Sophie Hodgson MSc Oceanography, 2002
Head of Capital at NERC
My father is a sailor and I spent a lot of time in boats at the seaside on holiday so it wasn’t surprising that I became interested in marine research. During my undergraduate degree in geology at Imperial College, I became interested in ocean basins and this inspired me to continue with this work.
I chose the University of Southampton for my Masters because the National Oceanography Centre was the best place to study the subject.
The course was great with so many highlights it’s hard to know where to begin. I was impressed at the breadth of expertise of the staff and they were so friendly, you could always tap someone on the shoulder and discuss your research. It was very much a practical programme, I enjoyed sampling on Southampton Water on board the research vessel Bill Conway and was lucky enough to take part in fieldwork on mineral zones in Portugal for my dissertation; it was just brilliant. At the time it was quite unusual for a Masters student to secure such a placement.
Taking the Masters definitely gave me the knowledge and experience to do my current job at the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). I still use a lot of the skills I learned at Southampton. As well as carrying out cutting-edge scientific research, you also develop valuable transferable skills for your career such as managing your time effectively; postgraduate study is far more intense than undergraduate level work.
As part of my job as Head of Capital at NERC, I’m still involved with Ocean and Earth Science, it’s always good to come back to Southampton, I usually bump into some people I know. You are involved in some really exciting science and we work together on some research projects such as robotic marine sensors. Working for a research council is a great opportunity to stay in touch with academic colleagues and help make things possible. The UK has some of the best environmental scientists in the world but we also help foster international collaborations which are vital for top quality research. I may go back to academia in the future, opportunities do arise and I haven’t ruled it out.