Off to Down Under

Brooke Stephens STEM Summer Research Brisbane, Australia


June 4, 2018

I currently have a little under three hours left of my flight to Brisbane, Australia and all of this still doesn’t seem real. Well, actually one thing does: how long this flight is! First, I flew from Cincinnati to LA and that was about 5 hours. Now, from LA to Brisbane it is about 15 hours! But I can’t really complain because I slept almost 7 hours during this flight, and I packed some great snacks so I didn’t get too hungry. That peanut butter and jelly sandwich saved me when the airplane food just wasn’t too appetizing to me. Oh, and did I mention that I also got a whole row of seats to myself! I sprawled out and slept like a baby. It was great.

Right now I have a lot of mixed emotions. I’m beyond excited to be going to Australia because I have never been there before in my life. But there are still a lot of unknowns about this trip, which makes me anxious. I don’t know who my roommates will be or if I will have my own apartment. I’m not sure what orientation is going to entail. I have no clue what my daily schedule will look like in Brisbane. But I know that everything is going to work out. I’m landing around 5:30 am and my group meets at the airport at 9:30 am to be transported to our apartment building. That’s really all of the information that I have at the moment!

I met up with three other people from Ohio State going on this study abroad trip right before spring classes ended. Even though I didn’t know them prior to meeting to chat about the trip, it will be nice to see some familiar faces in this foreign place. Also, before I left I reached out to the person in charge of my research through Skype. But before I go into that, I should probably let you know what the focus of my research is! I’m working with Dr. Susan Rowland on a project titled, “Tell me a story: your biggest learning experience around communicating science in the workplace.” You’re probably thinking that it is an interesting choice for an engineering major. But I really wanted to get involved in research that is different than anything that I have ever done. Because of the qualitative nature of this project, I will focus on analyzing people’s stories when I interview them. The information that we get out of this study will go onto a website for STEM majors at the University of Queensland in order for them to improve their communication skills. The ability to communicate effectively is essentially as important as the research itself.

This is about to be such an incredible experience, and I’m so glad that I can share all of it with you! Talk to you in Australia! I’m going to try to catch some z’s before I land.


Australia STEM Summer