Student Profiles - Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience
Laura Mazurkijevic current student
I originally accepted a place at another University after my HSC, and after the first semester I was certain that I had chosen the wrong career path. I decided that my best option was to seek a new degree that combined my love for animals with my need to have a broad range of future career options and found the Animal & Vet Bioscience degree to offer just that and more. The degree offers a hands-on approach to a diverse range of animal based units of study, where both practical skills and valuable contacts are made through the inclusion of the professional development program within the degree. I have thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the degree so far, especially the days spent at Camden for the Animal Reproduction unit which involved many interesting practical components, such as pregnancy diagnosis and laparoscopic insemination of ewes.
At the end of third year I decided to specialise in Animal Genetics for my honours year, and was lucky enough to obtain a job as a trainee hospital scientist at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead within the Cytogenetics department. While completing the remainder of my degree part-time, I work with a team of scientists to study chromosome mutations by employing cell culture techniques and microscope analysis, including fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH). Although my job is not directly related to my degree, I have learnt some very valuable scientific skills which I not only hope to use for my honours project next year, but also my future career, where I am interested in working at CSIRO’s Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong.
I would highly recommend this degree to anyone who is interested in the well-being of animals but does not want to feel boxed in by the limited career options of other degrees.
Lara Batt BscAgr (2004) PhD (2009)
I was quite confident that despite working incredibly hard during my HSC I was not going to get into Veterinary Science. Consequently, I began looking around and finally chose to study animal science. It seemed a perfect alternative. It offered units of study covering animal care, management, welfare ethics, nutrition, reproduction, production and even a behavioural component in one of the subjects. One of the strengths of the degree was its small size. Everyone got on well, especially in the final year at Camden when we lived on campus.
After graduating in 2004, I took a part time job with Dr Kersti Seksel (a very well regarded veterinary animal behaviourist) and started puppy raising for Guide Dogs NSW/ACT. I was not interested in a PhD program at the time, but when offered a scholarship to study the area of my choice, I decided to take up the opportunity and work a little more closely with Guide Dogs by trying to determine which dogs were most likely to succeed in the program. I spent several years collecting data for my project which involved collecting saliva for cortisol assays, temperament and lateralisation testing dogs of different ages, working with puppy raisers in training and socialising the puppies and distributing questionnaires. I also undertook and completed my Delta Canine Good Citizen training certificate aiding in my knowledge of training and behaviour.
At present I am writing articles for journals and will then present my PhD for marking. After that, who knows! I’d love to work in the broader education industry perhaps doing television work teaching kids how to train and behave safely around their pets. I’d also love to encourage responsible pet ownership and promote travelling and greater interaction between people and their pets. I would also love to continue my relationship with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT working with dogs, trainers and puppy raisers.
I am thrilled that I did animal science! It has taken me places I wouldn’t have believed it could and opportunities have presented themselves at every turn. I am very keen to see what the next chapter in my life after animal science will bring.
Lara’s advice to prospective students: Do not go to uni thinking it will be easy. It is a lot more work than any of us had anticipated! First year was stressful; I wish someone had told me that beforehand as I might have been better prepared. As for the fun bits, I have really enjoyed uni and made some great friends. I found the animal units hugely interesting and after I attended a few lectures in animal behaviour I was hooked. Prac classes, field trips and professional development really stand out as being the most fun. I did a lot of work experience with a friend and we had a great time working sheep, harvesting wheat and generally helping out on a farm in Canowindra with a lovely family. I did cattle and sheep work in Armidale and 6 months on-going part-time work with the African division at Taronga Zoo which was great. I worked with the rural division of AON (insurance brokers) and even worked with an olive farmer… You’re only limited by your imagination! Professional Development opens up a whole new world and enables you to experience and trial different career paths across a wide range of industries that perhaps you’d never really considered.
The Animal and Veterinary Bioscience degree offers amazing opportunities for anyone who wants to take them. I can highly recommend it to anyone!
Amanda Guy former student
Amanda was in year 3 of the degree program when she wrote this profile
I didn't want to be a Vet, I was looking for a degree which involved animals, and I was really keen to work with wildlife and Animal Science looked interesting.
At the end of Second Year, I was awarded a CRC Summer Scholarship to study at the Dairy Unit at Camden. The Summer Scholarship Program is a great opportunity to gain work experience (and get paid for it). The award was valued at $3200 ($400/week for 8 weeks) and I worked on a project designed to compare the lactation characteristics of normal mice with a strain with very high fecundity (fertility). It involved caring for and milking mice and analysing the milk samples for proteins using 2-D electrophoresis, and I was able to gain very useful skills in micropipetting, administering injections to mice, and 2D electrophoresis, which has been useful background for studying the Animal Biotechnology unit.
The Third Year program has been really good, and has introduced me to a wide range of areas of study. In Fourth Year I intend to specialise in Animal Production because it's a bit broader than Animal Genetics. I don't really want to work with production animals but most of the principles will be applicable to wildlife, and I may have the opportunity to work with the University's Baboon Colony for my research project.
I am interested in pursuing a career which is related to conservation of endangered species and behavioural studies, particularly with primates. I would love to do field studies, and working in Education Centres in zoos also interests me.
The University has a great reputation and the Animal and Veterinary Bioscience degree has a major practical component which includes professional work experience (professional development program) and a major research project, both of which are valued by prospective employers. Students who are interested in wildlife/zoo animals should be aware that the degree focuses on agriculture and production animals but that much of the study (eg. anatomy, physiology, and reproduction) can also be applied to wildlife.