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Melissa Abrahams

2021 Intern

WWF intern Melissa Joy Abrahams gives us a glimpse into her career beginnings, hopes and aspirations in the field of Marine Biology.

Her love for animals combined with her degree in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology from the University of the Western Cape have prepared her for exciting professional advancement. Melissa is doing her internship at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town where she is involved in marine education, research and animal care.
She shares more about herself and her Marine Biologist internship position:

What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about education, as well as learning whenever the opportunity presents itself. I’d love to be able to teach children about nature and help improve their understanding of the importance of caring for every creature on Earth.

What inspired your choice of study?
I have always had an instinctive interest in animals and the environments they live in. When I was a child, I used to watch the National Geographic channel and take notes. So, it was an easy choice for me to pursue studies that involve animals in one way or the other. Before I became aware of Marine Biology as a field of study, I initially wanted to become a veterinarian. I was interested in working on bigger animals than cats and dogs, but I figured I would be too emotional for such a career.

What excites you about your internship?
I am most excited about the opportunities to work in a more hands-on way with animals in the aquarium and assist with health-related tasks. Along with supporting the aquarists, I am delighted that there is more than one aspect to get involved with, such as education and research.

What are your expectations of this internship?
I’d like to apply my theoretical knowledge, grow my network and skills set and learn from my surroundings and the people I work with.

What contribution do you hope to make towards a future in which people and nature thrive?
I hope for a future where there is an understanding that ultimately, we need our natural environment and animals to thrive for human life to exist. I wish to contribute to that through my research but more importantly in the way I live and the choices I make. I aspire to inspire others to change their ways towards recycling and sustainable living, and to help them realise the importance of nature. Everything is connected, so instead of living for ourselves and one another, we also need to think about the animals.

Who inspires you the most and why?
My parents and sister are my biggest inspiration. My father is one of the most kind-hearted and generous people I know. He is exceptionally hard-working and has taught me what it means to take risks and put my best foot forward. My mother is resilient, which is something I needed to learn in my undergraduate years. She has shown me what it means to “push through” even when I feel like I cannot keep going.

The best lesson I’ve learnt from my family is that I can do almost anything and that one should never settle for less. I’ve learnt that it is more than okay to believe in myself and trust that I can achieve my dreams, even if I do things differently than what is expected.

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