Stephanie Hall at Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub (MCCCRH)

Course: Master of Environmental Management & Sustainability (MEMS)

Currently: Working as the Communications Manager for the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub (MCCCRH) following the completion of a graduate internship in 2017.

Site: The MCCCRH or simply, the Hub, is a multi-faculty research hub at Monash University working to build climate literacy in Australia

Duration: 3 months

As an intern at the MCCCRH I was immersed in a dynamic research environment where I contributed to several engagement projects looking at the communication of climate change in Australia.

The first was to conduct a detailed analysis of Australia’s television weather presenter community and document their past engagement with climate related information. It was a fascinating exploration into the landscape of this highly visible, yet entirely disparate community of broadcast meteorologists, journalists and television personalities.

Based on this analysis, I then spent a month engaging with and surveying presenters to discover their individual views on climate change and gauge their interest in presenting climate information in their segments. This proved to be quite a challenge and required me to develop a targeted communication strategy that accounted for differing environmental perspectives and commercial interests. However, by applying theoretical knowledge from my MEMS degree to my professional background in digital engagement, I was subsequently able to elicit many meaningful responses from a range of presenters and publish these in the Hub’s first research publication. As a passionate advocate for climate change, it was promising to find there was keen interest to use their unique positions as apolitical science communicators to further the communication of climate change in Australia.

While each of my five fellow interns and I had individual projects we were assigned to, interning at the Hub was also a truly collaborative environment, underpinned by weekly meetings where we workshopped ideas and provided feedback on each other’s outputs. Despite being relatively new contributors to the team, our input was valued and it was extremely rewarding to see it put into practice in a professional environment.

As an intern the MCCCRH provided a fast-paced, challenging and most importantly, professionally fulfilling environment, which was only further cemented when I was invited to return as the full time Communications Manager – talk about a professional pathway! With the research I conducted as an intern firmly underpinning much of my day to day work, I am currently working on the Victorian pilot of the Television Weather Presenters as Climate Communicators program. We hope to be on Melbournian screens by September 2018, and are already in talks to expand the program to other states in 2019. To think that all those months ago that my internship research would be contributing to what could become a national climate education program is simply mind blowing. As a proud graduate of the WIL program I encourage both undergraduate and postgraduate students to apply for one of our internships and see what exciting possibilities are on offer as we work towards a more climate literate Australia. Who knows, you might just get a job out of it like I did…