Zoologish Profile: Carla

Carla started a degree in Zoology but discovered broader interests through university and graduated with a Masters in Biology. She has worked in scientific publishing and is soon to start a PhD with the Natural History Museum.

1. What’s your educational background?

I’m an MSci Biology graduate from the University of Bristol.

2. Why did you decide to study Zoology?

Ever since I was a child I’ve always been interested in working with animals. It’s hard to pinpoint when I decided to study biology, it just seemed like the obvious choice when I was choosing what degree to apply for. Although I started off as a zoologist, my direction changed a bit since I started university. Academia is so unpredictable, and you often end up researching things you never expected to be interested in. Which is how, ultimately, in my final year of university I ended up straying away from zoology and studying algae!

3. Do you have any other relevant qualifications?

Aside from my degree, I don’t have many other qualifications related to zoology. I’m a PADI Rescue Diver (soon to be Divemaster) which is helpful for anything marine biology related!

4. What work/volunteer experience have you had?

During my second year of university I got the chance to do some work experience in the University of Bristol Bionanoscience Lab studying electroreception in insects. It was a very hands-on project and gave me my first experience of handling insects for behavioural experiments.
In the summer after my final year of university I spent a month in the Pyrenees mountains in Spain working as a research assistant for the Institute of Science and Technology, Austria. The project I worked for studied a large hybrid zone of snapdragon flowers (Antirrhinum Majus) and involved a lot of climbing and abseiling to collect flower samples.

Pink-white Antirrhinum Majus snapdragon hybrid photographed in Planoles, Spain

5. What are you up to right now?

Right now I’m in Indonesia (on the beautiful Island of Gili Trawangan) completing a PADI Divemaster Internship. It’s pretty much a dream and I get to dive every day surrounded by sharks and turtles. I’ll be back in the UK in a few months to start a PhD at the Natural History Museum in London and the University of Bristol on polar cyanobacteria.

Divemasters hard at work

6. Would you consider further study?

Definitely! I’d say my aim in life is to remain a student forever. I’ve got another 4 years of being a student for now, and hopefully a postgrad job afterwards.

7. What’s the dream job?

The dream job is definitely to become an old school Captain Scott type polar explorer! However, in the real word I’d just like to continue my research and see where it takes me.

8. Do you have any advice for anyone studying or considering studying Zoology?

If you’re passionate about zoology give it a shot! Don’t let rejections from jobs, funding or even volunteer work get you down as it’s normal and we’ve all been through it!


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