Palaeontologist Dr Stephen Poropat is living his dream as dinosaurs were a childhood passion.
While studying, Dr Poropat's choices were always influenced by his aspiration to be a palaeontologist. He completed a Bachelor of Arts and Science at Monash; majoring in geography and geology and completing several units of biology. Honours and a doctoral research project with the School of Geosciences followed, where he investigated Foraminifera (microscopic plankton) and ostracods (microscopic crustaceans). The fossils of these aquatic species are commonly used as bioindicators in fossil fuel exploration. Dr Poropat fondly recalls his time as a teaching associate. "Watching students learn, and knowing that you contributed to that process was a good feeling.”
A postdoctorate followed at Uppsala University Sweden, where for six months of the year Dr Poropat did research on Cretaceous sauropod dinosaurs, and for the remainder of the year, educating visitors at an outback Australian museum.
What advice would he give to aspiring palaeontologists? Dr Poropat, now a postdoctoral fellow with Swinburne University of Technology said, “Network and demonstrate your interest by getting involved with local museums and research. Acquire knowledge and read a lot – be curious, observant and meticulous,”
“Engage in as many branches of science as possible. Make the most of your time at university – your lecturers are researchers too, and their knowledge and advice is invaluable.”