Jade Simoen

Jade grew up in the Western Cape. This biodiversity hotspot was the ideal location for her love of the outdoors and nature to develop and blossom. From the age of six years old, Jade has known that she wanted to study biology, and as she grew up her love of the subject only increased. Her childhood pastimes consisted of hiking up Table Mountain and exploring the various rock pools along the West Coast. One of her fondest childhood memories is walking around the Iziko South African Museum and exploring the various natural science exhibits it had to offer.

At university, Jade found that she especially enjoyed more application-based modules and was drawn to modules exploring the ecology and evolution of land and marine wildlife. Jade graduated with a BSc in Biology and Psychology from the University of Cape Town. This combination of courses allowed her to have a unique view of conservation and to consider human needs and motives during conservation efforts. From there, Jade completed her Honours in Biology, where her research project was a geometric morphometric analysis of crocodile skulls through ontogeny. This project taught her new research and statistical skills and confirmed her love of research.

Considering her grounding of studying in a South African context, Jade strongly understands conservation and biology in Africa. Because of the diverse backgrounds of the individuals in the course, she believes that the MSc Conservation Biology programme will broaden her understanding of conservation and offer her unique insight into South African conservation issues.

In her free time, Jade enjoys swimming and whale-watching in the icy waters around Cape Town. She also spends time reading and playing with her two rescue dogs, Storm and Abby.