My Melbourne with Sally Sherwen

November 13 / 123

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What’s your official title?

PhD student at the Animal Welfare Science Centre at Zoos Victoria.

What does that mean?

My PhD research is looking at how visitors impact the welfare of zoo animals, including a range of different species throughout the three zoos in Victoria including Melbourne, Healesville and Werribee.

Do you have any findings you could tell us about?

I am part way through a lot of preliminary studies. I have got a lot of studies coming up. Some interesting results so far would be Meercats. We studied Meercats and we looked at how they respond to different levels of visitor behaviour and interaction. It turns out at all sites that we couldn’t detect any changes in their behaviour. This suggests they are a good zoo species and definitely cope well with human interaction.

They like an audience?

They do. Yes.

How long have you been at the University?

I actually did my undergraduate degree in Science here in 2005, then had some time off and came back to start my PhD. I’ve been researching for just over two and a bit years now.

What is the thing you like most about working here?

At Melbourne University I would have to say the whole community vibe that is here. It is like a little village. There’s everything you’d ever need. There are bars, coffee shops, like-minded people around, beautiful gardens and places to enjoy the sunshine. It is just a really pleasant place to be based.

Can you share a piece of advice you’ve received?

To ‘rein it in’ I would say. I get told to ‘rein it in Sally’ regularly by my supervisors because I find myself sometimes thinking a bit too broadly and all over the place. Rein it in and really focus your thoughts. Its very important for a PhD especially to have good ideas but at the end of the day you’ve got to focus a little bit. That’s what I need to keep reminding myself.

Where’s your favourite place to buy coffee on campus?

There’s a lot actually and I like to mix it up. I like going out but Tsubu and Lot 6 are definitely my favourites as well as House of Cards. At Union House Plush Fish is good. Definitely one coffee run a day.

What footy team do you support?

Melbourne. They are not doing well at the moment. I’ve always been a Melbourne supporter. Half my family is Melbourne and the other half is Collingwood. It can get a bit awkward but there’s a lack of interest in Melbourne at the moment. Hopefully we’ll make a comeback some time soon.

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