The livelihoods and well-being of farmers and their livestock in Africa have been improved thanks to UQ veterinary science graduate, Tarni Cooper.
Ms Cooper was one of five Distinguished Young Alumni Award recipients for 2014 for her work in smallholder farming systems in developing countries.
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“I accepted the award in recognition of the contribution veterinarians are making internationally, in pursuit of one health for animals, humans and the environment,” she said.
Since graduating as a veterinarian in 2010, Ms Cooper has worked in Kenya, Vietnam, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia, serving as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development (AYAD) with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).
She is now based in Australia and works for ILRI as a consultant, with a focus on agriculture for nutrition and health.
Ms Cooper works within a research team that looks at creating a food secure future with projects focusing on the assessment and management of health risks associated with food safety, zoonotic diseases, emerging diseases, and diseases associated with agricultural intensification within developing countries.
“I entered the veterinary science program knowing that I wanted to contribute to the pursuit of food security for socioeconomically disadvantaged people who depend on livestock for a living,” Ms Cooper said.
“In Tanzania, our team is undertaking research to identify and assess the impacts of major production diseases and zoonoses in dairy cattle.
“This will improve production efficiency and health outcomes in communities with smallholder dairy farms and establish a basis on which to set future research priorities.
“I’m very keen to share my experiences with current veterinary students, to expose them to opportunities outside of their current Australian experience.
“This award provides the opportunity to tell my story, as well as those of my colleagues and hopefully encourage more veterinarians to engage in cross-cultural dialogue and expand experiences with their international colleagues in developing communities.”
Ms Cooper is planning to undertake a PhD in communication for social change at UQ to enable her to better translate her clinical and social research and continue to improve the lives of people in developing countries.
University of Queensland’s Bachelor of Veterinary ScienceProgram title: Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc)
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Program duration: 5 years
Application deadline: November 30, 2014; however, late applications may be accepted by UQ Veterinary School.
UQ Veterinary School applicants must have a secondary school diploma and have fulfilled Grade 12 prerequisites of Chemistry, Physics or Biology, Mathematics, and English for admission into this program. Generally, a B average is required for admission. Please note that the MCAT is not required for entry.