International Connections

International Connections

By Trista McKenzie

As I’ve been sitting in the Sydney Airport for the last ten hours waiting for my horrendously delayed flight home to Honolulu to finally take off, I’ve had some time to reflect a bit about my stay in Australia and the connections I’ve made. While I came here to specifically work with one person, I’ve formed working relationships and connections with many. From graduate students working on research both similar and dissimilar to my own, to professors and researchers both at Southern Cross University as well as abroad – and these new connections will (most likely) lead to future collaborations.

Lunch with Isaac’s lab group, which is very international. The people in this photo come from seven different countries: Australia, Brazil, China, Columbia, India, Japan, and the USA.

Unlike most of the other LOREX students who are traveling as cohorts to their respective destinations abroad, I was the only student working in Coffs Harbour. This forced me to navigate a new environment and seek out new friendships on my own. I was fortunate to make a lot of really good friends in Coffs Harbour and I’m very thankful for them showing me around.

Farewell dinner with new friends.

My time at the National Marine Science Centre has been very productive – I’ve completed much of the lab work and have even started writing up my results. In the next few weeks back in Hawaiʻi, I will complete the remaining lab analyses using instrumentation/techniques available at my home institution. During my last week in Australia, I finished up the Australia portion of my lab work, gave a talk about my research in Hawaiʻi and Sydney, and assisted some grad students with their fieldwork.

Giving a presentation at the National Marine Science Centre about my research.

I am very thankful that I’ve had the opportunity for this experience – both to the ASLO LOREX (and NSF for funding LOREX!) program as well as Isaac for hosting (and making sure my stay was both productive and enjoyable). I look forward to future collaborations!

Kayaking with Isaac and his family in Coffs Creek.
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