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The courage to try something new

10 February 2022

An undergraduate degree in Geology inspired Jessica Trezise’s relocation to Canberra from Hobart almost 10 years ago. Her curiosity and willingness to tackle something new that led her to take on a Master of Environmental Management and Development at the Crawford School of Public Policy.

Jessica (Jess) Trezise, like many undergraduate students, didn’t enrol in many maths classes while at university. So when the first course of her Master of Environmental Management and Development course was ‘An Introduction to Environmental Economics’, she was ‘very worried’ given she had ‘absolutely no background in economics.’ However, her concerns quickly dissipated.

Having now graduated, Jess confesses that the introduction subject was one of her favourites (top two in fact!). Stepping outside of her comfort zone provided Jess with the courage to try something new.

“It served to reassure me of my decision to study a policy degree, while also igniting a greater interest than I had thought possible in development and economic studies.” said Jess.

While Jess may have summed up the courage and interest to tackle environmental economics, she was no stranger to changing things up.

“I spent a number of years working at Questacon here in Canberra, before a move to the UK to work at the Science Museum,” Jess fondly recalled.

Despite her time in London being cut short because of COVID-19 border closures, Jess continued to try new things, landing herself a role as an Earthquake Geologist at Geoscience Australia and now, as Senior Policy Officer in the Offshore Resources Branch of the Department of Industry.

With strong academic and professional foundations in science, Jess yet again, sought out something new.

“I wanted to study in a field that I believed would give me the best start to learn how to make a difference when it comes to develop future policy surrounding climactic and environmental change. I wanted a political and economic focus as I had never engaged with those fields before. Crawford School offered the greatest diversity and insight into a huge range of topics that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to study there,” said Jess.

The courage to tackle the new is not just useful for economics, but is reflective of the thematic issues she was studying to address large issues surrounding environmental management and development. With diversity in courses ranging from Gender and Development, Asia Pacific Environmental Conflicts, Land Rights and Resource Development, Biodiversity Conservation or Food Wars, a little courage goes a long way when deeply engaging in these emergent issues.

Jess credits the way in which Crawford experts prepared her for the next phase of her career throughout the course.

“They allowed all students to pursue their own interests within the bounds of the courses, and encouraged the use of personal experience when it came to completing assignments and goals,” said Jess.

Not being a stranger with surprises, it was Jess’ final semester that gave her insight into the scope that this field of study could offer, when she engaged with leading industries and organisations from across Australia and around the world.

“Perhaps my most memorable experience was listening to different experts from numerous organisations such as the Australia Strategic Policy Institute and the Bureau of Meteorology talk about their fields of research and work. I gained greatest benefit from taking courses outside my comfort zone and found interest and excitement that I did not expect I would have,” said Jess.

Upon graduation, Jess was the co-recipient of the Tiri Tiri 2021 Prize for academic excellence in the program. It is this success in addition to her interest and excitement in the subject matter that drove Jess throughout her course and achieve what she set out to do, make a difference.

Now, as a Senior Policy Officer at the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, Jess is putting her knowledge and experience into practice.

“I am being given the opportunity to develop my understanding of how policy is made and communicated within the government structures, and gaining significant experience writing and researching policy,” Jess shared.

Jess has her eye on gaining experience in the field of disaster resilience policy, but one thing is for sure, she has a proven track record of creating success outside of her comfort zone.

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Updated:  6 December 2022/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team