Starting college with big dreams, but no idea of how to make them happen, I decided to enroll in a college somewhere close to home to make sure I found the right path for me. Going to school at UW-Rock County ended up being the best decision for my overall schooling career. After expressing my dream of being a marine biologist, my advisor Karen Greenler informed me of UW-Whitewater’s Marine Biology program. It’s a four and half year program with your senior year spent at Deakin University in Australia. I knew right away this was the perfect plan for me and with Karen’s help I was able to start my journey for Australia right there at U-Rock.
I met up and worked with Karen for the two years I spent at U-Rock and she was always willing to help with any questions I had. She put my dreams into a simple plan that I was able to follow up until I left for Australia. Aside from Karen’s help and making many friends while at U-Rock, I really enjoyed the classes I took and became friends with many of the professors. This was a great way to get my academic career off to a strong start, and by doing so I obtained my associates degree in two years and then was able to transfer to UW-Whitewater where I studied for another year and a half. My time at Whitewater was not only challenging, but two of the best years of my life. I was able to meet many friends that I have traveled here to Australia with and that I also keep in touch with back home.
The classes themselves were very challenging but I am so thankful for the encouragement my professors gave me and the motivation of Australia to help me through. I am currently finishing my degree here at Deakin University, in Warrnambool, Victoria. My campus sits right on the Hopkins Estuary River, which is one of the most beautiful and well-known rivers in Victoria. Not only is the campus located on the river, but it’s also only a few minutes from the ocean. Living here has been an absolute dream and has definitely been worth all of the hard work. Since I have moved to Warrnambool, I have been able to travel to some of the most beautiful places in the country, including Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne, New Zealand, and many other adventurous locations.
Once I have finished schooling here, I will return back to the States where I will graduate with my degree Biology which includes an emphasis in marine and freshwater ecology. I have recently applied for a few internships and jobs in different coastal states. My dream career would be to work in a marine rescue and rehabilitation center and hopefully travel back to Australia. – UW-Rock County alumna Lauren Zillman