“I feel like I make a positive difference. You know there might be a water quality issue there and myself and my team work to resolve that issue; so, we actually do impact everyone who uses the beach.”
Jess Brooks is a Healthy Water Specialist in the Storm Water Department at Auckland Council, working to locate and mitigate sources of contamination that pollute Auckland’s beaches. She attended three schools within our Pupuke Kāhui Ako community: Forrest Hill Primary, Wairau Intermediate and Westlake Girls’ High School, graduating from the latter in 2014.
Over the course of our interview, Jess reflects on many of the aspects that she loves about her current role, highlighting that her work provides her with a tangible sense that she meaningfully and positively contributes to the quality of life in our city.
This was not the immediate plan upon leaving Westlake, however. After studying Nursing for a year at Auckland University, Jess made the bold switch to Massey to study for a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Management, which she completed in 2018.
While studying to complete her degree, she was also working at Auckland Council in the Storm Water Department as part of their internship program. Jess reflects that by working and studying concurrently – although it was busy and challenging and she needed to manage her time very efficiently – she benefited enormously from the cross-pollination that occurred between the two environments.
Finally, Jess reflects on some of the ways she likes to maintain balance and well-being in her life, including rising and working early in order to maximise her afternoons, bouldering at Northern Rocks and spending quality time on our pristine North Shore beaches with her golden retriever.