Written by Megan Porter
I am a PhD student from Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga and my research has focused on the parasitism affecting the Black Jewfish of northern Australia.
My research project represents the first major study on the parasitic organisms affecting the commercially important, northern Australian marine fish species and I have been fortunate to study a multidisciplinary project that has involved several research collaborators and many amazing research experiences as an early career researcher.
My interest in parasitology sparked during my Honours studies in 2019 where I discovered the newly reported, red-necked wallaby host for the pentastome parasite most commonly known as the tongue-worm.
For my PhD project I was lucky enough to be able to combine my newfound interest for parasites with my passion for marine life and ocean sustainability.
What exactly is the Country Universities Centre?
Having always had a passion for marine wildlife and ecosystems, I decided to relocate back home in 2022 to finish my studies on the mid-north coast of NSW.
In the years prior to this, I completed my bachelor’s degrees at Charles Sturt as an on-campus student and had therefore never studied via distance.
Moving to a home-work environment quickly become quite isolating and although I succeeded in finding motivation to study, there remained an underlying pressure that I had not felt when studying internally.
That was when I was lucky enough to come across the Country Universities Centre (CUC), allowing me to complete my final studies without the stress and isolation of studying online.
Country Universities Centre has had an immensely positive impact in my final years of doctoral studies.
CUC is a regional hub based in many regional areas of NSW, offering students access to study spaces, equipment, support staff, a student cohort, and various social activities and celebratory ceremonies.
As a student of Charles Sturt, I have fortunately been eligible for all that CUC has had to offer and I am now based in the Macleay Valley centre.
What has CUC provided me?
This centre has provided me with countless supports for my studies, including:
- access to high-speed internet
- computing and printing technologies
- support and guidance services
- (most importantly) a supportive and encouraging community of staff, students, and early career researchers
Country Universities Centre offers high-level academic study skills support, disability support, health and wellbeing counselling, orientation programs and research integrity guidance through its collaboration with universities such as Charles Sturt.
Outside of the academic setting, CUC often organises social events and activities for all staff and students to attend, as well as arranging celebratory events for student graduation ceremonies.
I also love how supportive and accessible the centre is. It provides a network of other students and researchers to connect with and work alongside of, as well as an array of support staff to assist you in any way you need.
CUC and its influence on my studies
The centre has greatly influenced my studies and I am grateful to have been able to utilise the facility and all that it has to offer.
As a PhD student it is almost always up to you to stay motivated and apply yourself to your studies, and I found that moving away from the university environment increased the challenges surrounding this.
CUC has given me a network of support and a great new work environment that I will never take for granted.
The Centre has been incredibly important for my studies. Allowing me to come in to work in the centre each day, surrounded by fellow students, is highly impactful on my studies.
I hope that I can increase awareness of the incredible study platform that CUC provides as I believe there need to be more of these centres in regional and remote areas to ensure that all students have the opportunity to pursue their studies and become a part of the highly-supportive CUC community.