By Kelsey Keener
Iron County Today
CEDAR CITY–SUU student Anthony Braun is taking his education into his own hands by planning and managing a project that will contribute to conservation efforts in Australia.
Operation Kangaroo Jack is Braun’s Capstone Project for SUU, as well as his fifth international project. After graduating with a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in 2018, he plans to become a project manager. OKJ will also help him finish the 4,500 hours required to get the Project Management Professional certification. Braun also plans to commission as an officer in the US Army in the spring.
“What I see for myself, five years from now, is managing big projects,” he said. “I hope to take all of this experience and knowledge on to the military and a civilian career, where I’m managing big projects and interacting with tons of networks of people.”
A key focus of this project is assessing the Project Management Body of Knowledge guide.
“Basically, I’m assessing project management,” Braun said. “To do that I’m doing a series of projects through the school [SUU] and my biggest portion of the projects is in Australia. I’m learning all of the phases of project management – what takes place when you initiate a project, the planning, executing, monitoring and controlling a project and then how you close it out.”
Braun has taught English and done construction projects in other countries, so in order to try something new he decided to make conservation another focus of OKJ.
“We need to focus a little bit more on conservation and maintaining this environment that we’re in,” he said. “This is sort of my test-the-waters-internationally project to see if it’s something that I can do here after I graduate, and get into project managing with companies that are focusing on environmentalism, conservation and the big aspects of life.”
After completing the planning and organizing of the project, Braun will travel to Australia for three weeks to see it through. The project will entail several hands-on undertakings, including restoring natural habitat, creating trails and self-sustaining aquaponics systems and planting trees.
Braun’s biggest goal for the project is to be able to use what he learns from this project to make an impact in America by sharing his experience.
“I want to make it meaningful for the partnerships I have there, for myself and for the people back home,” he said. “My intent is to bring this information back and share this information with the local schools, and hopefully broaden the minds of some people. As Americans, we tend to be ethnocentric … so I want to share a perspective of ‘hey this is what I’ve done in Australia and here’s what possible in the world.’”
Braun plans to raise $4,000 to cover travel costs and program fees by selling t-shirts, reaching out to community members and local businesses for sponsorship and potentially setting up a booth at different locations to raise awareness for his project.
Anyone interested in learning more about Operation Kangaroo Jack can find more information on Braun’s website: http://opkj.weebly.com.