A-Z Index

News Feature

Aug. 8, 2023

Marine biology student enhances education, cultural exploration during year-long study abroad experience in Australia

Northwest Missouri State University student Adele Shade took her study of marine biology to coastal waters during the past year and enriched her learning abroad in Australia.

In support of her study abroad experience, Shade received Northwest’s Honors Program Study Abroad Scholarship, a $2,000 award that she applied during the spring semester to her expenses related to the study abroad program. Amounts of the scholarships, which are awarded once during the academic year, vary and can be used for any part of a study abroad experience.

“The Honors Program is focused on preparing students for a changing world and to be active participants in our increasingly global community,” Dr. Elyssa Ford, the director of Northwest’s Honors Program and an associate professor of history, said. “There is no better way than a study abroad experience to prepare Northwest Honors students, such as Adele, to take on this role.”

Northwest student Adele Shade spent the past year studying marine biology in Australia as the recipient of the University's Honors Program Study Abroad Scholarship. (Submitted photo)

Northwest student Adele Shade spent the past year studying marine biology in Australia as the recipient of the University's Honors Program Study Abroad Scholarship. (Submitted photo)

Shade, a senior marine biology major, headed to Australia in July 2022 and spent the last year completing coursework at James Cook University, a leading research university in the city of Townsville in North Queensland.

The tropical region offers abundant biodiversity and proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system. With easy access to that marine life, Shade has taken advantage of bountiful profession-based learning experiences and opportunities to assist with graduate-level research.

“It’s really cool to be in a place where all this research is currently happening, and so much of what we know was discovered by people that are teaching me,” Shade said as she completed her program this summer.

Shade said she enrolled at Northwest because she was attracted to its marine biology program, and it was the most affordable option for her to pursue her higher education goals. At Northwest, she enjoyed being involved with the Marine Biology Club and the Animal Advocacy Club.

At the same time, travel and experiencing other cultures have played a key role in Shade’s life. Though she’s a native of the Kansas City area, she also spent significant time living in Singapore and Hong Kong as well as California.

She always knew she wanted to enhance her education through a study abroad program, and Australia was a natural choice to study marine biology and wildlife ecology.

“Australia has so many endemic species that you can’t find anywhere else,” she said. “It’s a really good place to study both marine biology and zoology.”

She also thoroughly enjoyed integrating with the Australian culture and building connections while taking advantage of opportunities to visit other cities on the continent, including the capital cities of Adelaide and Sydney and the Gold Coast.

“I love Sydney so much,” she said. “It’s such a beautiful, amazing and really cool city.”

Shade is returning to Northwest this fall and plans to complete her bachelor’s degree at Northwest next spring. As for what comes after that, she is considering graduate school and, ultimately, hopes to have a career in wildlife management, perhaps in a zoo or national park setting.  


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215