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Rebecca Smith

The wide range of courses in Edinburgh's Biological Sciences programme coupled with a unique volunteering opportunity paved the way for Rebecca Smith's international career in primate conservation.

Name

Rebecca Smith

Degree 

BSc Biological Sciences (Zoology)

Year of Graduation 2010

Your time at the University  

Rebecca Smith

I originally choose the University of Edinburgh because I was impressed by the reputation of the university. When I went to visit and learn about the Biological Sciences programme I was blown away by the diversity of courses available and the variety of opportunities.

One of my favourite classes was Field Zoology in my fourth year. This class gave me my first opportunity to design my own biological research project and the field trip to Millport was my first experience of fieldwork in Scotland. This experience was pivotal in my decision to continue my career in biological field research.

I enjoyed and appreciate the scope of the Zoology course at Edinburgh as I was able to experience a variety of fields including entomology, animal behaviour, genetics, plant science and development biology to name a few. This varied approach really helped me to narrow down my scientific interests.

The University of Edinburgh was also wonderful for the number of extra-curricular activities available. In my first and second years I trained with the Edinburgh Swim Team, which was a fantastic experience.

The University of Edinburgh not only directly contributed to my current career path through the valuable skills I learned but also in a more serendipitous way. My journey to my current job began with a volunteer experience in my second year of university at N/a’an Ku Sê Wildlife Sanctuary in Namibia and I originally heard about this opportunity through the university!

In 2013 I moved to Paraguay to run the Para La Tierra Primate Project. I have now been studying hooded capuchins in the Paraguayan Atlantic Forest for five years and I have published the first primatological research from Paraguay in over 20 years.

Rebecca SmithPrimate Project Leader, Para La Tierra, Paraguay

Your experiences since leaving the University

After leaving Edinburgh I worked as a volunteer coordinator at N/a’an Ku Sê Wildlife Sanctuary in Namibia before returning to the UK to do a Masters of Research in Primate Biology, Behaviour and Conservation. I studied weaning in rhesus macaques on Cayo Santiago in Puerto Rico and interned at Alouatta Sanctuary in Panama rehabilitating orphaned howler monkeys and squirrel monkeys.

In 2013 I moved to Paraguay to run the Para La Tierra Primate Project. I have now been studying hooded capuchins in the Paraguayan Atlantic Forest for five years and I have published the first primatological research from Paraguay in over 20 years.

I am currently working towards a PhD in Conservation Science with the University of Aberdeen. I have been awarded the Lawrence Jacobsen Education Development Award from the International Primatological Society, an Elphinstone Scholarship for my PhD and a National Geographic Exploration Grant.

My time at the University of Edinburgh provided me with the skills and the foundation from which I was able to build my career.

Alumni Wisdom

Seize every opportunity that is available to you at university and don’t ever be afraid to ask for advice or help.

Related Links

Para La Tierra - Primate Projects (external link)

BSc Biological Sciences (Zoology)