Staying abreast of the latest schools of thought

26 August 2019

Student profile: Jessica Catling

Written by Aarti Seksaria

A former student of Environmental Science, Jessica has been working for the Federal Government since her undergraduate years. It was her involvement in the Clean Technology Program and a few other renewable energy grant programs that led her to enrol in the Master of Energy Change degree at ANU.

“A lot of people in the public service have an excellent understanding of the government but not necessarily the technical aspects of renewable energy. I found that when I was doing my work, I lacked that technical understanding. And just the fundamentals for understanding some of the concepts was really what I wanted to learn and was interested in,” said Jessica.

The fact that this ANU degree covers environmental science as well as economics and business appealed to Jessica. “In government, there is always the need for an economic argument for why a particular program should go ahead and to understand the practical barriers to implementing renewable energy. The Master in Energy Change aligns with my interests in sustainability and offers a lot of flexibility. I like that I have access to economics units,” she said.

In her new role as a ‘Products and Services Specialist’ in the Carbon Neutral Program, Jessica helps businesses throughout the application process to get their product or service certified as carbon neutral. “The Masters’ program in particular has helped me understand just how to draw up their carbon counts and to understand their energy usage. It was not one specific elective that helped me in the carbon counting. It was to have a holistic understanding of the systems involved,” said Jessica.

“The Master of Energy Change degree helps me to stay on top of the latest schools of thought. It is also a really good opportunity for networking and hearing opinions from people who have worked in businesses, corporations or with communities,” said Jessica.

Jessica has this advice for prospective students. “We are at the beginning of a massive transition and there is going to be a lot of opportunity for people that are interested in getting involved. If you start now, there is opportunity for you to get into this space”.

When asked about her own aspirations for contributing to this space, Jessica said, “There is no way that I could try and address every single thing that is affecting the environment or climate change. So, I just want to focus on one particular part where I think I can make a difference.”

Jessica believes that her calling lies in working with the community. “I would like to be involved in on-the-ground projects that help people and communities become more sustainable. I worked in a sustainable community at Costa Rica for a short period and saw what it was like to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. There is a lot to learn and address.”