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Environmental Systems – Leigh Stitz

Get to know Leigh Stitz

I wanted to study with the best and to understand what was happening in the real world. I wanted my research to matter.

Environmental Systems – Leigh Stitz

Personal experience

I had a successful career in hospitality and after having children, I started looking for my dream job. It was my chance to do something for me, to try something that I had always wanted to do. Having grown up near the ocean my whole life, I knew I wanted to study something to do with water. I decided to study through CQUniversity as it offered the best bachelor degree in environmental science through flex study.

Due to the passion of the lecturers at CQUni, I became more interested in freshwater aquatic systems. I was offered a scholarship with industry and the chance to complete my honours degree. I studied with two amazing supervisors, Associate Professors Larelle Fabbro and Susan Kinnear, examining toxic algae in the Fitzroy River. Little did I know then, but my love for research had begun!

The opportunities to learn and gain skills along the way are amazing at CQUniversity. I received some really valuable training that will stay with me for life. You have the chance to meet and engage with people from a range of disciplines which really widens your views in research.

Sharing ideas and talking about different ways to approach a problem, and then ultimately finding a solution, helped me fine-tune my research skills. It’s the little things too, I took advantage of every opportunity CQUni offered me and this really has led to personal, academic and professional growth beyond just research. I went from being nervous to talk in a small group, to being a confident public speaker.

Research at CQUniversity: Environmental systems

Research at CQUni encourages collaboration with industry and the wider community. There are opportunities to work locally to solve local problems but also opportunities to work with national and international researchers to solve bigger problems. The research that is happening in this space evolves with the needs of the community around us. It’s not just research for the sake of research.

I have found that research in environmental science at CQUniversity is highly regarded in the wider research community. When I have had the chance to meet other researchers, I felt proud to be representing our Uni.

A RHD at CQUni is more than just a qualification. Any university can offer you a piece of paper, but at CQUni you gain so much more. The training and mentoring allows you to develop your career in research by helping you grow. You become a researcher that is able to make real change in the world.

If you don’t want to be ignored because you’re just one of the many students your potential supervisor has, then come to CQUniversity. The people really care. I don’t think I’ve ever had a question that couldn’t be answered, there is always someone who can help.

Current research projects

I have a curious mind, and so it was a natural progression for me to continue into a research higher degree. I wanted to study with the best and to understand what was happening in the real world. I wanted my research to matter. I chose CQUniversity because of the people and the fact that my supervisors are leading research in environmental science.

My PhD examined the ephemeral streams and rivers of the Fitzroy Basin, and while my work has contributed to the knowledge of how these systems work, I now have lots of other questions I’d like to answer.

Research career highlights

Graduating with my doctorate was a day I will never forget, but I think the biggest highlight so far has been publishing my first journal article in a scientific paper. How amazing to be recognised by other scientists. I also had the opportunity to present a paper at a conference where I met my idols in environmental science. I had to stop myself from asking for autographs. It was a wonderful chance to make some contacts that I will use in future research collaborations.

This is my dream job, but if I wasn’t researching, I guess I would be studying something else. Being at CQUni has really expanded my mind and there are so many ideas that I want to explore. I just wish there was more time in the day as my list keeps growing. Knowledge is a powerful thing.

Explore more about current research at CQUni’s School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences.