Where are they now – Alex Barber

I’ve always had a great fondness of learning about and being present in the natural world, which led to Outdoor Education and Biology becoming my favourite subjects at school in my secondary years. To be able to ski and hike in Victoria’s alpine regions one week and take part in a back-of-house tiger education experience at Melbourne Zoo the next, was great fun.

After graduating from Christian College, I launched straight into higher education, undertaking studies in Marine Biology at Monash University. My interest in the marine world actually began at Christian College, while I was still at the Bellarine Campus. Here I’d like to thank Monique Bregman, a science teacher of mine at the campus, her passion on the topic just made me want to learn more – and I haven’t stopped since!

Post-university, I travelled Europe for six months. On return, my career took me north to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. For two years I worked in marine tourism, managing reef day trips and SCUBA diving experiences. Since September 2020 however, I have worked at Cairns Marine, specialising in marine animal husbandry and aquaria water quality management. Cairns Marine is Australia’s largest collector and supplier of marine life for display in aquaria, with clients domestically and worldwide.

The most enjoyable part of my work at Cairns Marine is that the marine life that I’m working with is ever changing. New animals arrive at the husbandry facility often, one day I could be working with cute clown fish, and the next fully grown leopard sharks! It’s an exciting place to be.

Thinking back, having started my journey into the marine field at Christian College, the first stepping stones for my success today were definitely there. Career days, opportunities for work experience, and even practical components of my classes have enabled me to get to where I am today. From when a goal is set, to the effort required to achieve the goal and everything in between, the College provided me a space to learn how to do it. Most importantly however, the support and passion from my teachers in encouraging you to go for something that genuinely interests you, I will always be thankful for.

Whenever I think back on my time at Christian College, it’s always in a way that I was part of a community, not just a school. It was a community where we aimed to drive each other to succeed and positively build relationships wherever possible. This ethos I’ve taken with me since leaving Christian College, doing my best to implement it into my day-to-day life.