Catherine Taunani Soreh

Catherine Taunani Soreh

I am a student undertaking Master of Science in Climate Change Programme at the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development at the University of the South Pacific.

Where is your job based?

Laucala Campus, Suva, Fiji.

What does your job involve?

I am enrolled in the Master of Science in Climate Change Programme in which I have to do a research on seaweed bio fertilizers and agricultural crops.  The work involves making my own bio fertilizers from two seaweed species (brown and red alga) and applying these on three selected agricultural crops.

Why did you choose to work in this sector?

This particular research topic was chosen because of the undermentioned scenarios:

  • Seaweeds are abundant, accessible and easily obtained in most Pacific Island communities especially those on the coasts.
  • In the past few years some Pacific Island Countries (PICs) are reporting pest overabundance of seaweeds resulting in coastal pollution and eutrophication.
  • Agriculture is the backbone of most island states. But farmers are heavily reliant of imported chemical fertilizers which are expensive and also contribute to coastal eutrophication and increasing algal blooms on the coral reefs.

On the basis of these situations, the study was taken to try and find a solution that would contain the overabundance of seaweeds, reduce farmers’ dependency on chemical fertilizers, encourage organic food production and reduce pollution of marine coastal ecosystems.

What is the most rewarding part of your current job?

The most rewarding part of my research journey so far, was the successful completion of my field work and data collection.

What has been one of your recent achievements?

As a student, my personal recent achievement was the determination, motivation and endurance to complete the field work despite all the difficulties I encountered along the way.  It was not a smooth ride as I thought it would be in the beginning but by God’s grace the work was done.

What is the most challenging part of your current job?

The most challenging part of my field research was inadequate facilities provided.  For instance at the beginning I had to share the planting space with other students.  It was not working for me because those students were planting crops that attracted pests into the greenhouse.

What do you hope to do in the future?

I am planning on doing more research in the area of seaweed and agriculture, providing community support on how to make seaweed bio fertilizers and empowering rural women to take the lead in organic farming to sustain their livelihoods.

What are some of the benefits of your job?

My qualification: I am currently writing my thesis and hope to graduate with a Master of Science degree in Climate Change.  This would greatly increase my career opportunities in areas related to my qualification.

What training did you have for this job?

I am still undergoing my training at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji which I hope to graduate next year with a Master of Science Degree in Climate Change.

Why is mathematics important in your job?

As a researcher, statistical analysis is important for the results of my research to find out if there is any statistical difference between the different treatments used in the experiment.

How do you use digital technologies in your job?

Digital technologies can be used for data collection, timely dissemination of information to a wider population, training purposes and accessibility to markets.

What career advice would you give to school students interested in a similar career?

I would advise future students to work hard and smart.  Stay focused on your interest.  Be aware whatever career path you take, you will face challenges along the way.  But be strong and determine to succeed.  Perseverance is the key.