Sheila currently works in USC International Development and is responsible for the development of international partnerships, for learning and research, focused on conservation. In addition, her work assists international students to come to Australia, through organised study tours, to experience Australia’s environment and culture.
Sheila’s background is in conservation and management, especially in the marine environment. Prior to her current role, she lectured at USC in two areas: environmental communication and courses focused on connecting the environment and society. Today Sheila gives guest lectures into Marine Ecotourism, for visiting international groups, and consults to the Sunshine Coast Regional Council and Fraser Island based organisations on projects and training in environmental (Interpretive) communication.
In 2009 Sheila started developing partnerships between USC and conservation NGOs and other universities that have seen students and staff interact with day to day conservation of iconic species and landscapes in real life settings.
Today continuing partnerships exist in South Africa (Kruger and the Kalahari National Parks), Borneo, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Tonga, Ecuador (Amazon, Galapagos and Paramo) and the USA. This work has allowed students and staff from many disciplines to visit and contribute to conservation.
Sheila is the University’s International Liaison person for the Australian government’s New Colombo Plan Grants and Scholarships and Endeavour Mobility Grants. These grants fund students to travel and study as part of their degree.
Before working at USC, Sheila worked for the Queensland Parks and Wildlife and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Pak Authority based on Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef. Sheila’s PhD reflected her background in conservation with her research into whale-watching tourism and conservation. Following this trend Sheila’s research focuses on people’s interactions with the environment and conservation.