Stella Rose Lay’s foray into science began as a joyful hobby, and grew into a passion for protecting the planet. As a Gamberre (WA) woman, Stella Rose shares how gaining support from VU’s Indigenous Academic Unit, Moondani Balluk – as well as a unique internship program – have given her extra confidence to achieve her potential.
“Why science? Originally I fell in love with it because I was influenced by my Dad’s passion for geography. I would read everything about it – we’d go to the library and they’d find me tucked away reading an atlas!
When I became aware of climate change, I decided to make it my mission to contribute to helping Country; conserving the environment for future generations.
So after school, I enrolled in VU’s Bachelor of Science, with a major in ecology and environmental management.
From my first year of uni, I’ve felt supported. The teachers from VU First Year College were so helpful, I still email them occasionally for advice.
Moondani Balluk referred me to CareerTrackers, a professional internship program for Indigenous students. I completed a 12-week paid internship during the second-year summer break at engineering firm Mott MacDonald.
My previous work has been in retail and hospitality, so my CareerTrackers internship got me real experience in a STEM-related field. It boosted my confidence and future career prospects.
My other passion is sport. I play state-level volleyball and NFL Aussie Rules football.
I thrive on the hands-on lab work and the outdoor field research we’ve done and continue to do. Going out to regional areas, we’re contributing to a project that monitors the behaviour of endangered animals.
It’s so rewarding to know that we’re making a difference to the planet already. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”