Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Chronology from the Depths

By Stephen Luntz

Aimee Komugabe has abandoned a career in finance to examine deep water corals for evidence of climate change 4000 years ago.

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Aimee Komugabe couldn’t decide whether she wanted to work in biotechnology or banking. She evaded that unusual choice by doing a PhD in which she dated climate shifts to help us understand the future for Australia and the South Pacific.

Komugabe was born in New Zealand but grew up in Uganda. Her father is a biochemist, so she says she “never thought twice about science” as a career. Although she had planned to return to her country of birth for university she ended up at the University of Technology, Sydney studying both biotechnology and banking and finance. “I liked studying finance particularly after the Global Financial Crisis because I wanted to understand it. I worked at the Commonwealth Bank, but then I realised I liked studying banking but not actually doing it,” she says.

With a year to go in her undergraduate degrees, Komugabe saw an advertisement for a placement in marine science at the Australian National University. “I’d always loved the ocean, but never thought of it as a career,” she says. “I knew I wasn’t going to get it because I had no background. I didn’t even really know what coral was, but I applied anyway.” The ANU was able to see Komugabe’s talent and took her despite her lack of relevant studies.

Komugabe came to the inland capital to study the ocean for 2 months, and stayed first for Honours and now her doctorate. “I liked how...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.