The University of Southampton
Engineering and the EnvironmentPostgraduate study

Felicity Lowther MSc Integrated Environmental Studies, 2015

Graduate Environmental Consultant

Felicity Lowther's Photo

I really enjoyed the varied and interesting content of the modules and combined with the support and enthusiasm from the lecturers, this course provided me with the knowledge and confidence to enter a career in environmental consulting. Multiple trips to Marwell Zoo were also a bonus!

 

What made you choose Southampton?

The department has a really good reputation, with enthusiastic lecturers and interesting course content. The university as a whole is well renowned and strong in league table rankings. I liked the layout of the university, with most facilities on one of the campuses or available nearby. The campus itself is very pretty and there are lots of nice places to both relax and study.

What were your Southampton ‘highlights’?

From day one, Southampton provided me with a number of amazing memories. Outside of my degree, my favourite highlight was participating in a dance show during my second year. Despite being pretty terrible at dancing, it was a fun experience where I met some great friends and really improved my confidence. In terms of my studies, simply graduating alongside my friends and lecturers on graduation day after a year of hard work was a moment I will never forget.

What other activities did you take advantage of while at University?

I was often told that university is an experience and you should embrace the variety of activities on offer to you. Throughout my four years I participated in dancing, archery and badminton. I was also a student ambassador and a Course Representative. All these activities were enjoyable and great way to make new friends, whilst also providing with me valuable skills that employers appreciate.

Did you have any exposure to employer involvement or research-led learning during your course? Did this help you join your chosen field or industry? If so, how?

In our Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) module we had talks from two previous students who were working on a major national project. This complemented the module and demonstrated its real-world application. I am now in the EIA team at my current job, actually working alongside one of those students who did this talk.

What did you enjoy most about your course?

The lecturers were very supportive and knowledgeable. Many of them are leaders in their field and were extremely passionate about their topics. They were all willing to put time aside to help any student educationally and personally.

The course varied greatly, with modules from freshwater ecosystems to resource and waste management. This variety kept the course interesting and provided me with a good basis for the role I am in today.

What networking, employment and work experience opportunities did you undertake and did they enhance your Southampton experience?

One opportunity I found particularly useful was the CV clinic, where experts would help you to improve your CV; often it can be difficult to write about yourself but the clinic helps you to bring out your most important skills and experiences that should be included on a CV. They were also happy to review CVs/applications for a specific job to ensure it was polished and clear.

What have been the highlights of your career to date?

I am now working in a role where I use almost 100% of what I learnt during my MSc on a day-to-day basis. I am working on major infrastructure projects and learning about a variety of different environmental disciplines. No two days are the same and I have already worked on a number of projects five months into my career.

How did your time at Southampton help you to grow as a person and help you get to where you are now?

My course provided me with such a strong base to build a career on, providing me with all the relevant background knowledge for a career in environmental consulting. This has allowed me to be more confident and informed at the start of my career and I can now build on this.

At university you grow up considerably, learning how to look after yourself and how to manage your time. Southampton was a very supportive university for this change, providing you with emotional, educational and career support.

The variety of events and societies on offer constantly made it a fun and interesting place to study.

What advice would you give to a student starting their degree at Southampton?

I would advise students to get ‘stuck-in’ with all aspects of university life; join societies, try something new and volunteer for the different opportunities on campus. I would also advise them to enjoy their degree and embrace the fortunate position they are in to have leading experts on hand to learn from.

What tips would you give to current students looking to start a career in your sector? What could they be doing now to make themselves more employable when they graduate?

I would advise students to study a variety of modules and consider those that will be relevant to their career. When it came to my dissertations, I personally found it beneficial to work with an organisation or company.

Institutions such as the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) and The Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) run many events and offer resources that are also really useful.

Lastly, enjoying university and getting involved with different societies and events will help you meet like-minded people and gain other skills which are just as important as your degree when applying for jobs.

 

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