Conservation Masters Student
I grew up on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Queensland and have been obsessed with animals for as long as I can remember. Although we had many beautiful birds, reptiles and amphibians it was always the mammals that I would watch with the most fascination. Kangaroos, echidnas (ok their a monotreme), wallabies, phascogales, and antechinus were all familiar animals where I lived and I would spend hours watching them, drawing them, and making up stories about them. Looking back I can see the signs of a crazy biologist were there very early.
After I finished high school I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study at university, so I took a gap year. I headed off on a five -month volunteering stint as an English teacher in India to see if that was a possible career path. It was an incredible experience to have and as much as I loved the school I stayed at, by the end I realised that becoming a school teacher was not for me. When I returned to Australia to begin my university education I enrolled in a dual degree, Bachelor of Science(Zoology)/Arts (Journalism and Mass Communication), combining my love of biology and writing. During one of my summer breaks I fulfilled a life-long dream to travel to Africa. I volunteered at a run-down game reserve, doing habitat assessments and species diversity estimates to help establish the animal carrying-capacity of the area. This experience solidified not only my love for Africa but my passion to pursue conservation as my career.
I came back to UQ and began a Master of Conservation Science. This course increased my knowledge on a lot of the conservation issues occurring throughout Australia, and I found my particular area of interest was in finding solutions to prevent the rapid decline of Australia’s small mammal species. I just couldn’t imagine losing those animals of my childhood forever. As part of my Master’s we did a six-month research project, and this was where I stumbled upon the Wilson lab quite unexpectedly. As soon as I heard the words “quoll” “survival” and “fieldwork” I knew I’d found the right project. So I was lucky enough to travel up to Groote Eylandt and complete my Master’s thesis looking at how performance and morphology effect survival of Northern quolls (Dasyurus hallucatus). The Wilson Lab was such a positive experience I am considering returning to do a PhD in the future.