New USC degree lets Grace stay home on the farm - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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New USC degree lets Grace stay home on the farm

13 Feb 2017

Hervey Bay’s Grace Prince wanted to study animals for as long as she could remember, but struggled with the prospect of moving away from her family, part-time job and much-loved horses.

Now the 2016 Urangan State High School graduate is preparing to start her preferred degree at USC’s Fraser Coast campus – less than ten minutes’ drive from her family farm.

The keen equestrian will be among the first cohort of students in the new Bachelor of Animal Ecology at USC Fraser Coast when Semester 1 starts on 27 February.

“I didn’t want to move away from home as I’m a big family person, so I was excited to find out that USC was offering Animal Ecology at Fraser Coast in 2017, almost right on my doorstep,” Grace, 17, said.

Applications are still open via QTAC to enrol in the three-year degree designed for people interested in the study, conservation and management of animals in the wild or in captivity.

“I am very much an animal person,” Grace said. “Since I could walk, I’ve been around animals on my family’s hobby farm and my uncle’s dairy farm in Brisbane.”

“This course will allow me to learn much more about animals and help me get a job in a zoo or wildlife sanctuary as a conservationist, zoo keeper or park ranger.”

Grace said she was looking forward to the degree’s field studies where students work directly with animals in their natural environments, including whales in the waters off Hervey Bay and shorebirds in the Great Sandy Strait.

Attending university in her home town also would allow her to keep up with her great passion – horse riding.

“I absolutely love horse riding and spend most weekends trail riding or camp drafting,” said Grace, who competed with her favourite horse Pip in interschool equestrian events for Urangan State High School.

The self-confessed bookworm could also keep her part-time job in a Hervey Bay bookstore café.

“Another bonus is I don’t have to worry about travel and living expenses to the same extent as I would if I had moved to Brisbane.”

Applications remain open via QTAC for more than 15 degree programs offered at USC Fraser Coast. For information visit

— Clare McKay

USC Animal Ecology student Grace Prince with her favourite horse Pip

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