Rose Love: research assistant (trainee), School of Biological Sciences


I am 25 and from the Dunghutti (Kempsey) and Garuagal (Maitland) people. For as long as I can remember I have loved animals. I’ve had pets all my life, dogs, rabbits, fish and lizards. My dream has been to work closely with animals and over the years I have been working different jobs, slowly working my way up to my main goal of specialising in animal behaviour.

I’ve worked hard to pursue my dreams and made the most of every opportunity I was given. When I left school I started a government work program called green corps and gained a Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management. It led to my first office job with Forster Local Aboriginal Land Council. I worked there for over four years.

I was then lucky enough to be offered the opportunity to study at Taronga Zoo where I was able to do a Certificate II in Animal Studies. For an animal lover, it was the best experience I could have hoped for. I was able to work with so many different animals, like anacondas and meerkats.

When I finished my certificate, I worked in retail for a little while but I was always looking for opportunities to work with animals again. I came across a role at the University of Sydney that I thought I would be perfect for, it was an administration traineeship at Learning Solutions. I applied for the job not expecting to get a call back, but I knew it would be a foot in the door at a university and hopefully one step closer to working with animals.

I got the job! Since starting at the University I have had enormous support for my career development and they’ve given me opportunities to help me pursue my dreams. Opportunities like working at the University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital as an animal hand one day a week.

While I enjoyed being an animal hand doing duties like walking animals, cleaning cages and feeding, I wanted to be more involved with looking after the physical wellbeing of animals and learning more about their behaviour and training. I started to make enquiries and connections in the School of Biological Sciences.

Professor Ash Ward invited me to attend his lectures about marine animal behaviour. The more lectures I went to the more I wanted to learn. Ash spoke to me about what I’d like to work on in animal behaviour. He gave me an amazing opportunity to work with him as a research assistant. Something I never would have imagined I would be doing so early in my career. He is genuinely interested in helping me pursue my career goals, I can’t wait to see where this opportunity will take me.

What I want in the future is to be working closely with animals, researching their behaviours. I am particularly interested in animal reproduction and animal interaction with humans.