My name is Nicole Reineker, I’m originally from Sydney. I now live in Franklin, in Southern Tasmania and I’m studying the Bachelor of Agricultural Science, which is a four year degree with an integrated honours.
What inspired me to enrol, I’d been considering going back and studying for many years. But when we moved to Tasmania, I found that the work situation down here is not particularly good. Unemployment is very high, it took me about six months to get a job and it ended up being in the electricity company Auroras call centre.
I thought it was about time that I considered training to study something that would head me towards a career, that would be mentally stimulating, enjoyable and remotely creative and I thought that agriculture, particularly along the style of agriculture that I am interested in, would be a really good idea.
An agricultural science degree is a really practical, skills based life science degree. So it encompasses plant biology, animal biology, as well as the sort of more specific agricultural subjects such as agronomy, horticulture, soil science and natural resource management.
When I was considering going back to uni I made an appointment to speak to one of the enrolment advisors just to discuss my options and see whether the agricultural degree would be a good fit for me. Because it had been a great many years since I had been in high school, my chemistry and maths, they didn’t deem it to be enough for the prerequisites for the Bachelor of Agricultural Science. So what they did is they enrolled me in the Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) with that I undertook a foundation unit in chemistry in my first semester and once I passed that unit, I was automatically transferred to the Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree.
Depending on the type of support I need, really depends on where I go. I have made use of the Riawunna Centre at the university. For me, it’s a really important place on the university, it’s one of the places where I feel completely accepted, comfortable and it’s just a very, very easy place to be and to be part of the community.
When I started I was very lucky to be awarded an Access Scholarship, which is a scholarship that is targeted towards regional Tasmania, women studying non-traditional degrees and lower socio-economic students. In my second year I applied for a couple of the specific agricultural scholarships and I was very lucky to receive the Beryl Bennett Bursary which is a scholarship that provides me $3,000 every year until I graduate, as long as I continue passing. I have also received a Crawford Society Young Scientist Scholarship, which was a scholarship to attend their parliamentary conference in Perth.
Furthering your education opens the world to you. It gives you the opportunity to see and travel the world, to know more about yourself and most importantly challenge yourself, see what you are capable of.
I think it’s very important that more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students pursue a further education in agricultural and natural resource management. With the amount of land under Native Title, and particularly the amount of land under Native Title that is being run as an agricultural enterprise, it’s really important that we have the skills and the knowledge to combine both traditional knowledge and empirical evidence to ensure that we’re able to manage the land in the best possible, sustainable way, to ensure the long term viability of both the land and Native Title.
Occupation: Agricultural Science
Nicole is a student agricultural scientist from Sydney, NSW. After travelling and living in London, Nicole moved to Tasmania and after spending 6 months looking for work decided to enrol in uni. Nicole believes education opens the world up to Indigenous people and feels agricultural science can be successfully intertwined with Traditional Knowledge.