MEGAN CUSACK - Communications consultant

Megan Cusack portrait








Salary range

AUD$60,000 p.a. plus

My advice for students

High School: make sure you have as much fun as possible! Socialise, experience and enjoy your time at high school. Maximise your opportunities to experience as many extra-curricular activities as you can. I did as much as was humanly possible and still rely upon many of the skills I learnt before I was 18 in my work today.

Undergrads: make sure you have as much fun as possible! Same advice as above plus; now is the time to do everything – all the wild, fanciful dreams of working with elephants, researching political behaviours, performing on stage or writing an article for the local paper. University affords you the opportunity to make a great professional and social contact base, so make one! University also affords you the time to volunteer and work part-time. So join a club, volunteer as a radio presenter or start writing the book you’ve always wanted to publish before you were 25. Every part-time job I worked while I was an undergraduate gave me skills I can use now and skills I can list on my resume in some way.

  • A resume is just a sales document and it is NOT all that you are.
  • Your current job, or jobs that you may apply for, do NOT define all that you are and neither does the salary.”

What I studied

Bachelor of Science 1997
Diploma in Freelance Photography 1998
Diploma in Black and White Photography 1998
Graduate Diploma Scientific Communication (Scholarship) 1999

Career path

Freelance photographer 1998
Tutor - The University of Queensland (UQ)
Member - Shell Questacon Science Circus
Manager - Corporate Development, Centre for the Mind, Australian National University (ANU)
Executive manager - Centre for the Mind, Joint venture ANU and University of Sydney
Communications consultant - present

“Although equally interested in both the arts and sciences, my decision to take a scientific path started with my selection of subjects for Year 11 and 12.”

Coming from the country, Megan moved to Brisbane to start her undergraduate degree in science. From her first holiday trip back home she was questioned by the local community about the value of a science degree. From this came an understanding early on about the need to communicate science and the benefits of its applications to people in the bush and elsewhere.

Accepting a scholarship to do the Graduate Diploma in Scientific Communication involved being a member of the Shell Questacon Science Circus in 1999. This gave Megan the opportunity to present science in a great variety of places to varied audiences, which added to the experience gained with the SunShark Solar Racing Team at the University of Queensland.

Megan’s key career decisions centre on “being open to learning new skills and not defining myself professionally, always keeping busy doing volunteer work to develop my skills, and believing in my ability”.

The following list outlines the range of volunteer work Megan undertook between 1998 and 2001:

  • Public Presenter - Centre for Microscopy & MicroAnalysis, University of Sydney 2001
  • Workshop Presenter - MiniBeasts Australian Science Festival 2000
  • Educational Support and Design Assistant - Biodiversity Exhibition, Sydney Museum 1999
  • Assistant Staff - office of Senator Stott-Despoja, Parliament House, Canberra 1999
  • Administration Assistant - Bayer Solar and Advanced Technology Boat Race, Canberra 1999
  • Touring Exhibitions Design Assistant - Questacon - the National Science and Technology Centre 1999
  • Presenter/Member - Shell Questacon Science Circus 1999
  • Presenter - Spiders Alive! Exhibition, Questacon - the National Science & Technology Centre 1999
  • Presenter - MiniBeasts! Australian Science Festival 1999
  • Guest Presenter - Kimberly School of the Air 1999
  • Guest Lecturer - Australian National University 1999
  • Guest Presenter - Fox Kidz channel Questacon special 1999
  • Actor in filming for NRMA - Questacon Safe Roads Exhibit 1999
  • Publicity Materials Bayer Solar and Advanced Technology Boat Race, Australian Science Festival 1999
  • Guest Lecturer - UQ Biological Society 1998 - 1999
  • Publicity Materials - SunShark Solar Racing Team, UQ 1998
  • Researcher - Solar Technology CSIROSEC Educational Program 1998
  • Presenter - Queensland Guide Dogs for the Blind Association 1998

“My science degree has provided me with a solid platform of research, analysis and communication skills (in addition to the specifics of my field). Time management, work ethics and networking are also part of the equation.”

Megan’s role as a communications consultant involves project management, preparing report submissions (research, budgets) and communication of the work to clients and audiences. “The aspects of my work I enjoy the most is creative freedom in management and contract selection. The job also involves travel which is dictated by each contract and the needs for each event or initiative.”