Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology)
A fascination with studying sharks can be traced back to attending an Open Day presentation at Flinders University, when Cameron May was introduced to the study focus of shark ecology expert Associate Professor Charlie Huveneers, opening up a world of fresh academic possibility.
Cameron went on to study Marine Biology, and enjoyed extraordinary study opportunities that changed his life. He participated in the New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program, spending a fortnight studying tropical reef ecosystems on the island nation of Palau.
“I gained an understanding of an entirely unique ecosystem, and a beautiful country that leads the world in marine conservation and preservation,” says Cameron.
An Overseas HELP scheme took him to South Africa for five weeks to study white sharks, which kickstarted his passion for shark ecology and led to a year-long Honours project that involved researching and cage diving with white sharks at the Neptune Islands off Port Lincoln in South Australia.
Still, this wasn’t a simple, straightforward academic path. Cameron initially studied Psychological Science but his enthusiasm dimmed during his first year. Thanks to guidance from the dedicated Flinders support staff, he was able to transfer degrees and began studying Marine Biology. “Without the support of the staff at Flinders, I don’t imagine I would have had the confidence to pursue my true passions,” admits Cameron.
His achievements now include completing a first class Honours thesis – “I thought that would have been impossible for me, the sort of thing reserved only for professional academics” – and he is working as a policy officer for Primary Industries and Regions SA. He sees this as a springboard to gain more experience in environmental and ecosystem management, so that he can one day manage and monitor marine conservation parks.
“The benefit of studying marine biology is that I can find work wherever there is an ocean,” says Cameron. “Conservation and protection of the world’s oceans holds a significant place in my heart, and it was my experiences and opportunities at Flinders that helped nurture and grow that passion.”