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Craig Wilson

Craig Wilson

Majors:  Biology & Pre-Med

Macquarie University -
Marine Science

Macquarie University is one of four founding universities of the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS)  It is located at beautiful Chowder Bay, Mosman in Sydney.  SIMS is a collaborative research institute bringing together scientists from the universities in the Sydney region, several government departments, the Australian Museum and the Australian Defense Science & Technology Organization.  Macquarie University is involved in several exciting research projects based at SIMS, such as invertebrate immunology, developing biomarkers to assess estuarine pollution, octopus behavior, wobbegong tag & release, urchin aquaculture and marine mammals.  Its location near the Sydney Heads provides not only an amazing scenic lookout but gives access to high quality seawater to service the state of the art facilities such as the SIMS research aquarium.

Craig's pre-trip thoughts

Internship:   Macquarie University-Marine Science.  I will be interning for Megan Kessler who is a PhD candidate and is studying whale migration patterns of the coast of Sydney in collaboration with the whale watching industry.  My role as an intern will consist of photo identification of humpback whales.  I will be entering images collected over the past five years into a new automated fluke ID program called Fluke Matcher and search for matches.  This information will be used for re-sighting rates by the commercial whale watching industry off Sydney.

Why are you participating in the Augustana in Australia program?   I have always enjoyed educational environments that take place outside of the traditional classroom setting.  When I found out Augustana had an internship program on the other side of the world, I jumped on it.

What value do you hope to add back to the internship site?  I hope to be efficient and effective with using this new matching program.  By working hard I will be able to help this project move along more quickly allowing the whale watching industry to be able to provide better quality whale watching sites for the public.  Once I become more experienced with the software, I hope to give suggestions on how to make the program more user friendly.

What do you hope to learn on your internship?   I would like to learn what is involved with conducting primary research at the university graduate level.  I also hope to enhance my ability to work independently on projects, research, and/or reports.  I would like to gain further insight into marine wildlife.

Where do you plan to travel during your term "down under"?   I have plans to travel to Cairns to visit the Great Barrier Reef.  Also, I hope to travel to New Zealand for our spring break.  However, I plan on traveling around Sydney and learning about its environment as much as possible because it is where we will be living.

What do you anticipate to be the highlight of your experience "down under"?   I think the highlight of my experiences "down under" will be seeing how other cultures handle the workplace.  Americans have an uptight workplace atmosphere and it will be neat to be able to see what it is like to be in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Other comments.   I am very excited for this trip!  With the rate in which our world is becoming increasingly more connected, I believe it is important for students to learn about other ways of life and I am thankful Augustana provides opportunities such as this for its students.