The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre SouthamptonOur alumni

Helen Godwin MSc ECE, 2014

Coastal Modeller at ABPmer

Helen Godwin's Photo

I have always had a keen interest in the environment around me. During my undergraduate degree in Environmental Science, I undertook modules in climate change, with particular focus on rising sea levels and temperatures and the challenges faced by vulnerable coastal communities in the years to come. Towards the end of my three years, I knew this was an area I wanted to learn more about and gain a greater understanding.

The course provides you with so many skills that there are so many different paths you can take after finishing the course.

Why did you choose to study MSc Engineering in the Coastal Environment at Southampton?

Knowing the reputation of the University of Southampton for engineering and marine sciences, I researched more into potential courses that would help me further my interest. As soon as I saw the course description for the Engineering in the Coastal environment course, I knew that was the best course for me. The main thing that caught my attention was the split between the School of Engineering and the Environment and School of Ocean and Earth Science, something not offered by any other University, and that provided great opportunities for further research. It was definitely the best decision I could have made.

What were the best things about studying your course at Southampton?

There were so many amazing things about the course. For me, having the opportunity for to carry out fieldwork on the university boat Bill Conway was a fantastic experience and the opportunity to learn more about coastal processes and modelling was definitely the highlight for me, and helped me realise the kind of career I wanted to pursue once the course finished.

What was your standout highlight during the course?

The main highlight for me was definitely the applied sediment dynamics module. This was a three week module that involved both fieldwork and group work, as well as an individual report. It gave us the opportunity to take responsibility for our own project, ensuring all boat work and lab work was properly planned. It also gave an insight into the type of work we could be doing in consultancy after graduation, an aspect that definitely influenced my decision for my current career.

Any career highlights?

I have now been at ABPmer for a year and a half and in that time have been involved in a wide range of exciting projects, including the modelling of managed realignment options, coastal structures and metocean studies for offshore developments, as well as being involved in feasibility studies for Tidal Lagoon Power Limited.

What do you want to do in the future? What was your career path following graduation from your course?

The main thing I want to achieve in the next few years is professional chartership with IMARest and continue to improve my skills within the field.

What advice would you give to students hoping to follow in your footsteps?

The course provides you with so many skills that there are so many different paths you can take after finishing the course. My main piece of advice is to work hard, but also have fun. I met people on my course who, although only with them for a year, are now some of my closest friends. When it comes to your dissertation, if you have an idea of what you would like to do, then start talking to lecturers as soon as you can, it makes things a lot easier later on. When looking for a job, start looking around early and try not to limit yourself too much as there are many jobs out there in the industry that you may not have realised existed. I didn’t know what kind of job I wanted until quite late in the course, and although I didn’t get the job until a few months after finishing, it was definitely worth the wait!

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