Most teens don't have bearded dragons as pets, but most teens also don't have zoo-keeping in their family history and a knack for biology.
This passion for animals has helped Albury 18-year-old Alex Ellis land a scholarship to study a Bachelor of Veterinary Science.
Ms Ellis was nominated for Charles Sturt University's Next Generation Excellence Scholarship by staff at The Scots School Albury.
"It's a $10,000 scholarship, which I was very excited about, and it can be used for accommodation or study costs," Ms Ellis said.
"The criteria was around wanting to make the world a better place.
"It was really nice to go into exams, knowing that I had that scholarship."
The scholarship is for high-achieving year 12 students at a partner school who can demonstrate academic excellence and wish to study fulltime and on campus.
Ms Ellis said receiving the scholarship was made more special given disruptions this year.
"We were less affected than Sydney, so I'm pretty grateful for that," she said.
"For our music performance, we were filmed and it was marked internally ... it was a bit of a weird situation because it was in the middle of lockdown.
"My speaking assessment for French also got pushed back, and there was a lot of uncertainty about whether it would actually happen.
"I was only able to get vaccinated a month ago, and I was pretty anxious about that before my exams.
"But we all supported each other and were staying positive.
"I feel like dealing with COVID-19, I've had new levels of self-awareness."
The owner of two cats, one dog and a bearded dragon called Steve is excited to begin her five-year degree.
"My Mum used to work with reptiles at Taronga Zoo, so she encouraged me to get Steve," Ms Ellis said.
"I really like frogs - they're really cute - so I hope to upgrade my wildlife licence to get one.
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"I'm not sure if I'd like to work with agricultural animals or specialise in more exotic animals like Steve.
"I thought I would just get into the course and just figure it out from there."
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