Name: Caitlin Newport
Pursuit: Marine Science
Cait is passionate about marine science. She moved to Australia where a large proportion of behavioural research on fish is done. With no supporting funds to commence a PhD, she persevered and worked as a research assistant for 3 years as well as published articles in popular science magazines to eventually gain a scholarship for her goal of PhD study. The grant money from Aim for the Stars will allow Cait to buy her own field equipment to assist with the costs associated with observing fish in their natural habitat.
When did you start?
My first real marine biology experience was on a high school field trip. We went to the Bay Fundy, Canada, for a week and learned about what was involved in marine research. We worked hard on that trip, waking up early, collecting samples in the morning, running experiments in the afternoon and finally reading and writing reports in the evening. The area of Canada has cold and wet weather and by the end of the trip I had pneumonia. I learned two valuable lessons on that trip: one, that I loved marine biology and two, I wanted to continue studying marine biology somewhere warmer!
Career highlight or biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement has been getting an international student scholarship to undertake a PhD studying how fish identify the visual objects around them. After 3 years of volunteering with research groups, working as a research assistant and using every opportunity I could to learn and become a better candidate, I finally got a scholarship which has allowed me to continue studying and it is an important step on my career path. The highlight of my career is being able to dive and see amazing things underwater. There is nothing better than seeing an animal that you only ever thought you would read about, or watching animals do funny things under water. My favourite fish are the small ones that will attack anything that comes in their area no matter the size of the intruder. They remind me that it doesn’t matter how small or insignificant you seem to be, you can still do great things!
What is your dream?
My dream is to learn as much as I can about the behaviour of animals in the ocean. I think that the more we understand animals, the more we will consider them equals and protect them and their ecosystems.
Who or what have inspired you?
Who's your hero?
I admire anyone who works hard to achieve their goals but who are also respectful of others while they do it. Reaching your goal can often involve a lot of competition and the people that can be competitive but also considerate are truly inspiring.
Any other special talents?
I enjoy kickboxing, hiking, camping, and drawing, however I am not sure I could be considered particularly talented at any of those things! I have recently discovered a love of baking and have realised I am very talented at eating cake.
Regina Spektor, Kate Nash, Coldplay, Great Lake Swimmers, and Said the Whale.
There are so many! I am a sucker for a happy ending so I tend to go for comedies or action movies. I love Zoolander, the Bourne trilogy and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I have to admit though that for at least ten years of my life my favourite movie was Clueless.
Favourite TV Show?
All of it! I love foods from around the world and I love to try new things. I particularly love Turkish, Indian, Greek, Italian and French. I can’t say no to croissants and dark chocolate.
How the grant will help you/how will you use the money?
I will use the grant to buy dive gear so that I can continue to observe fish in their natural environment. This will allow me to complete the observations necessary for my PhD.
Last words: Quote or Motto you live by?
Failure is just an opportunity to try a new method.