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Mattea Taylor graduated from SIDE with WACE in 2010. Mattea completed all her primary school through Kimberley School of the Air and all high school through SIDE. Now she is a PhD student at University of Newcastle.

P1000089What did you do after finishing school?

After being accepted into university, I took a gap year to study at a one-year bible college on the Sunshine Coast. I then went to Queensland where I stayed with my grandfather while completing my Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science double degree majoring in Journalism, Indonesian Language, and Environment and Sustainability. This was followed by an Honours degree in Science researching yellow-footed rock-wallabies in remote western Queensland. I returned home to a small Aboriginal community where I grew up, to work in the community store and look for jobs related to my studies while enjoying time with my family.

What are you doing now?

I have just finished eighteen months working as an Assistant Warden at the Broome Bird Observatory. This place and position and the people involved provided me with many new skills and opportunities and grew my love and knowledge of birds, especially the migratory shorebirds which feed in Roebuck Bay and fly to Russia and other areas to breed. Fittingly, I have just been offered a PhD studying the movement of migratory shorebirds in estuaries in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, through the University of Newcastle. I am very excited about this new chapter in my life.

How did SIDE prepare you for life after school?

SIDE prepared me for life after school in many ways. While interactions through the online classroom were great, the opportunities I had to attend school camps in person over my time with SIDE, eg subject camps like Biology camps in Years 11 and 12, sport camp like Country Week or revision seminars, gave me the chance to meet, interact and work together with other students my age from different backgrounds. Being naturally shy and living remotely with few people my age, I feel these interactions better prepared me for attending university, undertaking internships and working with others. SIDE also instilled in me a love of learning and a commitment to continually improve myself in all aspects of life. This was particularly through the inspiration of my SIDE teachers and coordinators who I discovered never stopped learning and continued to strive for excellence in their lives and careers. SIDE taught me that learning doesn’t stop in the classroom or even in the university.