Tall Tales - Kerryn Carter

PhD Candidate, The University of Queensland

Qualifications: BSc (Zoology) 2000, Hons (Zoology) 2001

Salary Range: Scholarships available. Please check with the relevant university for details.

KERRYN Carter's binoculars are focused on the heights of the tallest land-living animal: the giraffe.

The zoologist, who has a Bachelor of Science and Honours from UQ, is now completing her PhD amidst the wildlife wonders of Namibia in southern Africa.

There, she is investigating the social organisation of female giraffe living in the pristine Etosha National Park.

"I love studying animal behaviour, learning about local cultures and working with local people," Kerryn says of her PhD work.

After her Honours year, Kerryn spent a year as a research assistant at UQ, examining the field behaviour of brush-tailed rock wallabies.

This was followed by a stint in Thailand, volunteering for conservation organisations and carrying out a mammal survey at her own cost, which was when she uncovered the first-recorded tiger tracks in a wildlife sanctuary.

In 2005 came another of Kerryn's career highlights: employment with the Maddox Jolie-Pitt project in Cambodia, which was aimed at designing and implementing a wildlife survey program for a remote, protected area.

An initiative of actress Angelina Jolie, the project saw Kerryn train wildlife rangers, through an interpreter, to carry out regular field surveys and produce reports on their findings.

Looking back, Kerryn says her foundations at UQ have opened up unlimited opportunities.

"UQ encouraged excellence and those qualities are recognised by any potential employer," she says.

Kerryn says by staying true to your heart, good things will follow.

"Make your passion your life and you can achieve amazing things.