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What do Wedge-tailed Eagles and Economics have in common?

Andrea Magnusson uses her passion for the environment and economics to inform change.

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Andrea Magnusson is in her fifth and final year of a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Arts degree. She was first introduced to economics as a subject in high school and has no regrets.

I was intrigued, as economics seemed to be an excellent blend of both humanities and science. I have always been a bit of an all-rounder in my studies, so the concept of a discipline that dips into multiple areas appealed to me.

"After studying pre-tertiary economics in Year 12, I was quite set on doing it in university. I liked that the frameworks could be applied in daily life, even if they did require some abstraction. I’ve now been studying economics for nearly five years, and although my understanding of the discipline has evolved a lot, I haven’t regretted it once!"

Last year Andrea participated in the Corporate Internship Program, allowing her to put her skills into practice with an internship with the Forest Practices Authority looking at the costs of Wedge-tailed Eagle and Masked Owl protection and management. Throughout the internship, she focused on Wedge-tailed Eagles and developed an interactive costing tool in Excel, fitting in well with an FPA's current project assessing the forest practices system, and a costing of Wedge-tailed Eagle.

I was very excited to finally put some of the skills I had been learning over the past five years to use. During my internship, I was allowed to act quite independently, which surprised me a little. Working with my mentor at the FPA, I was given the freedom to come up with a project that interested me, as long as it would also be relevant to the FPA.

It was a good experience, as I was able to interact with people in a range of roles, both within the FPA and in the industry. I’ve certainly become very adept at cold-emailing people!"

Andrea has even been able to continue working with the FPA and will be starting a new project. was decided that it would be a good idea to enact similar costings for some other key species: the Masked Owl and Giant Freshwater Crayfish. I have been working with them on this for a few months now, and I’ll be starting a new project when that is all finished.

"My current plan is to complete an honours degree in 2021. Funnily enough, I’ll be working on Wedge-tailed Eagles with the FPA again for that one. It will probably be quite challenging, what with coursework on top of a thesis, but I like a good challenge. And the subject matter will be very interesting, no doubt. 

In a way, environmental economics was a pleasant surprise. Although I was already interested in the environment, I didn’t really have any idea what the economics side of it would be like. So I went into that somewhat blind. I enjoyed it so much, though, that it’s now most likely going to be my career path!

I’ve really enjoyed studying Economics at UTAS. All of the lecturers are passionate about what they do, and I think that has contributed a lot to my experience. Whenever I have questions, or just want to chat about something economics-related, all of their doors are open. They have a very wide range of specialities too, so there are always interesting examples being referred to in lectures.

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