I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Zoology, Bachelor of Science Honours in Zoology and Master of Science in Zoology from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. My Honours thesis focussed on the population ecology of elephant seals in the Southern Ocean. I then took a break from academia to work, spending 6 months as a junior microbiologist and 6 months as a junior environmental officer on a construction site. Thereafter, I started my research-based Masters, which focussed on the presence of alien invasive vegetation in local-scale corridors in the grasslands of Mpumalanga Province. During this time, I also worked part-time as a lecturer for a first year Computer and Information Literacy course. After completing my Masters, I went back to work on the construction site as the senior environmental offcier. When that project ended, I moved to Sabi Sand Wildtuin (Game Reserve) as an Environmental Compliance Officer. Finally, I moved back to Johannesburg to work as an Environmental Consultant, mostly in the mining industry, before I decided to pursue my personal goal of obtaining a PhD.
I am passionate about broad-scale conservation in South Africa and the broader African landscape. This lead to my interest in conservation planning and policy, protected area designation and protected area management. My PhD will be looking into the effectiveness of management in a wide variety of protected area types with different management structures in the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Reserve, across the Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces of South Africa. The Biosphere Reserve presents a unique opportunity to study socio-ecological systems and refine conservation stategies so as to improve cohesion in the system.