Simon Keirle: BSc Zoology (2010)
Veterinary Medicine Student, Royal Veterinary College (RVC)
"My degree was used directly as a stepping stone to obtain a place at Royal Veterinary College to study veterinary medicine. My 3 years of experience in the laboratory as well as the time spent studying ethology and other subjects gave me an advantage over many applicants who had focussed their studies on one biological discipline. I am still using my notes and techniques I learnt during my zoology degree to help me in vet school.
I went to Zimbabwe in 2009 to volunteer as part of a programme that was advertised to me through my university course. I went out to Africa to work on a Safari Game Reserve that had a specialised Black Rhino Breeding programme. Being able to work so closely with some of the world's rarest animals was utterly fantastic.
Besides this, I played rugby and started doing stand up comedy in Leeds' 'Tickled Pig' student comedy competition where I was a finalist.
My time at Leeds went by too quickly. I loved every minute I spent there and made countless, wonderful friends. Having such a lovely city centre with great shops and nightlife is a huge bonus to go with the fantastic University."
Sarah Proctor: BSc Zoology (2007)
Assistant Ecological Consultant at Andrew McCarthy Associates (AMA)
“I’m working as an Assistant Ecological Consultant, its fantastic! Nothing can beat working on your first building demolition and finding a bat snuggled up in the last place you could ever think of - knowing that the poor thing could have been squashed if you hadn’t just checked that little nook or crevice.
At AMA we are encouraged to take part in a number of interesting training courses and I was given the chance to attend a bat conference. I intend to continue working at Andrew McCarthy’s for the present and gain my bat licence within the next few months. I will hopefully return to the University of Leeds in the not so distant future to do a PhD.
For as long as I could remember I had always wanted to head off to university and then go into conservation, I loved my time at Leeds. It was my dissertation and volunteer work I did for Prof. Altringham and his PhD students that was the main reason I got my job here. Without these key experiences I would have just been another name in the pile.
If I was to give a word of advice to prospective undergraduates it would be to do as much volunteer as possible. Whilst I was at university I spent every summer break volunteering in some way. Your lecturers can help you find a placement or there is always research that you can get involved in. You could also become a member of University wildlife groups. Your local bat group or mammal societies always have field work on the go and it’s another place to gain valuable experience.”
Valeria Fabbri-Kennedy: BSc Zoology (2005)
Researcher at the BBC Natural History Unit (NHU)
"The Faculty of Biological Sciences is great and everyone is approachable and friendly. There are some great tutors who really know their subjects, the labs are well equipped, the museum is a good resource which is easy to utilise and the Faculty is well respected for the quality of teaching. I would always recommend the Biology programme at the University of Leeds. I had a great three years and it allowed me to successfully change my career into one which I absolutely love and will hopefully do for the rest of my life!
I had various highlights at Leeds. Many of the field courses I did were incredibly rewarding and inspiring, especially the ones in my second year. The week at Dale Fort Field Centre was amazing and great fun, as we donned our fins, masks and snorkels and went searching for sea urchins in the cold Welsh sea! One particular moment that really sticks out is when I was at Malham Tarn. In preparation for my dissertation, I helped the University of Leeds bat team catch emerging bats. One night I got to hold, weigh and measure a heavily pregnant adult female. It was a very special, rare and moving moment and it has stayed with me ever since.
I wanted to get into wildlife programme making and soon after graduating, I started work as a researcher for Two Hand Productions in London on a programme called Michaela's Wild Challenge. It involved finding animal stories and the scientists working with them, and then organising filming shoots to places like Namibia, South Africa, Costa Rica, and New Zealand.
I then got my dream job working at the BBC Natural History Unit in Bristol, making wildlife films for television. My first job in the unit was in 2006 on Springwatch. Since then I have worked on an award-winning children's series called Extreme Animals, Autumnwatch and have researched and filmed a huge variety of wildlife stories all over the UK for short films for The ONE Show. This has taken me from the Outer Hebrides to Lands End and I have got to see some great wildlife!
My current position is Researcher. My role is quite varied; it involves researching a huge variety of stories and species to film, identifying suitable locations and contributors, attending regular meetings with the executive producer and commissioning editor to give updates and talk through and agree stories, working out the shoot logistics and performing all usual researcher duties while on location. I am also often responsible for filming wildlife footage with the wildlife cameraman and overseeing the occasional commentary record, attending viewings and working with the editor during edits and liaising closely with the production manager and production co-ordinator to keep on top of presenter availability, scheduling of shoots and post production requirements. Recently I have researched, scripted and directed/produced three of my own films (Seahorses, Wood Ants and Grey Seals) and have shot extra footage myself on the coast in Pembrokeshire during the summer.
My Zoology degree definitely helped me because the NHU took my love and knowledge of wildlife seriously and they could see that I had also obtained many of the right skills needed for the job."
Amy Wade: MSc Biodiversity & Conservation (2005); BSc Zoology (2004)
Phd student in Environmental Agriculture, University of Reading
"I did both BSc Zoology and an MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation at Leeds. After graduating I went on to spend five months tracking birds in Australia and four months tracking birds in Scotland. I am now studying for a PHD in Environmental Agriculture at the University of Reading, which so far has involved five months in Ghana, West Africa. From here I hope to follow the academic route and become an academic at the University or alternatively I would really like to start a career as a researcher for an NGO such as Greenpeace.
Having spoken to those who were responsible for selecting me for my PhD, I know that without my degree I certainly wouldn’t be here now! I found the MSc at Leeds an incredibly valuable foundation to a career in research science. Leeds has an excellent biology department especially in areas which I have a particular interest such as ecology. Academic staff that I encountered at Leeds were enthusiastic and at the cutting edge of their fields."
Rebecca Klein: BSc Zoology (1995)
Cheetah Conservation Botswana
Cheetah Conservation Botswana, led by Rebecca Klein (Zoology 1995), works to reverse the alarming fall in numbers of the fastest land mammal on the planet. Botswana has one of the last free-ranging cheetah populations in the world, making it an essential stronghold for the future of the species. Unable to compete with healthy populations of more powerful predators in reserves, Botswana’s cheetahs are forced to live closer to villages where human/predator conflict jeopardises their survival.
When Rebecca discovered that Botswana’s cheetahs needed more protection, she started to investigate ways for farmers and cheetahs to co-exist. Through scientific research, outreach projects and education, the charity, of which Rebecca is managing director, works with rural communities to stop hunting and to create safe reserves for the cheetah to survive.
Find out more about the Zoology degree.