YP News – August 2020

August 6, 2020 | Young Professionals

Chair Report – Roshni Sharma

All of us across Australia are still experiencing the impact of COVID-19 and how it's changing the way we work, collaborate and innovate. While some of us are able to get back to the office, those in places like Victoria are still working from home. We're all facing various levels of impact, and also juggling the various impacts on mental health and wellbeing that COVID-19 has been having on the world. Amongst all of this, our industry is continuing to move forward, embracing the opportunities that automation, machine learning and remote work can offer us. We hope that you, as our community of young professionals, are keeping safe and well. 

Within the SSSI Young Professionals Committee, we're pleased to have been working on our 'Career Lift: Tools for Emerging Leaders' webinar series, which has a series of exciting events coming in the next few months. See below for more details! 

MEMBER HighlightS


Navigating the Challenges and Opportunities of Science at Sea in Uncertain Times

One of our very own SSSI National Young Professionals Committee members Nelson Kuna is currently onboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute RV Falkor providing science support for a series of seafloor mapping and ROV surveys in the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef Marine Parks. Nelson is a Hydrographic and Marine Geophysical Surveyor from CSIRO’s Geophysical Survey and Mapping (GSM) team and usually works onboard the Marine National Facility RV Investigator

Nelson Kuna in front of ROV SuBastian onboard Schmidt Ocean Institute RV Falkor. Photo taken by Dean Miller from Great Barrier Reef Legacy courtesy of Schmidt Ocean Institute.

The opportunity arose from a sequence of unpredictable events and unprecedented circumstances due to COVID-19 effecting the way we all live and work. 

After returning from an 8-week voyage in the Southern Indian Ocean to study the rifting and breakup of William’s Ridge on the Kerguelen Plateau and Broken Ridge some 2700km to the north RV Investigator came alongside in the Port of Fremantle. The voyage would also provide invaluable data for Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone claim under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).


In the next berth over was another research vessel, Schmidt Ocean Institute’s RV Falkor who had just completed a scientific cruise mapping and investigating the Ningaloo Canyons.


Nelson left RV Investigator and departed WA to return to Brisbane and begin his relocation to Hobart, TAS, as a requirement of his role with CSIRO’s GSM team; however, the situation with COVID-19 rapidly developed and soon put an indefinite delay on those plans. Both the RV Investigator and RV Falkor’s expeditions were also significantly disrupted, as were those of the entire world.

Investigator returned to her home port of Hobart to conduct maintenance testing and trials. Falkor sailed to QLD to undertake opportunistic science with the science party onshore remotely overseeing the cruises.



As is often the way with science at sea, challenge and opportunity were inextricably linked. With travel challenges related to COVID-19 restrictions, SOI contacted CSIRO’s GSM Team who just happened to have a member in QLD.

With so many common goals between SOI and CSIRO it became clear there were numerous benefits to both parties and the broader scientific community to collaborate and have Nelson join the RV Falkor in Cairns to assist the onboard marine technicians with the upcoming voyage mapping and investigating the seamounts, canyons and reefs of the coral sea.


Nelson has found the experience to work and live on another research vessel invaluable and hopes that it will be the beginning of a strengthened relationship between the two organisations with further collaboration in the future. In particular he has enjoyed seeing the differences and similarities between operations and life onboard both vessels, making new connections and friendship’s, gaining exposure to different aspects of marine science such as the live streamed dives with SOI’s ROV SuBastian and assisting with numerous collaborating organisations including Geoscience Australia, James Cook University, Sydney University and JAMSTEC (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology).

You can find out more about Schmidt Ocean Institute and CSIRO’s MNF via the following web pages and watch livestreamed and previously recorded ROV SuBastian dives via SOI’s Facebook and YouTube channels.

https://schmidtocean.org/ Schmidt Ocean Institute

https://mnf.csiro.au/ CSIRO’s Marine National Facility

https://www.facebook.com/SchmidtOcean/ SOI Facebook

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1m5LdKP0m64n8nY3NhK6Zg SOI YouTube

Events Coming Up

We are thrilled to continue our monthly webinar series that empowers students, young professionals and emerging leaders of all ages to tap into their potential and find career fulfilment. 

Don't forget - webinars are now free for SSSI members!  And if you can't make the time below, just register and you will receive a link to the recording after the event.

Making your career work for you: Further education and entrepreneurship

Friday 28 August | 4.00pm | More information and registration here

As we progress through our careers, it's natural to take some unexpected directions or to realise we want to learn more in a particular area to help us go further. Join us in this episode of the Career Lift: Tools for Emerging Leaders series as we explore how to make your career work for you though delving into two interrelated topics that are handy when facing a decision point: entrepreneurship for a side business or a whole new direction for your career, and further education and the benefits it can bring through mid-career. We'll hear from Tim Neale, Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019, and David Monti, manager of People and Culture for Transport for NSW, as they share their experiences, advice and tips and tricks. 

Millennial's at work: Bring your career to life with soft skills

Friday 25 September | 4.30pm | More information and registration here

It's no secret that soft skills are the next thing that will influence career success as we move into new ways of working that both automation, AI/ML and digital twins bring, as well as the changes brought about by COVID. In this episode of the Career Lift: Tools for Emerging Leaders series, the SSSI Young Professionals bring you a range of insights about which soft skills can help you where you are now, decide where you want to be in 5 years time, and get there in the best way possible.  

Cultural shifts needed in the industry: Where do YPs fit?

Friday 30 October | 4.30pm | More information and registration here

The Australian Geospatial Industry is a complex and rapidly-evolving space, particularly at the moment. As we shift into new ways of working, adopt new technologies and interface more and more with other industries, what cultural shifts are needed in the industry for success? Do we need to change the way we market ourselves? Do we need to change the way we adopt new ideas? Do we need to use more unifying language to break down silos? Join us in this jam-packed webinar, featuring a panel with some of the high-hitters in the industry, to discuss these and more!


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