Blog - University of Melbourne | A different kind of university experience: meet Burnley Post Grad Group
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A different kind of university experience: meet Burnley Post Grad Group

A different kind of university experience: meet Burnley Post Grad Group

The Burnley Post Grad Group is a small group consisting of University of Melbourne RHD students that are based at this campus.  We have a cohort of about 50 students, most of whom are PhD students.  We have members from every continent on earth (except Antarctica)!

We are mainly from the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences in the Faculty of Science although we also enjoy the company of soil science students from Agriculture and Veterinary Science.

One of the great joys of working at Burnley with this student and staff body, is that we are all working on applied science that can have a real impact on both our urban and rural environments; whether that be improved tree growth in cities, how to achieve more efficient use of fertilisers, working on ways to restore urban stream health or understanding how forest regenerate after bush-fires.

Because we are a small group away from the main Parkville campus I think that we have quite a collegiate atmosphere: we work together and help out our fellow students in the field or nursery.  We are outside quite a lot conducting experiments in the nurseries, or out in the field whether that is in the forests, rivers and parks of Australia.

To me I think that one of the most important aspects of conducting RHD research at Burnley is the relationship we have with our supervisors.  I think that the relationship is more partnership rather than teacher-student. It is empowering to be considered an equal in the learning progress.

Obviously we enjoy working within the beautiful gardens of Burnley!

We recently used one of our contacts in the Yarra Valley wine industry to hold a wine tasting.  We had a wine maker from Giant Steps come out to Burnley and lead us through their wines.  A soil expert explained about the particular soils at each vineyard and how that might effect the taste of each wine.  We had a very large turnout.  It was informative, fun and social.

Our group focuses on the social and academic life of our members.  We hold diverse events such as writing weekends and wine tastings.  Because we have such a diverse mix of nationalities we try to mix things up a bit as well as provide Australian experiences.

Everyone at Burnley gets involved in the group and helps out as needed.  I became president either because I’m the oldest or was the slowest to say no. New students just come along to our monthly meetings and are introduced.  Everyone gets an equal chance to have their input into whatever it is we are doing or planning.

Peter Somerville

Peter is President of the Burnley Post Grad Group

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