MSc Graduate in Focus: Claire Tanner

This year we are launching two new MSc courses in Marine Environmental Management and 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 conservation around the world since studying with us.

Today we meet Claire Tanner, MSc Conservation and Biodiversity graduate (2016) and now a PhD student in shorebird behaviour and evolution at the University of Bath!

Hi Claire! First off, why don’t you tell us what you are up to now and how you got there?

Before I joined the MSc in Conservation and Biodiversity programme in 2015, I had already worked as a sea turtle biologist, a research assistant and a programme director in conservation organisations in Costa Rica, Cape Verde and Ghana. I decided that I wanted to develop a career in research, which was why I chose to undertake an MSc, and then to apply for PhDs. My MSc dissertation was focused on how climate change affected the sex ratios of sea turtles, and for my PhD at the University of Bath, I am currently investigating how sex ratios in adult shorebirds could potentially affect the mating system.

What did you enjoy most about studying your MSc with us at the University of Exeter Cornwall Campus?

Cornwall is such an amazing place to live, with many different habitats to explore during local field trips, the beach nearby to relax with friends, and so many different watersports and outdoor sports to do!

Penryn Campus has such inspiring lecturers that are completing cutting-edge research, and there are many opportunities within modules and extra-curricular talks to hear and meet guest speakers from different career fields. The community of doctoral students and lecturers at Penryn Campus are so enthusiastic about their research, and really supportive of students developing themselves for their chosen careers. It was great to be able to discuss research with lecturers and research staff, especially when the research being conducted is always so current, interesting and progressive.

The lecturers at the CEC were always really supportive and approachable, which made it a very comfortable environment in which to study and enabled me to develop as a scientist and improve my research skills. I really loved the field trip module, which further developed my field work and collaborative skills. It was amazing to be able to visit Kenya to study conservation and learn from conservation managers on the ground, comparing different conservation methods, and discussing future research projects.

What skills and experiences from the MSc have been most useful in your career?

During my Masters course, I gained many transferrable skills which have been essential for my PhD, including developing my academic writing, improving my ability to make and present posters for presentations and social media, data analysis, and public speaking. It has also given me the confidence to develop as an independent researcher. Before coming to University of Exeter, I had never used R. The statistics module taught me R within 3 months (which is amazing as it’s a whole new coding language), to the extent that I could use it competently for my dissertation results. I now use R extensively for my statistical analyses. It is a skill that I will continue to develop as I use different analyses and models throughout my career.

Do you think there are any factors that make the University of Exeter a unique place to study?

It is the perfect place for students who love the outdoors as there are so many opportunities to take part in outdoor activities. The course is unique and offered so many opportunities to develop my skills for my future career.

I loved that Penryn Campus was a green campus. It was very environmentally friendly with electric campus vehicles, recycling schemes and the “Turn on the Tap” scheme. I was able to start a “Ban the Bottle” campaign with peers to reduce the use of single use plastic bottles on campus. This was then continued with the next cohort and created the water-bar on campus! It was great to be part of a change of behaviours amongst students.

The University of Exeter has also achieved Silver Athena SWAN status. This really inspired me by seeing more women in research and science. Having visited other Universities without such a high Athena SWAN status, it has made me realize just how unique and important this was during my studies.

Finally, why did you choose your career path and do you have any advice for those looking to pursue something similar?

Keep persevering. I applied for PhDs for 2 years while working in an office. It could get disheartening at times, but PhDs are so competitive now for behavioural and evolutionary topics, that it’s very important to keep going, get feedback, and improve applications. Don’t lose hope!

Thanks Claire!

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

MSc Graduate In Focus: Josie Palmer

This year we are launching two new MSc courses in Marine Environmental Management and 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 conservation around the world since studying with us.

Today we meet Josie Palmer, MSc Conservation and Biodiversity graduate (2018) and now a PhD student at University of Exeter!

Hi Josie! First off, why don’t you tell us a bit about what you are up to now?

I am a first year PhD student entitled, “Assessing the Impact of Small-Scale Fisheries on Sea Turtle Populations in the Eastern Mediterranean Basin”, with the University of Exeter.

After completing my MSc, I applied for A NERC funded PhD at the University of Exeter, where I reached the final round of the selection process but was unfortunately unsuccessful. I spent 8 months working for the Marine Turtle Conservation Project (MTCP) in North Cyprus from February-October 2019 as an Onboard Fisheries Observer, Stranding and Lab Manager and Team Leader for the Cyprus Bycatch Project and MTCP turtle nesting season. I then applied for the same PhD I was unsuccessful for during Spring 2019 in November 2019 which was advertised with a different type of funding this time and was successful, starting my PhD in January 2020.

What drew you to studying at the University of Exeter after completing your BSc?

I started looking for an MSc in the final year of my undergraduate, and had spoken to a number of my lecturers about courses they would recommend, including my project supervisor and personal tutor, and was highly recommended the MSc at UoE by all of them. The only other course I was looking at was with Imperial College London, but I decided that the research focuses and atmosphere of UoE more closely aligned with what I wanted to do and the experience I wanted to have.

The Penryn Campus is a hub for marine conservation, and I knew I would get a wide variety of opportunities to engage with this as well as receive some of the best lecturing from experts in their field. The coastal lifestyle is definitely one of the main draws for the campus, and definitely took the edge of the stress you can experience while studying.

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

The support from staff is truly unprecedented. I never felt like I couldn’t ask for help or that I was asking a stupid question. You’re not just a student, you’re an individual to the university.

There was a heavy emphasis on the research project aspect of the degree and this is what really started to get me to think more in depth about my work and prepare me for further study and research.

Practicing interview scenarios was incredibly helpful to see how I might be interviewed for future jobs and how to prepare for them. I have gained a whole suite of analytical skills that will be transferable to a wide range of jobs, not just in conservation. There were and still are so many opportunities to practice communicating your research in a friendly and non-judgmental atmosphere, which is something I used to be terrified of doing but have definitely relaxed more with because of these opportunities.

 

Any advice for someone looking to follow a similar career?

I think there is a tendency for people to assume that the best way into this field is to get as much practical experience as possible. Usually it’s assumed this means volunteering abroad to gain fieldwork experience of a particular groups of animals or species. These are definitely core skills you need but there are many other skills that are often overlooked. Some of the best advice I’ve been given is that it’s not about the animal or plant or system that you study, its about having the skills behind the scenes to be able to say something meaningful from your research. Once you have the skills in a particular area of research you can transfer these to many others.

After I complete my PhD, I’d like to continue to work in scientific research but in what capacity I’m not sure yet. One thing I’ve learnt throughout my academic career so far is that you can only do so much planning, and the best decisions I’ve made so far have been through taking things one step at a time and seeing what’s out there and what appeals to you the most when it’s time for your next move!

Any advice for anyone thinking of applying to the University of Exeter?

There is something for everyone at the University of Exeter, so if you’re looking for a relaxed and friendly and professional atmosphere to study in, then you’ve found it!

Thanks Josie!

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

MSc Graduate In Focus: Kieran McCloskey

This year we are launching a new MSc in Marine Vertebrate Ecology and Conservation and applications are open now for September 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 Kieran McCloskey, MSc Conservation and Biodiversity graduate (2017) and now a PhD student at the University of Exeter studying impacts of anthropogenic noise on fish reproduction and populations.

Hi Kieran! We’re glad you’ve continued your studies with us at the University of Exeter, what do you think makes the University a great place to study?

I chose this university because the programme on offer was a good fit for my interests/needs to transition into ecology from the biomedical field. The MSc in Conservation and Biodiversity offered a broad range of taught courses, field experience and an opportunity to conduct independent research through a project towards the end of the programme. As someone who needed to experience as much as possible to fully immerse myself in ecology and conservation, this programme turned out to be a perfect fit.

The Centre for Ecology and Conservation has a great balance of professionalism and approachability. While studying at the CEC, I felt that I was receiving high-calibre instruction and was participating in cutting-edge research. At the same time, lecturers, academics and visiting professionals were made available in a way that I always felt comfortable to start a discussion about ideas, interests or potential opportunities for research or job-placement.

We’re glad you have enjoyed your time with us. How have you found studying at both our Cornwall, Penryn Campus and Exeter, Streatham Campus?

Personally, as a new international student from the US, I felt that the Penryn Campus was a warm and friendly environment for someone so far away from home. I’m currently based at the larger Streatham Campus, and I am glad I was able to experience the satellite campus before moving to Devon.

Cornwall is a wonderful place to live and study. While the program itself was a good fit for me and my interests, the most enjoyable aspect of studying at the Penryn campus would have to be the scenery and surrounding areas. There are plenty of beautiful beaches and coastal walks that offer stunning views, especially at sunset. Cornwall itself is filled with community spirit and pride and has a rich history and culture. During my master’s program, I lived in Falmouth, which is a charming fishing town 30 minutes away from campus that has great restaurants, shops and pubs. Having lived in the UK now for over three years, Cornwall is still my favourite destination to visit.

With his award for ‘Best Oral Presentation’ at Reef Conservation UK 2019

What skills did you learn that helped you to develop further in your career?

There has been a lot of carry over in terms of the skills that I developed during my master’s programme that have helped me to be successful in my current role as a PhD student. My course helped me to build confidence in oral presentation and academic writing, gain proficiency in making and presenting academic posters, develop a strong foundation in statistics and data analysis, improve my background research skills and literature reviews, and make strides towards becoming an independent researcher.

The research skills course that was offered during my program was particularly helpful for someone like me who had recently switched into a research role from a previous profession. This course helped me to hone important skills, such as oral presentation, making an academic poster, completing a literature review, building my CV, and participating in public outreach. Similarly, the Career Zone offered advice and guidance on improving CVs and preparing for job/PhD interviews that I utilised. Lastly, my academic tutor and the head of my programme were terrific resources for seeking guidance about furthering my career in the academic world.

Kieran presents a poster of his work at the Society for Experimental Biology’s Annual Meeting

 

Finally, why did you choose you career in research and do you have any advice for anyone looking to pursue a similar career?

I have always been passionate about science. I previously worked in the medical field, but found that it wasn’t the right fit for me as a career. I decided to change paths and started as a volunteer on a conservation project. From there, I went on to pursue a postgraduate degree at the University of Exeter, and it was during my MSc that I was able to build confidence and come to the realisation that ecology and conservation could be my chosen profession. For me, the drive to improve our relationship with the natural world is what I enjoy most about my work. It is a cause I can support fully and have no reservations about. Furthermore, I feel that ecology and conservation are becoming increasingly important topics in science. As a society, we are starting to understand the tremendous negative impact that we have on our planet and the importance of a healthy environment. With climate change now moving to the forefront of public concern and political debate, strong foundations in ecology and conservation will be mandatory for all human activity across the globe.

As with most sectors, learn as much as you can about the industry you’re interested in. Take opportunities to explore your interests and speak with experts about their experiences. Also, it’s best to be patient. No one becomes an expert/professional in their field overnight.

Thank you Kieran!

You can follow Kieran on Twitter, @kieranp_mcc

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

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!

Developing a New Floating Wind Turbine

Model Tests with a Novel Floating Wind Turbine Concept

Dr Ed Mackay & Prof. Lars Johanning, Offshore Renewable Energy Group

Dr Ed Mackay (Left) and Prof Lars Johanning (Right)

Floating offshore wind energy has been identified as being able to provide a significant contribution to meeting future renewable energy generation targets. Compared to traditional offshore wind turbines, which are fixed to the seabed, floating turbines can access deeper waters and areas with a higher wind resource. Current floating wind turbines are at the pre-commercial stage, with small arrays of up to five turbines being demonstrated. The cost of floating offshore wind turbines is currently significantly higher than fixed offshore wind. One of the main areas identified for reducing the cost of the structure is in the design of the platform. The platform must be designed to withstand large wave loads and keep the wind turbine as stable as possible. Large platform motions lead to reduced energy yield and increased loads on the wind turbine and drive train.

As part of the EPSRC funded RESIN project, the University of Exeter has been working with Dalian University of Technology (DUT) in China to investigate the use of porous materials in the floating platform for an offshore wind turbine, as a passive means of reducing platform motions. Porous materials are commonly used in offshore and coastal structures such as breakwaters or offshore oil platforms. As a wave passes through the porous material, energy is dissipated, reducing the wave height and wave-induced forces. The question posed by the RESIN project is: can porous materials be beneficial for floating offshore wind?

Examples of porous structures used in coastal and offshore engineering

The project has investigated this question using a combination of physical and numerical modelling. A range of analytical and numerical models have been developed [1-3] and validated against scale model tests in wave tanks. Two tests campaigns were conducted at the large wave flume at DUT in the summers of 2018 and 2019. The initial tests last year considered simple cases with flat porous plates with various porosities and hole sizes [4] and tests with fixed porous cylinders. These tests were used to validate the numerical predictions in a range of simple scenarios and gain an understanding of the effect of the porosity on the wave-induced loads.

 

A wave interacting with a fixed porous cylinder

Following the successful validation of the numerical models with simple fixed structures, a design was developed for a 1:50 scale model of a floating turbine, which could be tested with and without external porous columns. The model was tested at DUT this summer and further tests were conducted in the FlowWave tank at the University of Edinburgh this autumn. The test results showed that the motion response could be reduced by up to 40% in some sea states by adding a porous outer column to the platform. Work is ongoing to analyse the test results and optimise the design a platform using porous materials. However, initial results indicate that using porous materials in floating offshore wind turbines offers potential for reducing the loading on the turbine and mooring lines and improving energy capture.

1:50 scale model of a floating platform for an offshore wind turbine in various configurations. Left: inner column only. Middle: medium porous outer column. Right: Large porous outer column. The turbine rotor and nacelle are modelled as a lumped mass at the top of the tower.
The scale model installed at the FloWave tank at the Univeristy of Edinburgh

Thanks Ed!

To keep up to date with the Renewable Energy team, give them a follow on Twitter @Renewables_UoE 

For information on the Offshore Renewable Energy research group, check out their webpages.

References

  • Mackay EBL, Feichtner A, Smith R, Thies P, Johanning L. (2018) Verification of a Boundary Element Model for Wave Forces on Structures with Porous Elements, RENEW 2018, 3rd International Conference on Renewable Energies Offshore, Lisbon, Portugal, 8th – 10th Oct 2018.
  • Feichtner A, Mackay EBL, Tabor G, Thies P, Johanning L. (2019) Modelling Wave Interaction with Thin Porous Structures using OpenFOAM, 13th European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, Napoli, Italy, 1st – 6th Sep 2019.
  • Mackay E, Johanning L, (2019). Comparison of Analytical and Numerical Solutions for Wave Interaction with a Vertical Porous Barrier. Ocean Engineering (submitted)
  • Mackay E, Johanning L, Ning D, Qiao D (2019). Numerical and experimental modelling of wave loads on thin porous sheets. Proc. ASME 2019 38th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering OMAE2019, 2019, pp. 1-10.

#ExeterMarine is an interdisciplinary group of marine related researchers with capabilities across the scientific, biological,  medical, engineering, humanities and social science fields.

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If you are interested in working with our researchers or students, contact Emily Easman or visit our website!

 

MSc Graduate in Focus: Nathalie Swain-Diaz

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 Nathalie Swain-Diaz, MSc Conservation and Biodiversity graduate (2016) and now a Senior Natural History TV Researcher!

Hi Nathalie! Your job sounds incredibly exciting, why don’t you tell us a bit about your career since studying with us?

Whilst I was completing my Masters, I was offered a job at the BBC in Manchester, working on a new campaign for children which involved designing Science experiments. Whilst there, I did a 2-week placement with the Natural History Unit in Bristol and was offered a job soon after. I’ve never really looked back! Since then I’ve been really lucky to have worked on marine focused programmes such as Blue Planet Live and have most recently been working at an independent production house based in Bristol on an animal behaviour focused series.

To be completely honest, I wasn’t aiming for this career! Natural History TV was a world that seemed completely inaccessible and I thought it was a ridiculous pipe dream to even entertain the idea of it as a viable career, but I am forever thankful that I find myself in an industry that marries my creative and academic interests so perfectly. At the moment there seems to be more demand for (and interest in) natural history programming than ever before, which is hugely exciting and hopefully marks a turning point – I think people are craving a connection to nature that has been lost over the years, and I am really looking forward to seeing how the industry grows and finding more unique stories to tell on screen.

 

What attracted you to study your MSc at the University of Exeter, Penryn Campus?

The course was the most aligned to my interests and I loved the variety of subjects and scope for independent research on offer. I was hoping to find a taught Masters that would still give me the freedom to have a healthy work-life balance and live in a place I had never been before where I could explore the outdoors in my downtime.

The Masters course had a great reputation and I had met previous graduates who recommended the course greatly. The lecturers are also at the top of their respective fields and I felt it would be a great place to learn more about a field I really wanted to get into.

 

So, what did you enjoy most about studying your MSc?

I have to say – Cornwall itself! I grew up in the middle of London but I’ve always been overwhelmingly drawn to the ocean, and having it on my doorstep for a whole year was incredible. It’s such a beautiful part of the country and being able to explore it on the weekends was a huge perk to studying at the Penryn Campus. There are so many nature trails in the area and the wildlife is incredible, even in winter!

The Masters was really well organized and the lecturers were really involved and helpful. I always felt comfortable emailing with questions and they were always keen to help – the support was brilliant. The campus labs and resources were also great and meant that research went smoothly.

The facilities and student life were great and the lecturers were all very supportive throughout the course. The campus itself is gorgeous and there are loads of gardens and open spaces dotted around that are lovely to explore in the sunshine

How did the MSc help prepare you for your career?

The Masters course gave me experience in researching a wide range of topics in depth, as well as presenting them in a range of formats. Each module had very different requirements for coursework, not just writing essays, but designing posters, and the variety meant that I could better adapt information to each. I was also part of a team creating a podcast about current research going on at the University and created content for the social media channels. All of these skills have come in useful in the workplace, especially working in a creative industry where I often use different formats to convey information I have researched. It has also given me more confidence to approach scientists at institutions around the world and to interpret data from published papers. Lecturers and guest speakers at the University have also added to my professional network and it has been really useful in finding stories that could work well on screen.

Finding and synthesizing large amounts of information and factchecking is paramount for my job and I definitely learnt how to do this in a more efficient manner during my Masters course. The course was well geared into focusing on current conservation challenges that are becoming more crucial to understand in depth as our natural world changes at an ever-increasing rate, and learning about the range of threats the natural world is facing has inspired me to research these topics in depth for programme proposals in particular.


What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Don’t sell yourself short! The industry is growing and always looking for new, talented people with a genuine passion for wildlife. I’d watch current wildlife television and have a go at making your own content – it doesn’t have to be videos… it could be a blog or art – anything! Finding a way to showcase your creativity is always great too and shows genuine interest. It’s also useful to keep an eye on careers websites and search for companies offering entry level positions for recent graduates.

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

If your gut is telling you to do it… Do it! My Masters was such a great experience and also loads of fun, you’ll love it!

 

Thanks Nathalie!

You can follow Nathalie on Twitter @Nat_Nature and Instagram @nat.nature or check out her website, Nature Nat!

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

BEng Renewable Energy Engineering

MSc Graduate in Focus: Victoria Jeffers

This year we are launching a new MSc in Marine Vertebrate Ecology and Conservation and applications are open now for September 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 Victoria Jeffers, MSc Conservation and Biodiversity graduate (2014) and now the Head of Implementation – Global Conservation Programmes at Blue Ventures!

Hi Tori! It’s been five years since you studied with us, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your career to date?

Prior to undertaking the masters at Penryn, I worked for seven years in project management roles for not for profit organisations. In 2013, I decided to study for a masters to improve my research and conservation skills. Immediately after completing my masters I was lucky to get a role with Blue Ventures Conservation in Madagascar, coordinating their shark monitoring project which used smartphones to record shark catch. I moved back to the UK as Conservation Programmes Assistant and over the last 4 years have transitioned through a series of roles. I am now responsible for managing Blue Ventures’ conservation programmes in Belize, Timor-Leste and Indonesia, the UK-based Grants Management team, and overseeing progress against our conservation strategy in all of our sites of direct implementation.

You mention you already had several years experience before embarking on an MSc, what made you choose to study with us at the University of Exeter Cornwall Campus?

I chose to study at the Penryn campus due to the variety of modules offered, the course content and the location. The course structure and content were appealing as it was diverse and covered a broad range of topics/module choices. I enjoyed the course structure, the friendly lecturers and the campus – being by the sea is great!

I stayed off campus and didn’t have much time to use the full range of facilities and partake in social activities, but there is certainly lots to do. Proximity to the sea expands these opportunities (diving, surfing etc)

Excellent, what skills did you learn that helped you to develop further in your career?

So many. I learnt a lot on the technical side from the field trips, especially the overseas trip to Kenya. I also learnt a lot of softer skills through independent study and particularly my thesis which involved polishing and honing a lot of skills I hadn’t used for a while.

I learnt a lot about basic programming using R which would be super helpful for all jobs in this field.

Finally, why did you choose you career in project management and do you have any advice for anyone looking to pursue a similar career?

I chose this career to have an impact on the future state of the planet.

I enjoy that my role is very varied, involving activities from leading a team to manage the grants that facilitate our work, to designing decision making tools for teams, to trouble-shooting issues with field teams. I spend a lot of time communicating with, supporting and visiting staff all over the world and I enjoy seeing my support efforts being translated into action and impact in the field.

To have an impact in conservation you have to think about and work closely with communities. To be able to do this you need to have strong soft skills and well as technical skills so I recommend you develop good people skills and the abilities to listen, empathise and problem solve.

Get lots of experience, voluntary or otherwise. Approach organisations knowing what your skills and interests are and how you can best help the organisation in question. Study the website and language of the organization you want to work for and emulate it.

Thanks Victoria!

You can follow Victoria (@Tori_FJ) and BlueVentures (@BlueVentures) on Twitter

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

MSc Graduate in Focus: Jennifer Cruce Horeg

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 Jennifer Cruce Horeg, MSc Conservation and Biodiversity graduate (2009) and now working for the U.S. Department of Navy in Guam, Micronesia!

 

Hi Jennifer! It’s been 10 years since you studied with us, why don’t you tell us a bit about your career in that time that led you to where you are now?

I now work in Guam for the U.S. Dept of Navy as a Conservation Resource Program Manager.

After I graduated I continued to work under a grant with NOAA-NMFS to monitor the nesting sea turtle population in Ulithi Atoll, Yap, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). In 2011 I accepted a biologist/Deputy Refuge Manager position with the US Fish and Wildlife Service at the Guam National Wildlife Refuge. In 2015, I accepted a position as a Natural Resource Specialist at the Andersen Air Force Base on Guam. After two years I moved to the Joint Region Marianas Office (still on Guam) as the Conservation Resource Program Manager.

Before studying my Masters I had been living and working in Yap, FSM working under a NOAA-NMFS grant to study the nesting sea turtle population in Ulithi Atoll. I spent a year contacting schools who offered relevant masters programme’s. My goal was to continue the research in Ulithi and use the data I was collecting for a master’s thesis. All of the schools in the US stated that they would be unable to accommodate my work overseas. I would have to work on funded projects within their department. Finally, I contacted Dr. Brendan Godley who was very positive and responsive to my inquiry and thought that the MSc in Conservation and Biodiversity programme would be a perfect fit with the research project I was working with in Yap.

We’re glad you chose to study with us! What did you enjoy most about studying in Penryn?

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Penryn Campus! It was safe, comfortable, and conducive to learning.

Being from the US I was so excited to live and study overseas. The Penryn Campus is in a beautiful location. I walked about 45 minutes from my flat to campus and spent about every day, all day on campus studying and going to class. It was a safe and lovely campus. I felt like the environment helped me be and do my best.

The location is very unique being at the southern end of England in a beautiful location. Other MSc students and I students took weekend trips to tour around Falmouth, Penzance, and other southern towns for fun. The town of Penryn is very low key and quiet. I enjoyed it very much.

How did the MSc help you in your career, and do you have any advice for students looking to pursue a similar career?

Through my 10-plus year career since graduating I would say that all of the coursework we studied in the MSc in Conservation and Biodiversity has surfaced at one time or another. I appreciated how practical some of the coursework was. I also gained a group of intelligent, funny, and diverse friends from my programme that I still keep in touch with. This network of colleagues along with our instructors have helped me many times along the way.

Some of the basic skills that are needed but rarely covered in most master’s programmes’ such as: how to design and present oral and poster presentation, preparing a quality CV, writing a grant proposal, etc. I still have the instruction and templates from when I was a student and have referenced them several times during my professional career. Those were very helpful.

The programme itself was solid and fun. I grew and learned so much in my time there.

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

The key to everything is to have no perceptions or expectations – meaning keep an open mind. If possible be willing to travel. Take every opportunity to attend a lecture, presentation, conference, field training, etc. This not only helps you grow in knowledge but widens your network. Also, it helps to be nice and easy to work with. I can say that a lot of my movement up in my career has been because I am a team player and I get along well with just about anyone.

I would highly suggest any programme at Centre for Ecology and Conservation. The instructors and support staff are amazing! I have seen all of my friends from the 2007-08 MSc group go on to have amazing careers.

Thanks Jennifer!

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

The Underwater Film Festival comes to Falmouth and ExeterMarine Photo Competition!

We are super excited to announce that the Underwater Film Festival is coming to the University of Exeter, Penryn Campus! To celebrate here at ExeterMarine, we have decided to launch a photography competition!

On Friday 22nd November, together with Fourth Element, Falmouth University and the University of Exeter, we will host the Underwater Film Festival at the Penryn Campus. Doors open from 7.30pm. So clear your diaries and come and spend an evening with us delving in to the wonderful underwater world with some awe inspiring films. Be swept away, be inspired by the stories told, and be immersed in a world beneath the surface. Featuring films from greats such as Kelvin Murray, Shark Bay Films, Behind the Mask and Howard Hall as well as shorts made by students and recent graduates of both the University of Exeter and Falmouth University, it surely a night not to be missed! You can grab your tickets here, tickets start at just £5!

We will also be announcing the winners of our photography competition at the event! Prizes kindly donated by Fourth Element are as follows:

1st Place: £250 Fourth Element Voucher
1st Runner Up: £100 Fourth Element Voucher
2nd Runner Up: £50 Fourth Element Voucher

The competition is open to everyone to showcase the wonderful coastal and marine worlds here in Cornwall and Devon, but be quick! You only have 2 weeks to send us your submissions as applications will close at 23:59 on Sunday 17th November.  We are looking for images that showcase the beautiful maritime landscapes, wonderful marine wildlife, awesome underwater worlds and the diverse people that depend on the coastal and marine world in Cornwall and Devon. Everyone is welcome to submit up to two photographs to the competition. We will showcase all entries on the ExeterMarine Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds and all entries will be shown at the Underwater Film Festival on Friday 22nd November. So what are you waiting for? Submit your images here!

We look forward to seeing all of your brilliant entries and we’ll see you at the Underwater Film Festival on Friday 22nd November!

 

MSc Graduate in Focus: Ana Veiga

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 Ana Veiga, MSc Conservation and Biodiversity graduate (2009) and now Vice President of NGO Lantuna and coordinating a seabird project with BirdLife International in Cabo Verde!

Hi Ana! First off, why don’t you tell us a bit about what you have been up to since studying your MSc with us in 2009?

After graduating from Exeter, I came back to Cabo Verde and worked during six years at the National Directorate of Environment. My role was to follow up the management plans of protected areas and species conservation, I was also the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Political Focal Point and Ramsar Convention Focal Point. Since I did noonly want to work in the office, I left the government and founded an NGO called LantunaI have been implementing biodiversity conservation projects in Cabo Verde and I also do consultancies services. At the present, I am coordinating the Cabo Verde seabirds project for BirdLife International. 

 

Such amazing work! How do you think the MSc helped to prepare you for your career?

It was a key milestone in my career to broaden my view on biodiversity conservation and ecotourism. It also encouraged me to return to my country (after living 7 years in Europe) to contribute on biodiversity conservation. The conservation action planning skills gained through several subjects of the MSc Conservation and Biodiversity helped prepare me for a career in conservation project management. The program allowed me to have a cross-sectional view on conservation actions. 

The lecturers were very dynamic and the several field trips allowed students to gain a significant experience. The University support for overseas students (e.g, English class, support in english correction for the essays, etc) was very useful. 

The University offers a diversity of study programsexcellent campus facilities and continuous innovation. 

What are you plans for the future?

I chose this path due to my passion for the environment. What I most enjoy in my work is the opportunity to improve communities’ life through sustainable conservation practices.  My plans are to make Lantuna grow and keep implementing biodiversity conservation projects in Cabo Verde. I am working to promote the legalization of more protected areas. I would also like to do a PhD related with marine biodiversity. 

Finally, Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of applying to any of our programmes at the University of Exeter and pursuing a career in conservation?

My advice would be: do it for passion! Try to strengthen the relationship with the university researchers and always try to keep a close contact with them when you leave university, it might help you on your future projects. 

The University of Exeter is an excellent university and for sure it will allow you to significantly improve your skills. I’d definitely recommend this University to anyone. 

Thanks Ana!  

 

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