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Alumni Spotlight - New Zealand Native Natasha Lloyd’s Worldwide Journey

Published: 10/15/2019

By: Melanie Vynalek

Within one year of her graduation from Auburn, New Zealand native Natasha Lloyd has traveled the world – volunteering her time and skills in a handful of countries across Africa. Now, she is back in the U.S., taking her passion for sustainability to Colorado State University as she pursues her MBA.

Lloyd was a member of the Auburn Swimming and Diving team and graduated with a degree in organismal biology and conservation. Due to her success both inside and outside of the classroom, she was recognized as the COSAM Graduation Marshal during the August 2018 commencement.

She went on to receive scholarships through the NCAA and the SEC, as well as through her new university, contributing to her studies as one of 29 students in the Global, Social, Sustainable MBA program at Colorado State. Yet, it was her start at Auburn that paved the way for this exciting path.

“Through having international students in my classes and swim team, I was able to develop a deeper sense of empathy and understanding for different cultures, beliefs, religions and more. Empathy is a crucial skill that I will carry with me,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd carried this crucial skill with her on her post-grad travels to Madagascar, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, and Botswana.

While in Africa, she worked with multiple conservation organizations, including Harnas Wildlife Foundation, an organization focused on rescue, rehabilitation, and relocation of African mammals, often cheetahs, she said.

“We would help conduct tours for tourists to increase education about the battles many African countries are facing with conflict between humans and native African animals. We would assist with transport of tranquilized animals and we were lucky enough to be a part of a few beautiful releases of animals back into their natural habitat,” Lloyd said.

While Lloyd had some incredible experiences and photographic moments with these animals, she stresses the importance of animal welfare and how not all tourism enterprises value their animals.

“I beg everyone to please be extremely careful paying for animal interactions, whether that’s feeding an elephant, riding an elephant, riding a camel, petting a tiger, hugging a chimp, and more,” she said.

Lloyd’s drive to impact the environment, and the creatures that call it home, would not be possible without the resources and opportunities COSAM provided her and continues to provide current students.

“I encourage COSAM students to grasp every opportunity. Whether that’s joining the Auburn Society for Conservation Biology, attending a COSAM fair, interacting with other students who may have different mindsets or approaches to problems, or talking with professors,” she said.

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Dr. Bob Boyd, who had Lloyd as a student in his Conservation Biology course, said she was an energetic, engaged, and passionate student.

“Natasha was a great pleasure to have in class and performed well despite the demands of being a student athlete. I was pleased that she asked me to write a reference letter to accompany her graduate school application, and I know she is going to accomplish great things in her career. She is a credit to Auburn and an embodiment of the Auburn Creed.”

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