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Studying Marine Science

Amanda Miller in AustraliaAmanda Miller, Environmental Resource Management major, spent last spring studying marine science in Australia.

She took four classes through Penn State’s study-abroad program at the University of Queensland, where students from different majors and specializations shared a common interest in marine sciences and natural resources.

“Working on my marine science minor in Brisbane was a blessing because it gave me a lot of hands-on experience,” Miller said. “We studied the marine environment, coral reefs, conservation, and coastal management and processes. It’s a big advantage being near the coast.

“I loved studying in Australia because, aside from its cities, it was so untouched, with serene, pollution-free ecosystems,” she said. “You could appreciate the quality of the environment there, and that made me eager to learn.”

Study-abroad programs often provide an opportunity to stretch experience. Miller took advantage of program-sponsored trips and independent travel, visiting the Gold Coast beaches, the Fiji Islands, and the Whitsunday Islands, off the central coast of Queensland, where she went scuba diving for the first time. Miller also tried bungee jumping, skydiving, and whitewater rafting.

She also climbed the Tongariro Alpine slope, an active volcano in New Zealand around which the movie The Lord of the Rings was filmed.

Miller wants to return to Australia someday. “I felt more motivated to go into my field there, and I was reassured that marine science is my passion.”

Photo: AMANDA MILLER