Finding your life porpoise by volunteering

UQ graduate Lauren Gilloran credits volunteer work for her post-university success.

University of Queensland graduate Lauren Gilloran wears a wetsuit rather than a business suit for her dream job as a dolphin trainer at Sea World.

The Bachelor of Applied Science graduate, who majored in Wildlife Science, credits volunteer work while studying with her post-university success.

“Volunteering was a course recommendation and it allowed me to get a taste of what I’d be doing after I graduated,” Lauren said.

“It reinforced what I really wanted to do in my animal career and made me want to complete my studies as soon as possible.”

After graduating, Lauren volunteered in South Africa for a “Living with Big Cats” program at Glen Afric Country Lodge near Pretoria.

“The work we did made me really hopeful for the future of big cat conservation,” she said.

“It was wonderful to see people from so many different countries and cultures come together to work for the same goal.”

Lauren said wildlife science was a broad field offering a variety of career paths, including working for zoos, aquariums and government game management programs.

“That’s what drew me to the course,” she said.

“I found the professors were experts in their fields and the subjects were relevant and useful.

“My long-term career goals were to work with dolphins and with tigers, so to be offered one of my dream jobs as my first paid position after graduating was a great achievement for me.”

Lauren said she was proud to be contributing to the Sea World Research and Rescue Foundation, which funds and promotes independent marine research projects, and rescues dolphins, whales, birds, turtles and sea snakes that are stranded or entangled in man-made products.

Students and their families or carers can find information about UQ study options on the UQ Future Students website or can email