Growing up in the small Queensland town of Bell, 160km inland, Sage Gleeson might not seem like the most likely person to aspire to be a marine biologist.
But with a deep love of science, and a fascination with the ocean, Sage was determined to follow her dream. Now she is studying a Bachelor of Marine and Antarctic Science at the University of Tasmania.
“I really wanted to study this! I’ve always loved the ocean, I find it interesting, and I have lots of good memories of going to the beach growing up with my family.
“I focused on science all through high school, mainly biology and chemistry. Biology in particular because I had great teacher who would get super excited and then get side-tracked, telling us about his favourite types of grass – he was just that passionate.”
Another driving force behind Sage’s study path was the desire to move away from her small town and experience new things, to live somewhere different from where she had grown up.
And to study marine science, she was tossing up between the University of Tasmania and James Cook University in North Queensland, both of which meant moving a long way from home.
But, in the end, it was a combination of two things that clinched her decision to move to Tasmania: her sense of adventure, and some very handy scholarships.
“I wanted to move and do something different, see some more of the world. And I’d really wanted to go to Tassie for a while, but I had no knowledge of the place at all.
“I applied for some scholarships when I applied for the University and for accommodation, all at the same time. Finding out I’d been awarded the scholarships made a big difference, it made the move a lot easier.”
Through the Support to Study Scholarship Package, Sage received scholarships of $1000 for relocation, $3000 credit for her University accommodation, and a financial scholarship of $3000. These scholarships are tailored specifically to the needs of the students who receive them.
“It was such a huge help. It meant I had the opportunity to get settled in and get my bearings before I needed to look for a job.
“I still would have done this without the scholarships but it would have been a lot harder.”
A unique study experience
Sage is majoring in Marine Resource Management and studying at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies and is loving the degree, which is the only one of its kind in Australia and is offered at one of the best places in the world for temperate marine studies.
“I’m really enjoying the content, and it’s nice being at IMAS on the waterfront.
“After I graduate I would like to work in a fishery setting, maximising the benefits of the industry but without damaging the ocean.”
Sage is loving the other part of her adventure as well: living in Hobart, a long way from her regional Queensland home.
“At first I was in a bit of a panic: oh no, what have I done! But it only took a week or two for me to feel like I’d settled in and now I’m really comfortable.
“I’m living in the Hobart Apartments. They’re really nice, there’s plenty of events and opportunities to meet people and make friends.
“Where I grew up, nothing is in walking distance, I lived in middle of nowhere. So being in the city and being able to just walk to the shops or down to the water, is so nice.
“But it’s not like the Brisbane CBD, where it’s absolute chaos, so big and busy. Hobart is chill and calm, but you still have everything that you need nearby. It’s a good balance.”
We believe that university should be accessible for everyone, which is why we offer a huge range of scholarships, which you can apply for if you need that financial boost to get your studies started.