Study Sunshine Coast 2019 Student Ambassador, Lauren Zeglio is one of those fortunate people who has had a clear vocational direction since she was a little girl. Her keen interest in wildlife is now being pursued in a Bachelor of Animal Ecology at the University of Sunshine Coast (USC).
“My Dad tells me that my passion has not waivered – I have been fascinated by animals ever since I could talk!” says Lauren.
“I actually started at USC when I was still at school as part of the Headstart Program. I feel very fortunate that things have fallen into place and that I have had the opportunity to take up this course.”
Lauren is one of a group of students enrolled at USC who commute from Brisbane to study. She says it works well and that she shares the driving with a friend who is also at University here, whilst still living at home in the city. USC is located at the southern end of the Sunshine Coast and is only 60 minutes from Brisbane.
“I love the spacious environment at USC,” says Lauren. “It is big but small. It’s not daunting like some of the other massive universities where you can get lost. It’s a really nice community where everyone is friendly and it’s easy to get to know other students and the lecturers.”
Animal Ecology is a new course offered by the University and Lauren loves the fact that there is a lot of opportunity to get field experience. Her first semester involved three practical excursions including a trip to Stradbroke Island where they looked at different environments and learnt how to study underwater eco-systems and observe the behaviour of sea life. She has also been to Australia Zoo and a National Park.
Her favourite subject at the moment is Animal 100. It’s about animals and endangered species and provides a general overview of extinction.
Lauren hopes to do conservation work once she completes her degree. Her dream is to go and work in Africa. She is doing a 36-day conservation trip to Namibia in December 2019 to get a taste of this sort of employment. The trip involves two weeks in a wildlife reserve and two weeks doing research.
She also does voluntary work for Reef Check Australia – an innovative environmental charity dedicated to providing ways for the community to better understand, appreciate and protect oceans and marine environments. She helps to run fundraising events to promote the work of the organisation and to encourage others to get involved.
Lauren also finds time to fit in two part-time jobs. She works at an indoor ski and adventure park and a doggy day care centre. On some weekends and during semester break she likes to stay on the Sunshine Coast to catch up with friends and go to the beach.
Being a Student Ambassador has its perks. Lauren was recently invited to participate in the Tree Top Challenge at the Big Pineapple. It is Australia’s highest and most thrilling adventure park with 100 challenges and 12 ziplines sitting in the trees at more than 25m above the ground. The challenge features five unique courses starting off easy and working up to heart-pumping extreme. It is a popular day out for students.