Science Honours graduate gives voice to the Sea Life

Published:

Lidia in starfish demo

For USC Science Honours graduate Lidia Davidovics-Smith, there’s only one thing more exciting than working in a giant aquarium awash with “wow moments” from the marine world.

And that’s sharing the wonder of the ocean and its creatures with hundreds of school children each month to boost conservation awareness in the community and help guide future decision-makers.

Lidia, who received her Honours degree in 2013 after graduating with a USC Bachelor of Environmental Science in 2012, has enjoyed her job as education officer at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast for almost three years.

The Tewantin resident is now an Ocean Youth Facilitator at the Mooloolaba attraction, part of global Merlin Entertainments which operates more than 130 attractions in 25 countries.

She joins SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast Displays Curator Kate Willson, a 2004 USC alumnus who majored in Tourism and Environmental Science.

“I have hired a number of USC alumni in my 15 years here as I know first-hand how relevant the University’s science degrees are to the work we do,” Kate said.

“While I was researching moon jellyfish in my third year at USC, I met staff from SEA LIFE and this led to a job in the curatorial team at the aquarium, working closely with sharks, stingrays, fish and turtles.” 

Lidia said the current Ocean Youth program aimed to create opportunities for people aged 12 to 18, “to get their voices heard”.

“I take the older teenagers, linking them with peers and mentors who are just as passionate about ocean conservation, showing them ways to make a difference at any age,” she said.

“When I put together presentations and information, I’m often tapping back into what I learnt at university here on the Coast.”

Originally from British Columbia in Canada, the rescue-level scuba diver and former graphic designer returned to Canada for two years after her USC studies, where she managed a community aquarium focused on raising awareness and appreciation of marine ecosystems.

Lidia said the diversity of hands-on projects during her USC studies and her tenacity as a mature-age student assisted her career change success.

“At USC, I learnt about native fauna during amazing field trips to Fraser Island and Stradbroke Island, and I helped gather data for a PhD student’s research project on the foraging behaviour and potential impacts of red foxes in coastal environments such as Point Cartwright,” she said.

“I worked on a native vegetation survey between Noosa and Sippy Downs, and my Honours research found that public education was pivotal in encouraging the proper use of fishing waste bins at popular recreational fishing areas. 

“Now, at SEA LIFE, my duties can range from demonstrations of stingray feeding and archerfish spitting to describing the behaviours of sharks or seahorses. Then I’m taking people behind the scenes to see our marine turtle hospital and jelly breeding tanks.” 

Lidia said she was pleased with her decision to study Environmental Sciences rather than solely marine biology.

“I’ve got a wider foundation and I can build it in more directions,” she said. 

“It’s exciting when a visitor says, ‘wow, I didn’t know that’ and their eyes light up at what they’ve seen or what I’ve explained. I love it, because that’s how I still react when I learn something new about this marine environment.” 
 

 
Community Science & Research University & TAFE
Social:   

University Of The Sunshine Coast : View Full Profile
90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs
07 5430 1234
University Of The Sunshine Coast
Showing 10+ recent articles for this business
USC joins $9m global sustainability research program 09 July 2020 | USC researchers on the Sunshine Coast and in Sweden are taking part in an A$9.2million international program to transform communication of environmental and sustainability issues, such as climate change. More information...
Book to shed new light on boys’ behaviour 08 July 2020 | Forget ‘snakes and snails and puppy dog tails’ – it’s time to delve deeper into what boys are really made of to better understand and respond to their behaviour, according to a USC expert in children’s... More information...
Grad lands respiratory science career ahead of COVID 07 July 2020 | Completing clinical placements and paid work at hospitals from Nambour to Robina has sparked an exciting career for USC graduate Zoe Presley, who is now a senior respiratory scientist at the Gold Coast University... More information...
New research centre to harness strengths across cultures 06 July 2020 | Australians may be facing restrictions on travel, but the opportunity to learn from all cultures is already on our doorstep, say the leaders of a new research group at USC Australia. More information...
Top psychology graduates ready for job ahead 01 July 2020 | Brad Lines and Madison Sundgren pursued a shared interest in helping others while completing Psychology degrees and are keen to continue making a difference to the community in their new profession. More information...
Book sheds new light on natural disasters 01 July 2020 | Disasters will keep happening in Australia – but we must learn the lessons of the past if we want to diminish future risks and impacts, says a new USC History academic about to launch a book filled with floods... More information...
Design students’ work wows tourists in South Africa 30 June 2020 | When intrepid tourists visit the remote Mata Mata Camp on South Africa’s border with Namibia, they’re usually looking for food, water and basic shelter after a three-hour journey on a sandy road. More information...
Quick-thinking students find cancer support solution 25 June 2020 | Two USC Occupational Therapy students have refused to let the coronavirus pandemic derail their final university placement by quickly creating an online alternative to assist people with cancer stay connected and... More information...
Book sheds new light on natural disasters 24 June 2020 | Disasters will keep happening in Australia – but we must learn the lessons of the past if we want to diminish future risks and impacts, says a new USC History academic about to launch a book filled with floods... More information...
Researchers study drivers’ responses to suspension of random breath testing 23 June 2020 | Road safety researchers at USC Australia are keen to find out how driver behaviours changed during a temporary suspension of static roadside random breath testing (RBT) by the Queensland Police Service during the... More information...


comments powered by Disqus

All articles submitted by third parties or written by My Sunshine Coast come under our Disclaimer / Terms of Service