Samantha completed her BSc (Hons) in 2016 at The University of Queensland and works with ECOCEAN Inc., Australia’s only not-for-profit organisation dedicated to whale shark research and conservation. Her PhD research will focus on whale shark movement ecology, its drivers and implications for the conservation of this endangered species.

Samantha’s academic achievements and her work with ECOCEAN, using the world's biggest fish to engage the public in marine conservation and students in STEM learning, lead to her being selected for Homeward Bound 2018, a leadership mentoring program for women in STEMM that culminated in a three-week voyage to Antarctica in February 2018.

As a mature-age student, Samantha is passionate about helping others of any age, especially women and girls to embrace STEM learning and believes it is never too late to follow your dreams.

Awards & achievements

  • UQ Graduate School PhD Scholarship
  • Participant in Homeward Bound 2018 leadership program for women in STEMM
  • Bachelor of Science (Hons), University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia: Graduated with BSc. in 2015 with Majors in Marine Science and Zoology. Included on the Dean’s List for High Academic Achievement in semesters 2/2012, 1/2013, 1/2014, 2/2014 and 1/2015.
  • Graduated with First Class Honours in Marine Biology in 2016.
  • Awarded the University Medal for Outstanding Scholarship in 2016.
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia:
  • Graduated 1998 with Majors in English Language Studies and French. Included on the Dean’s List for High Academic Achievement in semesters 2/1995, 1/1996 and 2/1996


  • Presentation to 4th International Whale Shark Conference, 16 -18 May, 2016. Doha, Qatar. Where the whale sharks are: an innovative satellite tagging programme to track the movements of whale sharks from Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia.
  • Presentation to Society for Conservation Biology 4th Oceania Congress, 6 - 8 July, 2016. Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Pathways for protection: using spatial data to benchmark conservation outcomes for Western Australia’s whale sharks.
  • Presentation to 10th Indo-Pacific Fish Conference, 2 – 6 Oct, 2017. Tahiti, French Polynesia. Travels with whale sharks: Satellite tracking the world’s biggest fish.

Society affiliations

  • Oceania Chondrichthyan Society
  • Society of Conservation Biology
  • British Ecological Society
  • Ecological Society of Australia

Mentions in the media:

  • Totally Wild, Channel 11, 29th March 2018
  • Scope, Season 3 Episode 127 ‘Flora Fauna and Science’, Channel 11, 1st October 2016:, at 10.30
  • UQ’s Faculty of Science, Careers that Started in Science website:
  • Weekend Sunrise, 8th July 2017, ‘Up close and personal with sharks’
  • The Naked Scientists, Marine Month: Making Waves, 10th July 2017:, at 39:34 – Keeping tabs on where whale sharks go
  • Cosmos Magazine, 31 Aug 2017 ABC Radio, The World Today with Eleanor Hall, 1 Sept 2017
  • The Naked Scientists, 1 Sept 2017
  • The Sunday Times, 3 Sept 2017
  • ABC Radio Perth, WA Afternoons with Gillian O’Shaughnessy, 4 Sept 2017
  • ABC Radio National, The Science Show with Robyn Williams, 30 Sept 2017
  • Eyes on Environment, 1 Oct 2017
  • Pilbara News, 19 Oct 2017
  • UQ School of Biological Sciences News, 19 Oct 2017

Personal interests

SCUBA diving, photography, reading, baking and travelling.