It’s lucky Kat Stuart hasn’t developed gills...she practically spent more of her childhood underwater than she did on land.

Born in Chicago, USA, but growing up in the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Kat says she was always “swimming, surfing, sailing, snorkelling – pretty much anything to do with the water!”

Kat wasn’t originally planning to come to the University of Tasmania. In fact, she said it was her “Plan B”; until she came to the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) and realised it was the perfect place for a water baby to study.

“I heard about IMAS through a program called A Practical Introduction to Temperate Marine Biology," Kat said.

“The program let me undertake a week of practical marine science work, involving all aspects of experiment development – field work, collection and sorting of data, and connection of data to a theoretical concept,” she said.

“I was allowed a tour of the facilities at the next Open Day and seeing active science being conducted immediately made up my mind about where I was going to study!”

Kat also received a relocation scholarship to move to Tassie and study.

Moving down here I’d say was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made – Hobart is an amazing city and IMAS is full of amazing opportunities.

“I’ve been lucky enough to get a spot at Christ College this year, which has plenty of IMAS students that made it really easy to socially assimilate to a very new situation.”

Kat loves how practical her course is.

“I’ve especially enjoyed the hands-on nature of the majority of my subjects, and how easy it is to extend yourself past the coursework.

Highlights for me would be all the extra opportunities that come with studying at IMAS – volunteer work, internships, paid work, overseas study, field trips and much more.

 “The content is interesting, relevant and up-to-date, along with all lecturers being experts in their specific field. Also of course the field work!”

While she’s only in her first year of her Bachelor of Marine and Antarctic Science (Marine Biology), Kat’s already thinking about the future.

“I’m hoping to become a research academic in the field of marine science. I really enjoy the process of research – it involves so many different and contrasting skills.

I would 100% recommend studying at IMAS.

“It provides an excellent basis for making connections within the scientific community, the facilities are amazing, and the research and volunteer opportunities are unmatched!”