UniSA grant taking Environmental Science student across the seas

Michael Dyer on the Young Endeavour

Michael Dyer

Environmental Science student Michael Dyer has always had a passion for the outdoors and the environment. As the recipient of the 2015 Cowan Young Endeavour Grant he embarked on an adventure that has heightened his interest in the world around him.

After briefly studying Mechanical Engineering, 22-year-old Michael decided it was not the right path for him and switched to a Bachelor of Environmental Science at UniSA. With a keen interest in ecology, ecosystem function, conservation and the role of mathematics in ecology, Michael joined the Biology Society of South Australia as an undergraduate representative in order to further his career in his field of choice.

“Throughout my life there have been three pillars I have been passionate about: mathematics, problem solving and nature; I wanted to study something which incorporated these themes,” Michael says.

In 2015, Michael received the Cowan Young Endeavour Grant and joined a crew of 23 other young Australians to sail on the World Voyage for 40 days across the North Sea - from Southampton to Amsterdam.

“The adventure on the Young Endeavour was the most awe-inspiring and greatest thing I have ever experienced,” says Michael.

“My most memorable moments involve sitting on the yards of the foremast, laughing with friends in the middle of the North Sea.”

While Michael learnt all the ins and outs of tall ship sailing, including maritime history and the rules of travelling by sea, his favourite aspect of the trip was learning about the ship’s navigation.

“I learnt how to read charts and navigate by the stars, RADAR and GPS – I gained a deep respect for those ancient mariners that traversed the seas with only the stars and a sexton – they truly were on the edge of the Earth.

“The voyage was a physical challenge as well as mentally demanding. It has shown me a world I could only have dreamed to be a part of, and allowed me to redefine my love of nature and history.”

After finishing his degree, Michael plans to move into post-graduate studies at honours level.

“I aim to study ecosystem function and plant movements in ecosystems, on a local and international scale, specifically looking at how invasive species move through ecosystems and what plant mosaics can tell us about disturbance or history.

“Through my whole experience studying Environmental Science I have realised that you never know where a single conversation can take you. It has the power to plant a seed of an idea into your mind, and with commitment, dedication and surrounding yourself with like-minded people, that idea can become an extremely powerful tool to shape your life and change the world.

“The Young Endeavour Grant helped me to follow my personal goals and dreams of visiting places and an old era; I was immersed in the old world of sailing and mateship.

“The grant allowed me to make connections for my own future aspirations in environmental science, specifically in telling the story of plant function and movement around the globe,” Michael says.

Learn more about how you can support scholarships, grants and prizes for UniSA students like Michael.

Back to Alumni Update