UW-Rock County prepared alumna for Whitewater’s marine biology program in Australia

Lauren Zillman checks in from Deakin University - Warrnambool, Victoria   
By Lauren Zillman

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.

Zillman in Australia 2

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.

Zillman Australia 3

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.

Zillman in Australia


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


Shawna Connor