By Brooke Shafer

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A student from South Florida received a surprise worth thousands of dollars at Zoo Miami on Friday morning.

Kathryn Treacy, who grew up in Tamarac and is now a freshman at the University of Florida, believed she was invited to the zoo for an interview about Zoo Miami’s Conservation Teen Scientists Group. Instead, she was awarded $10,000.

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“Today was a big shocker to me. Very surprising,” Treacy told CBS4’s Brooke Shafer.

Treacy applied and was selected to receive this year’s Ron Magill Conservation Scholarship, a $5,000 prize, which The Zoo Miami Foundation then matched.

“For me to be able to give back to this young lady who’s already given so much to the zoo, it’s very inspiring,” said Ron Magill, who presented Treacy with the two checks.

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The presentation was a complete surprise to Treacy and partly to her parents, who believed their daughter was only receiving $5,000.

“I did not expect it whatsoever, I’m more than overjoyed right now,” she said.

Treacy said her passion has always been animals. She’s currently studying Animal Science with a minor in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. The UF student said she plans to put the money to use to continue her studies and hopefully do some research.

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“For us as the zoo, to invest is the greatest thing that we can do. They really are the future,” said Magill.