From working as a researcher on the world’s largest living reef to tracking turtles in Turkey, the first group of zoology students to graduate from the University of Cumbria are set to make their mark on the world.
Set up three years ago the course has proved popular with the work of lecturers led by charismatic course leader Dr Roy Armstrong praised by their pioneering students.
“It’s one in a million and, without a shadow of a doubt, I would not have this job if it wasn’t for the lecturers,” said zoology graduate Sophie Pipe.
Her work on the Belizean Barrier Reef sees her researching coral and fish populations, as well as monitoring seagrass and mangroves around the island, vital for the health of the marine ecosystem.
Sophie, 21 and from Essex, explained: “They provide food and shelter for a huge variety of species, including the endangered West Indian Antillean Manatee and as it comes into the breeding season, regular searches are conducted.”
Abbie McNally from Carlisle carried out research work on grass snakes and is now swapping Cumbria for Turkey where she’ll be working with turtles.
Another zoology graduate, Tom Walker 23 from Darlington has set up his own charity Making a Difference (MAD) for Wildlife, aimed at inspiring young people to protect and conserve, with the added bonus of offering student places on worldwide projects. Along with colleagues Alex Hesse and Moeez Malik their work is already followed by over five thousand fans on Facebook.
Pictured: Alex Hesse, Tom Walker andf Moeez Malik.
During his studies, Tom conducted pioneering research on the ecological suitability of reintroducing west African forest elephants into The Gambia, where they have been extinct for over a century. As part of the second year of the zoology course, students carry out important research work while on a field trip to West Africa.
Pictured: (L-R) Keiran Turner, Dr Alex Dittrich, Moeez Malik, Laura Parker, Tom Walker, Helen Fleet, Dr Roy Armstrong, Laura Carter, Alex Hesse and Dr Davina Hill.
Tom said: “From day one, Roy Armstrong’s passion and dedication for all wildlife connected with me. He has been an inspiration to everyone on the course.”
He originally had a place to study veterinary medicine at Nottingham, but discovered a week before he was due to start that the University of Cumbria was launching a zoology programme and switched.
“I’m elated for them,” Dr Roy Armstrong said. “Our zoology degree is based on practice so it’s very different from others. All our students are going on to exciting projects around the world – they all have the capacity now to go and make a difference using the skills they’ve gained over the past three years.”
If you have a similar passion and would like to learn more about courses at the University of Cumbria check out https://www.cumbria.ac.uk/
Video: Courtesy of That's Cumbria.