opportunities that allowed us to do sample plankton in the Gold Coast Broadwater, networking and career nights, and of course, call-outs from postgraduate students to help with their studies. I was able to sample seagrass beds and care for jellyfish as part of research projects, and this helped me gain relevant experiences within the different sub-fields of marine science. More importantly, it put my name out there as a (hopefully reliable!) volunteer that anyone could call on should they need any assistance.

    Right now, I’m part of the executive team of the Griffith Marine Society, and we’re working on adding more events that get students out into the lab or into the field. One of our current projects allows us to work with other universities to track marine invertebrates in Moreton Bay. This has allowed me to meet some incredible people who I’ve learned so much from.

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