Neater interview notes (not in a chronological order, bits missing, please edit =D ) Gerry Rayner
-Found transition from secondary to tertiary education “abysmal”. Started BSc but dropped out after 1 year. -Worked in telecommunications for several years but got sick of it, returned to study Science as a mature aged student. -Completed BSc (honours) in early 1990’s as mature aged student. Had large time gap between completing Honours and PhD (in this gap he worked at N.P.A- National Parks Association, I can’t remember what his role there was though). He wouldn’t recommend this long time gap between Honours and PhD. -As an honours student at 28-29 years old, his mentor (an Alpine ecologist) was very helpful; not just a mentor but a role-model, formed valuable relationship, had beers together etc. - PhD supervisor (female) was also a role-model. Gerry is also inspired by teaching philosophies of people like Vince Tinto, Jean Piaget. -His area of PhD research was in Plant ecology: Looking in aspects such as long-term climate change, how plants responded. Took 4 closely related plant species that existed in 4 different climates (arid, dry sclerophyll, temperate rainforest, cool temperate rainforest) and looking at their physiology and seeing if evolutionary pathways could tell us their past. (I didn’t completely follow this, Jess can expand ) -Best part of PhD was finishing it. Interesting work but found it incredibly busy juggling with full time work and a family. PhD involved lots of field-work, lab-work, statistics.
-Undertook plant research for a long time, would take on Honours students, but recently his focus has shifted from biological research to educational research. 1st year bio labs excellent place for educational research (large sample size of 1000 students).
-Most enjoyable part of job (other than conference dinners with free booze) includes attending conferences and meeting like-minded people....
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