Nora Allan

Studying UQ’s Master of Conservation Biology program proved to be the ideal preparation to help U.S. student Nora Allan help save small endangered animals native to California.

Nora is a Scientific Aide for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, based in the State’s Rancho Cordova office.

“I manage a captive breeding colony of Amargosa voles, as part of the Amargosa Vole Conservation Project, which involves teams at the local, state, and federal levels,” she said.

“The captive animal population serves as an insurance colony and as a source of animals for reintroduction. I manage colony husbandry, train and oversee volunteers, and am involved in multiple research projects investigating the biology and management of the species.

“My connections and experiences from the Masters of Conservation Biology were the main reasons I qualified for the job.

“After finishing my Masters at UQ, I volunteered and later worked for a lecturer that I met through the Conservation Biology program. I assisted his lab with fieldwork, animal handling, and establishing a captive breeding colony of small native marsupials.

“I would not have been able to land this job without the experiences and connections I gained from doing my Masters at UQ.”

What Nora enjoys most is getting a mix of hands-on animal work, management experience, and biological research.

“I get to see the different parts that contribute to an overall conservation effort, and how my actions contribute to its success.”

Nora said completing her Masters at UQ “really opened the door for me”, and she was able to find a job within six months after graduating.

“I first came to UQ in 2011 with the University of California’s study abroad program, and absolutely loved it there.

“After I finished university in California I heard about the Masters of Conservation Biology program, which was about to enter into its first year. The more I learned about it, the more I knew it was the perfect fit for me.

“I wasn’t sure what route I wanted to go with my career, just that I wanted it to be in conservation.

“The program’s mix of fieldwork, policy, industry and community engagement helped me decide which path to pursue, and gave me insight into all of the aspects I deal with in my current job.

“The holistic education provided by the program has been extremely helpful for my career so far.  I chose this program specifically because it wasn’t based on a single research project, like many other Masters programs are.

“I wanted to gain experience in all the different aspects I might come across while working in conservation, and that is exactly what this program gave me. The diverse education the program provided has made me a more practical and effective conservation scientist.”

Nora said the most adventurous experience she has had in her career since university was going to Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory, Australia for five weeks of field work.

“It’s a beautiful island, unlike anywhere I had ever been, and learning how to balance industry relations, community cooperation, and scientific work was an eye-opening look into the real world of conservation.”

What advice would she give people wishing to study the Master of Conservation Biology at UQ?

“My advice would be to prepare for a very intense year of study,” she said.

“The program is demanding, but the hard work you do will serve you well after you’ve graduated.

“The breadth of study and intensive class schedule can be intimidating, but you will learn so many practical skills during your time in the program and come away with lasting connections with other conservation biologists.”

To learn more about the Master of Conservation Biology program, visit our website.

If you’re a prospective international student, and want to study at UQ, you should apply directly to the International Admissions Section of The University of Queensland.

Or you can download the undergraduate or postgraduate study guides on your computer, iphone or tablet.


Master of Conservation Biology - CRICOS Code: 077443C