Marine Biologist ~ Shari Kempshall

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Heya, I’m Shari! I’m a marine and wildlife biologist and love everything to do with the ocean. Im from the Gold Coast and am studying a master of environment majoring in climate change adaption. I hope that I can make some positive changes to the little planet we call home. I love being around the people that mean the most to me, my family, boyfriend and my friends.

What are 3 things you're passionate about and why?

As you probably could have guessed I would say the ocean, our environmental impacts on the planet and educating people from all walks of life about these. I think that the ocean is bloody incredible! There’s so many weird and wonderful animals, and without it we wouldn’t have the world we see today. I’ve been lucky enough to work as a marine biologist on the Great Barrier Reef over the last 2 years, and although there were a lot of incredible moments, I unfortunately got to see the impact that humans are having on the reef with witnessing the most recent coral bleaching event at the beginning of 2020. It was absolutely heartbreaking seeing some of my favourite corals that I visited daily turn completely white, but we were lucky that most of them did survive. I think that many people don’t completely understand the major positive impacts that simple everyday changes can make on the environment in the long run. I believe that educating people about how they can make a difference is key in ensuring a bright future for our environment, and also learning can be fun! I’m the queen of fun facts and will tell them to anyone and everyone who will listen!

What is the most powerful quality someone can have?

As cheesy as it sounds I think kindness is so powerful. With so many crazy things going on in the world, you have no idea what other people are going through and it’s easy to be kind. I think a lot of people forget how important being kind to one another can be, whether it’s strangers on the street or your friends and family, a little bit of kindness goes a long way. Plus, random acts of kindness give me the warm and fuzzies!

A challenge you have overcome & how did you do it?

I have battled with PTSD and anxiety over the past year and I can happily say I’m in a pretty solid place right now through acknowledging what my body and mind needs, and going to therapy. I think mental health used to be something that was extremely taboo to talk about, however there are so many incredible people breaking down those barriers and making everyone feel more comfortable about talking about it. I was extremely lucky in that I had amazing support around me, and I always was comfortable in talking about my experiences and how I was feeling. Feeling in control is extremely liberating and I’m thankful for those who helped me get to where I am today. I also think it’s important to normalise seeking professional help. Initiatives like r u okay day etc can be great but I think there is still a massive stigma about going to a psychologist and seeking help. It’s honestly been the best thing I possibly could have done and I think absolutely everyone could benefit from going.

What has been your proudest moment so far?

I’m pretty proud of the work I have done. I know I have inspired people to want to protect the reef and the planet by teaching them about it and showing them the beauty that is our natural world. But I think my one of my proudest moments would have to be when my family came to visit me on the little island I called home on the Great Barrier Reef, and we were talking about our favourite parts of the holiday and my dad said it was seeing me working and doing what I love. MY HEART

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by the amazing people around me. They inspire me to be a better person, to create, to kick goals and always have fun.

Tell us something that brought a smile to your face this week

I’ve recently moved back to the Gold Coast after living away for about 3 years. Being settled into my new little home in the treetops with our teeny tiny ocean view make some smile every day. My little 4 year old niece came over this week for her first big sleepover and we had the best time. I’m thankful to be home and with the people I love after the crazy year that was 2020!