Alumni panel discuss diversity in sustainable careers lecture

What do an embryologist, horticulturalist and a humanitarian activist have in common? They are all former students of Trinity College, and are currently pursuing their passions in the diverse field of sustainability.

At 8am on Monday 30 October 2017, the Environmental, Development and Design (EDD) team held a special guest lecture in the Evan Burge Lecture Theatre for over 80 February Main Foundation Studies students. The guest speakers are at various stages of their career, but they are all motivated by the same goal of creating a more sustainable and environmentally conscious society.

Sashini Fernando (TCFS 2011), studied Zoology before undertaking a Master of Embryology at Monash University. She is passionate about saving endangered species and will return to Sri Lanka in December to work in animal conservation. Sashini’s current projects include working to ensure the sustainability of the yellowfin tuna and the conservation of large felines such as leopards.

‘I love animals, it makes me feel good doing something I love to do,’ says Sashini. She says the biggest challenge in pursuing a career in embryology is the amount of industry specific knowledge required to specialise in her chosen field. In fact, she was advised that if she wanted to be a vet it would take approximately 15 years to specialise.

Meg Caffin (TC 1996) is the Principal Consultant at Urban Forest Consulting. Meg obtained a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne before working as an investment banker for 10 years. However, Meg always knew her passion was in environmental sustainability (especially trees) and made the decision to alter the direction of her career by returning to University to study a Masters of Urban Horticulture.

‘First and foremost, I absolutely love trees. When you think about the environments they have to live in within a city, they have to compete with powerlines, underground services, bitumen, footpaths, rubbish pollution and yet, you look down Royal Parade and those trees are amazing, they provide shade, look great and make you feel good about yourself,’ says Meg.

She has worked at the City of Melbourne and is now running her own consultancy where she meets regularly with both local and state government to improve liveability and urban resilience.

Celina Dayrit (TCFS 2015), is at the beginning of her career journey and is currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne. During the last 2 years, Celina worked at the Oaktree Foundation and was responsible for helping to promote and advocate for the Live Below the Line campaign. She is passionate about alleviating poverty and making a difference to the lives of those less fortunate, especially in relation to giving girls access to education.

‘It is amazingly heart-warming that you’re able to change the lives of a person just because you are passionate about helping them out,’ says Celina.

At the lecture, students also asked the panel questions such as how they chose what to study at university, the difficulty of applying for a job, how to transition from one career to another and the financial difficulty of switching from the private or government sector to a not-for-profit.

The lecture was an initiative of Jane Sykes, Subject Leader for Environment, Development and Design with assistance from Diane Boase.  

03 Nov 2017
Category: Learning