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Passion for environment reverberates through graduate career

23 Mar 2021

When surf lifesaver Jessica Appel decided to pursue Environmental Science as a degree and a career, the USC graduate was listening to her heart.

The Coolum Beach 26-year-old is now listening to the environment for her job as an acoustic consultant, which involves assessing and managing noise impacts in industries such as construction, transport and mining.

Jess is also passionate about the role of lifesavers in helping protect the natural world, including raising funds and awareness as Coolum Beach Surf Woman of the Year for 2021.

“My full-time job with Live It Acoustics involves performing environmental impact assessments that focus solely on noise and vibration impacts from small developments to large infrastructure projects such as the Mackay Northern Access Upgrade road project,” said the 2016 USC graduate.

Live It Acoustics uses computer-aided technologies and innovative techniques on projects across Queensland, working from its Sunshine Coast and Mackay offices.

“I love my job because it's such a different branch of environmental work,” she said. “It has been interesting to solely focus on noise and vibration, as opposed to the broader spectrum of assessments in an environmental science consulting position.

“It has been a huge learning curve that has given me a deeper understanding of the fundamentals and science behind these processes.

“That is the beauty of a Bachelor of Environmental Science. It is so broad and there are so many opportunities and career paths to explore; it is just a matter of finding your niche.”

Jess said she also gained great satisfaction from her voluntary work with Surf Life Saving Queensland, where she leads the development of environmental awareness programs.

“As surf lifesavers, we represent our organisation and Australia’s beaches. With this honour comes the responsibilities associated with the red and yellow uniform,” she said.

“These responsibilities extend beyond protecting human lives at the beach. If we do our part in protecting our environment by being proactive, keeping beaches clean and healthy, and engaging the community to do the same, then we are fulfilling those values.”

She said her love for nature started at a young age and she travelled the world to explore different environments after graduating from USC in 2016.

“In 2019, I worked casually for a year as a graduate environmental scientist on the Sunshine Coast before gaining my current, full-time role,” she said.

“I hope my experience shows other university students that there is no rush into your career. In fact, my employer said one of the reasons I got the job is because I travelled, explored and gained more experience.”

Environmental Science graduate Jess Appel at work in Townsville

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