Bangor University have named Anglesey Sea Zoo owner Frankie Hobro as their 2019 Alumnus of the Year.

Bangor University has over 80,000 alumni living all over the world, working in every field and industry imaginable. The University is proud of the achievements of its former students and, to highlight this, every year the University’s Alumni Advisory Board chooses an Alumnus of the Year, honouring a graduate who has excelled in his or her field and has remained engaged with their alma mater. Previous Alumnus of the Year recipients include Gwilym Rees-Jones (Maths, 1963), Dr Ross Piper (Zoology, 1998) and Ray Footman (History & Philosophy, 1961).

Following a BSc at Lancaster University and work for the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, Frankie came to Bangor to gain her MSc in Marine Environmental Protection from the School of Ocean Sciences. She went on to work on island conservation and marine projects abroad before settling back on Anglesey 12 years ago when she bought the Anglesey Sea Zoo.

The Anglesey Sea Zoo and Marine Resource Centre in Brynsiencyn is an environmentally managed education and research facility, as well as a popular tourist attraction. The Sea Zoo focusses on sustainability, education, marine conservation and captive breeding and release programmes for endangered native species such as seahorses and lobsters.

Under Frankie’s leadership, the Sea Zoo collaborates with community groups for environmental activities including beach clean-ups and interactive educational packages. Frankie has set up a successful bilingual education and outreach programme at the Sea Zoo, as well as a voluntary marine animal rescue centre, with the capacity to rescue and rehabilitate all kinds of stranded or injured marine animals, including mammals, sea birds and turtles.

Frankie is an active member of the Association for Science Education and the STEM scheme, promoting interactive science and women in science and technology. She is also a trustee and Living Seas Ambassador for North Wales Wildlife Trust, a member of the Marine Conservation Society, Soroptimists International and many local charities.

Frankie’s links with Bangor University and the School of Ocean Sciences have remained strong and she is one of the School’s most highly engaged alumni, most recently sponsoring a summer placement student at the Sea Zoo, regularly employing Bangor graduates and giving talks across different faculties of the University including the Business School and Ocean Sciences.

Frankie was presented with her award during a graduation ceremony on 15 July, with a citation given by Professor David Thomas, Head of School of Ocean Sciences.

On receiving her award, Frankie said: “I’m delighted to be named Alumnus of the Year! My time at the University has enabled me to create my dream job in a place I love and it’s great being able to continue to support the University and the local community through my work at the Anglesey Sea Zoo.”

Photos: Frankie Hobro with her award and with professor David Thomas, Head of School of the Ocean Sciences, Honorary Fellow Karin Lochte and Professor Graham Upton, Interim Vice-Chancellor at Bangor University.