Jo Bulley

24 | Marine Biology & Environmental Management

A little bit about me

I grew up in Cape Town South Africa where I developed my love for great white sharks. I love diving and anything to do with sharks and marine life.

I really enjoy the freedom of travelling and seeing the world, so I’ve studied most of my degree part time to be able to see the world and finish my degree at the same time.

My way of thinking

I’m a creative thinker and I don’t see things as black and white. Everything is multi-dimensional, and I don’t believe there is only one way to do things. I like to look for answers in different and unexpected ways, rather than conforming to the status quo.

I really enjoy my units in sustainability because they are very forward-thinking and encourage me to think outside the square, to be a reformist and question science – without questions there are no answers!

My experience of high school

My experience during high school wasn’t always great. I studied at a private school and really struggled with the structure of everything. I didn’t have any problems academically, but I didn’t take well to all the routine.

I felt quite under-stimulated and was constantly questioning the teachers, which usually landed me at the principal’s office! I think what got me through was that I was naturally curious and always thinking about what was beyond school.

I took some time after high school to travel and experience the world before going to uni. I wanted to be challenged, and so I ended up volunteering in Fiji. I found that travelling and having my own adventures really confirmed what I wanted to do and that I wanted to study.

When I started at uni, I finally felt like my education was my choice, so I felt more accountable and responsible for my learning which made a huge difference to how I approached everything. I took every opportunity for support I could, and really took advantage of the flexibility to really make my learning my own.

How I knew what I wanted to study

It was my interest in the ocean and love for sharks that sparked my interest in studying marine biology. Given how much I love diving, sharks and all things marine life, it seemed like a no-brainer.

Ultimately, I would like to work abroad, and hope to work in tourism combining my passion with travel, nature and education.

I love Coral Bay

I really enjoyed the work/social balance of the Coral Bay field trip. It was nice being in such a beautiful place working hard but also having time to enjoy the environment. Time really does fly when you’re having fun! I

Field camps also remind you that the academics are no different from anyone else and that they aren’t like what you might see in the movies – they’re so much more approachable than you think!

Even before Coral Bay, I distinctly remember one of my lecturers, Mike Van Keulen (or MVK as I like to call him!) taking the time to talk to each of his students to ask how your studies are going. He supports your dreams and aspirations no matter how big and crazy. I remember telling him I was going to work with sharks and free dive with great whites. He told me if I want to do that then to go for it, when others would have laughed and called me crazy!