Travels with wild chemicals – Distinguished visitor lecture by Prof. Mary Garson

QUT was honoured to host RACI Margaret Sheil Medallist Professor Mary Garson for a Distinguished Guest lecture titled “In search of a professional career: Travels with Wild chemicals”.

The RACI Margaret Sheil Medal was established in 2017 honouring the trail-blazing contributions of Professor Margaret Sheil AO, Australia’s first female chemistry professor, and the current Vice Chancellor of QUT. The spirit of this award is to recognise and honour female leaders in a chemistry-related field who have championed workplace equitability for women in STEM and/or outstanding mentorship for juniors.

I had the privilege of being able to attend this lecture and hear about Prof Mary Garson’s life and career journey, and her exciting discoveries and work in marine science.

As a young female chemist just finishing her Bachelor’s, listening to Prof Garson’s career journey was inspiring and exhilarating. Her tales of what led to the career she has today, seemingly poor decisions that lead to stellar scientific collaborations and contributions and a global network of friends and colleagues inspired me to continue in my field and to see the silver lining in everything.

She also divulged the secret to getting a species named after you as she has a flatworm species named in her honour, and the importance of bravery and resilience to achieve success.

She ended her lecture with a great piece of advice: write 250-300 words every day and you will thank yourself. 

I intend to follow her advise and remember her words to keep me inspired and galvanised to follow my dreams.

 

My travels across the South-Eastern border

During my winter break this year, I was invited by my best friend and her family to travel across the South-Eastern border of Australia with them. Our journey started with a flight to Melbourne, and road trips to Shepparton, Furner, Mount Gambier and Adelaide, and flight back from Adelaide to Brisbane.

The trip was an immersive experience as we stayed on farms owned by family friends, and I played with lots of baby lambs, had freshly laid eggs for breakfast and also had a bonfire night in the freezing weather.

My best friend surprised me with a trip to the Blue Lake, Tantanoola caves and the possum caves in Mount Gambier.

The spectacular Tantanoola caves have a stunning arrangement of stalactites and stalagmites made exclusively of limestone and dolomite, and the structures are still active! This is one of the few wheelchair accessible caves in Australia.

The Blue Lake in South Australia is a crater lake formed over an inactive volcano in Mount Gambier. The depth, colour, and visibility of the lake changes with the season.

On the way to Adelaide from Furner, we also came across the famous giant lobster, and absolutely had to take a picture of it!

The notorious giant lobster!

All in all, this trip inspired me to aim to travel more across Australia and explore the less famous towns and cities and discover more of Australia’s stunning landscape and natural formations.

Fall in love with EKKA in this August

Once in a year, the Royal Queensland Show (EKKA) is here in Brisbane again!!! This iconic show brings the city and the country together and showcases the best of Queensland in ten days. Before heading to EKKA yourself, you can now follow my steps and gain a unique insight about EKKA from me!

1.Fashion Parade & Art

Never been to a fashion show before? Now it’s your turn to enjoy the show at Ekka like a celebrity. Here you can see the works of Queensland’s top designers and have your photos taken with gorgeous models after the fashion show. As far as I know, this fashion show has been a must-see for EKKA since 1980. Additionally, the Creative Arts and Crafts competition shows you the most talented creations in Queensland and you can see creations ranging from embroidery, beading to leatherwork.

2. Animals & Agriculture

Australia’s cute creatures can be more than koala and kangaroos, and you will realize this in the animal nursery. A tour of the animal nursery in EKKA, you can literately embrace with any cute little animals! After washing your hands, you can directly enter the playground and enjoy your time with small animals such as cows, sheep, and little pigs!

In the ten days of the EKKA Carnival, competitions ranging from paintings, beauty contests for cakes to the largest vegetables will take place all the time. Among them, I am really impressed by the wood-chopping competition. It is definitely one of the best matches with the Ekka’s theme–“Bring the country to the city”. The wood-chopping area is always crowded with the audience who is keen to see the axes and flying sawdust.

3. Food & Drinks

The only thing I should say in this section is to walk around and eat as much as you can! EKKA is definitely a heaven for the foodies, where you can enjoy the delicious cuisines made by the freshest ingredients in Queensland. No matter you are a fan of the traditional Aussie food or you are super willing to try something new, EKKA gives you everything. I would just recommend a few here, the iconic EKKA strawberry sundae, Hot Dog, King-size churros, twisted potatoes, and chips loaded with meat and source!!!

4. DIYs & Photo Time

Do you want some lovely souvenirs from EKKA? You can actually do it yourself!!! Try to make yourself a crown decorated with blooming flowers or bring your friends and families some tulip made by a piece of paper!

  

Definitely go and visit the 7 LIVE Studios at EKKA to go behind the scenes of some of Australia’s most loved television programs. At the 7 LIVE Studios, you’ll be able to experience your dream job behind the 7 News desks. 
Weird and Wonderful Praying Mantis Stilt Walker is another fabulous chance for cool photos! They are an international performance group that has entertained crowds at EKKA for years. They are dressed up like insects on stilts and bring nature to life by dancing and wandering through the crowds.

5. Night Shows & Fireworks

Spending your night time at EKKA will be a perfect end to your EKKA experience. EKKA offers more than fireworks and it gives you a performance of Australian culture. I can name a few that you should never miss out: Wheel Standing monster car competition, Wild Colonial Wagon Chase and the Fireworks-Spectacular are the most eye-catching parts at the night. Fireworks are perfectly combined with performances and the superb equestrian skills make you cannot stop cheering. P.S., all of these are so much better to see with your own eyes since photos just cannot express how fantastic they are !!!

One more thing you should always do: Just remember to stop for a while and have a look at the EKKA rides at night, they are just amazing!!!

No matter what inspires you to come to EKKA, I can guarantee that EKKA will definitely fill you up with happiness and excitement and gives you the energy to reawaken your inner strength and your love for life! So remember to have your own EKKA experience this August and have tons of fun!!!

 

Lady Elliot Island; Southern Great Barrier Reef

LADY ELLIOT ISLAND, GREAT BARRIER REEF

Coral reefs that surround the island along with the clear water.

One time experience to Great Barrier Reef makes you come back for more. Just a month after going to Cairns, Lady Elliot Island was my next destination. It was an easy planning,  I  only needed the website ladyelliotisland.com, along with the saved up money (because yes, Lady Elliot Island wasn’t cheap at all….) and it got me through real easy.

So this is how you get to Lady Elliot Island; you pay individually even though you arrive in a group. The price includes; transportation to and from the island, food (breakfast and dinner), free snorkeling around the island, accommodation, and much more. Extra activities are also provided, one which I took of course; diving!!

Lady Elliot Island Cafe, where we had breakfast. The island is known to be the home to manta rays.

Lady Elliot, homes of Mantas.

The interior of island

This is how the island looked like.

It’s not Australia without the seagulls!

The sea wildlife just seconds from the beach.

This clear water! You just go 2 meters off the coast to meet a turtle, and several more meters to meet a blue spotted ray and reef sharks.

SUNRISES

Sunrises on the east side of the island. So cold in the morning in May

SUNSETS

Sunsets from the Lighthouse area. People gather here everyday to enjoy the view together.

Milky way on Lady Elliot. Taken with DSLR Canon EOS 40D, 17-85mm Canon Lense, f/4.0-5.6.

More on specific camera settings on flickr.com/photos/pcsyafira.

Lady Elliot Island: Most definitely best destination I’ve been to in Australia yet.

 

Pricilia Clarissa Syafira

2018

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I have become a coffee-lover during my stay in Australia. In this winter holiday, I decided to become a more ” professional”  coffee fan so I signed up for a barista training course.

If you would like to ask me, what is my experience of learning about coffee in Australia? Well, I will not talk about how awesome is the Lattee art I have learned, instead of that, I
will definitely say I have experienced all the steps for making a cup of coffee and I feel that I have experienced the culture of coffee from a fresh new perspective.

It is common for us to see the barista making coffee for us every day. I also believe that we all have a certain coffee shop that we go for a coffee frequently and the staff there can remember our preferences for our coffee, for example, skim milk instead of full-cream milk, extra-shot or decaf. In my opinion, every cup of coffee they make is different.

Here is my two-day experience at my coffee art school.

During my first day, I learned about the recipes for a variety of coffee that customers order the most frequently.

This coffee includes Espresso, Long Black, Latte, Cappuccino, Macchiato, Flat White, Mocca and hot chocolate

I then got familiar with them by making eight of them in one round and practiced making them in a different order for a few more times.

 

The next step I learned was to make frothy milk. Thickness is the most important thing when it comes to the quality of the frothy milk. I will tell you a little bit about this and you can learn the rest during your own training.

The typical frothy milk is 1cm thick and is used for making Latte. The one for Cappuccino is a bit thicker and it is 1.5 cm and for Flag White has the least amount of frothy milk of 0.5cm in thickness.I could not even remember how much milk I have used and how many cups I had washed before I could make a beautiful frothy milk in different thickness successfully.

 

 

 

 

My second day was all about Latte art and it is also the most challenging part of this course. I have learned three different shapes to put on top of a cup of coffee, namely, heart, Rosita, and swan. They are the basics of Latte art and you can learn how to do more complicated shapes afterward. As a beginner, I am pretty happy for myself to master these three at this stage.

 

I enjoyed my days of learning to make coffee because I do believe that coffee is just like a lifestyle here in Australia, isn’t it?  Imagine the picture of yourself making a cup of warm and tasty coffee in winter. Can you still resist your passion for becoming a barista yourself this winter holiday?

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