Shiwangni Rao -  USP Alumni Network

Name: Shiwangni Rao
Country: Fiji
Programme: Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science (2010) Master of Science in Environmental Science (2012)
Occupation: PhD student, Charles Sturt University, Australia

Why did you choose your field of study?
I was advised by my uncle and aunty to do so as it was a field that was gaining interest rapidly. Having said that, I am glad I took their opinion on board as I found the Environmental Science program to be highly engaging and significant. It did not only cover the scientific base of the course but the content also gave students insight on global perspective and matters in relation to the environment. Furthermore, as the program offered a mixture of courses I found it quite convenient to merge into any biology, chemistry, geography or earth science field.
Briefly reflect on your student life at USP?
Apart from studies, I found that the student life at USP defined me. I made lifetime friends and my network continues to grow today. I was also fortune enough to be part of the USP Choir “Pasifika Voices” and the Indian Association Dance group during USP open day. I found my career path of teaching when I worked as a mentor with the Regional Scholarship Team and Student Learning Center. The Environmental science program added to this experience quite significantly, as every year we went on a number of field trips, either visiting villages by the sea or climbing up the mountains. It helped me develop a great appreciation for nature, people and their culture. During my master’s I also got to travel a lot to Tuvalu, Malaysia, Sydney and Federated States of Micronesia. It showed me my strengths and weakness and molded me as an individual and a student.
Greatest achievement[s] as a student
The knowledge, experience and people I gained.
Career Highlights since Graduation
Graduate Assistant Officer at USP 2011
Teaching Assistant at USP from 2012-2015
Lecturer Environmental Science at Federation University, Melbourne Australia 2015
PhD Student at Charles Sturt University, New South Wales, Australia 2016
Who/what do you credit your success to? What inspires you?
The credit goes to my uncle and aunty for setting me on this path but most of all my parents for they are not only the reason behind my achievements but also my inspiration, then and now.
How do you think USP helped you in your career?
It is where I gained the skills and knowledge I required for my career path. It is also the place where I got my first job experience that set the pace of my future career.
Describe any challenges you face to reach where you are today and how you overcame those challenges?
Nothing in life came easy for me, but every time I was knocked down i got back up and tried again. I faced a number of challenges, the most significant one’s were finding a job in Australia and getting a PhD scholarship at an Australian University. Both of which I got through hard work and persistence.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years (career and/or personal goals)?
As I believe in having more than one option in life I see myself as, either once again an academic or working in the industrial sector of product development or an environmental Officer within Australian public sector.
What advice would you give to current and future students of USP?
Make the most of all the educational and student life activities you have access at USP as the experience and opportunities you can gain here will not be available elsewhere.
Please share top three tips that you think are most important for our current students or recent graduates that will help them when starting out on their career paths.
All we can do is give our best
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
If things don’t go as planned, you can make it better than the planned

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