An Advocate for Environmental Stewardship - Elissa Sursara

Bsc ‘10

"I love wildlife and believe the preservation of the environment is paramount to developing and maintaining a healthy human population".

Elissa Sursara is a naturalist and environmentalist who believes that the environment and equality are deeply connected. Her work has one end-goal: to help the environment.  She has contributed to Animal Planet, Newswatch at National Geographic, and the Huffington Post as a writer and presenter, and plans to pursue a PhD in the near future.

Elissa remembers the pride she felt when visiting the Research School of Biology (RSB) at the ANU for the first time and seeing an Australian institution with such incredible resources behind it.

While studying at the RSB she learned how science, medicine and the environment intermingle, and could work together to solve global issues. The RSB also inspired Elissa's interest in plant sciences by furthering her awareness of the importance of plant biology to the global environment. Elissa's passion for the natural environment was matched by the academic environment at ANU:

"ANU boasts an incredible support network and the resources to learn are endless. There's so much passion at ANU, and I think that has a lot to do with success".

Canberra's cold climate also provided an unexpected benefit for Elissa as it helped acclimatise her for two summers spent in Antarctica. She campaigned against whaling in Australia's Antarctic waters and worked in partnership with a marine organization to study whales and other marine species. Elissa says:

"Leaving home to venture into the depths of the most southern continent took a lot of bravery and independence."

Elissa still frequently reads the ANU website to catch up on campus news and stay in the loop with the RSB. Elissa observes that "you never really leave the family". Elissa's advice to current and future students at ANU is:

"Study something you're truly passionate about and you'll spend your time at university enjoying the content and the challenges. Take inventory on your course load early and plan your semesters accordingly. Be prepared and organized, but have a little fun too! "

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