Dr. AHM Ali Reza, associate professor of biology and environmental sciences, was recently selected for a highly competitive fellowship spearheaded by the government of Australia.
The program, Australia Awards–Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships, is a merit-based fellowship providing opportunities for Australians to undertake study, research or professional development overseas, and for overseas citizens to do the same in Australia.
The fellow selection process of the Endeavor program is conducted through a global competition open to all nations.
“This is an absolute honor to be selected as a recipient of the Endeavour executive fellowship,” said Reza. “Selection of this program goes worldwide, and it’s extremely competitive and merit-based. Being selected for this program brings enormous credit to anyone, and I feel no exception. I feel like even though I am from a small regional school in the Mississippi Delta, we are strong enough to compete on a global stage.”
Through the program, he will be in Australia from mid-May to early August, and he’ll be utilizing the fellowship for both research and teaching.
Reza will be based at the Australian Museum in Sydney, the country’s oldest museum, which also holds international distinction in the fields of natural history and anthropology.
His host will be Dr. Jodi Rowley, a scientific officer at the museum who also holds a position at University of New South Wales. Working as a lab partner with Rowley, Reza’s time will be divided between the museum and UNSW conducting research on frogs and teaching classes on wildlife ecology.
“My goal is to learn the latest techniques used in conservation genetics,” added Reza. “The Australian Museum houses the Australian Centre for Wildlife Genomics, and I will be learning conservation genetics there under the supervision of Dr. Rowley.”
In addition, Reza said the experience would help him develop and revise his coursework at Delta State to the benefit of his students.
Reza has taken part in and organized a number of international educational experiences in the past few years. Most recently, he led a field course in December 2017 in his homeland of Bangladesh.
The two-week field experience provided hands-on practice in the ecology and conservation of unique wildlife species in two highly biodiverse ecosystems — Lawachara National Park, a tropical evergreen forest in northeastern Bangladesh, and the Sundarbans Reserved Forest, the world’s largest mangrove forest in southwestern Bangladesh.
The overall objective of the course was to introduce students to tropical wildlife and their habitats, taxonomy, natural history and biogeography, with an emphasis on the conservation challenges and prospects faced by animals within the region.
James Allen, a student at Delta State, had the privilege of attending this exclusive outdoor course.
“The course in Bangladesh was truly one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” said Allen. “I was able to visit ecologically unique places with a group of people who have a passion for ecology and conservation. Having Dr. Reza leading the course, joined with local naturalists and students, gave me a perspective that I wouldn’t have received visiting these places alone. It went far beyond anything one could get from a traditional classroom setting. I lived and worked with folks from Bangladesh, India, and the U.S., learned a great deal, and made great friendships.”
Learn more about opportunities within Delta State’s Department of Biological Sciences at http://www.deltastate.edu/artsandsciences/biological-sciences/programs/.