MSc Graduate in Focus: Dr Kylie Scales

This year we are launching a new MSc in Marine Vertebrate Ecology and Conservation and applications are open now for 2020 start. We are looking back on some of our MSc graduates who have excelled in marine vertebrate ecology and conservation around the world since studying with us.

Today we meet Dr Kylie Scales, MSc Conservation and Biodiversity graduate (2010) and now working as a Senior Lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia!

Dr Kylie Scales Photo: USC Australia

Hi Kylie! First off, why don’t you tell us a bit about your career since studying your MSc with us?

Immediately after finishing my MSc I secured a Postgraduate research and teaching assistant position at Centre for Ecology & Conservation. I then moved on to a PhD in Marine Science at Plymouth Marine Lab. From there I travelled to the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center Environmental Research Division in Monterey, California as a postdoctoral project assistant. And finally in 2016 I secured a lectureship at USC Australia and became a senior lecturer in Animal Ecology in 2018.

Dr Kylie Scales, Associate Editor at RSEC Journal Photo: RSEC Journal

You’ve worked in some wonderful places! What made you choose to study your MSc with us at the University of Exeter Cornwall Campus?

I had been living in Cornwall for a couple of years, working as a secondary school teacher after graduating from an undergraduate degree at the University of Plymouth. When I discovered the potential to study ecology and conservation at the Penryn Campus through an advert for a PhD studentship with Profs. Brendan Godley and Annette Broderick, I couldn’t believe that such opportunity existed in Cornwall. I’ve never looked back.

The facilities at Penryn are first-rate. There are many fantastic people working and studying at the campus, so student life is varied and interesting. Living in Cornwall provides lots of opportunity to get outside and into the ocean. My experiences there were very enjoyable, and I have great memories of that time.

How did the MSc help prepare you for your career in academia?

 My experiences at Penryn gave me excellent role models and mentors that prepared me for my current role as a lecturer and researcher.

I enjoyed the interaction with the world-leading researchers in ecology and conservation that are based at the Penryn Campus. Studying for an MSc at the Centre for Ecology and Conservation opened my eyes to the possibilities of collaborative research, and I aspired to join the community of inspirational and proactive people that I met there.

The training in data analysis using the statistical software R delivered by Prof. Dave Hodgson has springboarded my career in data science. This was a standout aspect of the MSc, and made me highly competitive for other studentships and research opportunities. I also learnt to write, speak in public, and connect with professional researchers. These learning experiences have proven invaluable since.

My research project involved tracking sea turtles at a remote coral atoll in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef system off Belize. This was an incredible experience, and a privilege that I will never forget. We also published the resultant research in a peer-reviewed journal, which was my first scientific paper,  and this proved helpful in securing further opportunities.

Finally, Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of applying to any of our programmes at the University of Exeter?

Do it now!

Thanks Kylie!

Dr Kylie Scales (back right) and Dr Javier Leon (front left) with Smartfin Users. Photo: Noosa News

You can follow Kylie on Twitter @KylieScales

If you want to find out more about any of our suite of #ExeterMarine Masters and Undergraduate courses use the links below!

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