The University of Southampton
Engineering and the EnvironmentUndergraduate study

Lydia Butler BSc Environmental Sciences

Lydia Butler's Photo

What I learned was how to truly apply the theory I had learnt during my degree, and know how it would be used in a real future employment situation. I really believe that is the strength of the course here at Southampton and sets it apart from other courses as it has great emphasis on how to apply the theory from lectures and give you really important career development skills.

“The best part of my degree was the practical nature of the coursework. For example I got the opportunity to write a preliminary Environmental Impact Report for a fictional wind farm across the other side of Southampton Water and write a report about the circular economy commercial and Industrial waste management. We were told to be creative about how waste can be reused by other businesses using real data from South East and working with Southampton City Council.

What I learned was how to truly apply the theory I had learnt during my degree, and know how it would be used in a real future employment situation. I really believe that is the strength of the course here at Southampton and sets it apart from other courses as it has great emphasis on how to apply the theory from lectures and give you really important career development skills.

The lecturers were great because they were always really attentive to all the students, knowing them all by name. By the end of the three years students on the course all feel like they know certain lecturers on a much more personal basis, with true respect and pride for their research, ambition, and academic achievements, knowing that in return, they have an interest in the student's future ambitions and careers.

I’m also the Ethical and Environmental Officer at the Students’ Union which has been great because it defined my career path into Corporate Sustainability. It enabled me great insight into all the sustainability operations within the University and the Union, as I was able to attend meetings about carbon management, procurement, waste management and biodiversity. Secondly, it enabled me to see the wider context of how sustainability fits into all areas of business activities and apply theory from my degree. More importantly it has allowed me to begin to build on the work of my predecessors and implement better environmental management and sustainability practices within the Union and create a legacy.

I did my final year research project on Development in an evolving global society: A systematic time analysis of global and local progress towards the Millennium Development Goals from 1990-2015. I chose this project because I wanted to apply my analytical skills and knowledge gained from my degree into the wider context of sustainable development covering areas of policy, poverty and well-being as well as just the environment.

The best thing about doing the project was being able to spend long periods of time working on it and perfecting it so that it truly became my own creation.

I learned a lot of time management skills over the period of doing my dissertation, but I also developed a lot in my data analysis, as i had data on 8 Millennium Development Goals, for all the countries in the world, and had to find patterns within all that data.

After I’ve graduated, I will be working at Samsung Electronics as their CSR and Sustainability Graduate.

I really respect big business. Although business is what drives consumerism, resulting in a range of environmental impacts, they are also in the best position to drive really sustainable and influential large scale change. I’m really excited about it because I get to be part of that positive change. One small positive change to a policy within a company like Samsung could impact upon thousands of people and drive change within hundreds of small businesses within their supply chains. I am really looking forward to being part of that, as I like to know I can make a difference in the world.

I will spend the first year working in the European Sustainability Affairs Team, supporting Samsung’s online sustainability presence, evaluating competitors’ eco-design credentials and working on bids. After this I will move over to the European Corporate Citizenship Team to support charity and community programmes, work with subsidiaries and do analysis and reporting.

I want to encourage future students to aim high. I got my job because of how good the Environmental Science course at Southampton is and because i wasn't scared of taking time out of my degree to get really good experience with the Union. Companies really like to see that students know their content, but also know how to apply it and can think with a business mindset.

My ambition is to one day become the sustainability manager of a large multinational company and lead a team of people towards implementing more sustainable business practices across the world and through their supply chains.

My one piece of advice for prospective students would be not to be scared of having big ambitions, and to take everything you learn in class, and think of its application in business. You want to get a good degree classification, but the more important thing is to prove your worth outside of exams. You need to soak up as much detail and inspiration from your lecturers as possible because you will never get this opportunity again.”

 

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