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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Rebecca Keens MEnvSci Environmental Science2016

Rebecca Keens's Photo

All of the lecturers in environmental science are really enthusiastic and supportive – I receive constant encouragement to pursue both my studies and extra-curricular activities further.

Can you provide a brief summary of your time at Southampton?

Over the three years of my degree I’ve been able to specialise in Sustainable Environmental Management, gaining practical experiences with businesses and fieldwork. I’ve also taken part in a range of extra-curricular events, including Black Out and Waste Wars, two sustainability initiatives. I’ve also been part of several societies, including Enactus Southampton (2014-15), and this year I am part of St John Ambulance First Aid Society.

Why did you choose to come to Southampton?

I really like the university campus – as soon as I arrived on my first Open Day I knew it felt right. I had the option to specialise within Environmental Science, something I valued highly as there are particular areas of the discipline I’m much more interested in. I also like the importance my degree placed on employability – a lot of careers events are run specifically for our course, and they have been of great help so far in applying for graduate schemes and summer placements.

What have you enjoyed most about your course?

I have most enjoyed the field trips that we’ve been away on, with Exeter in the first year, and Swanage in my third year. The Swanage field trip in particular was great fun as I was able to design the entire research project myself, carry it out, and see it through to the submission of a journal article.

Have you undertaken a project as part of your course? What was your favourite part?

I’m currently completing a group project on writing an Environmental Management System for Southampton International Airport. I’ve enjoyed working with the people who were assigned to the group, but most of all I’ve enjoyed the site visits to the Airport, where we’ve been able to see Environmental Management in action, rather than just learning about the theory in a lecture theatre.

What are your lecturers and tutors like? Have you found them supportive?

All of the lecturers in environmental science are really enthusiastic and supportive – I receive constant encouragement to pursue both my studies and extra-curricular activities further. They are all interested in running extra-help or employability sessions, and I would be comfortable approaching any of them if I felt I had an issue with a particular module.

How did your studies on your course prepare you for your placement?

My studies have definitely given me the background knowledge to go into a workplace and communicate with employees about particular environmental issues (e.g. waste management terms, legislation, GIS). Environmental science has also provided me with critical thinking, report writing and data analysis skills, things that I used every day at RSK.

What have you learnt and how did you benefit from the experience?

I’ve learnt to apply my knowledge of environmental management to construction sites and other projects, to try and prevent and reduce negative practices. I’ve also learnt to focus less on percentages when it comes to submitting a piece of work, and more about to skills that a piece of work has improved, taught me and highlighted as being a weakness.

How do you think your course will help you in your future career?

Because of its practical nature, I believe it has given me a head start in terms of the actual application of our knowledge to real world situations. I have also had to deliver a number of professional presentations, which is definitely a skill future employees will look for.

If you could give prospective students one piece of advice, what would it be?

When choosing a degree course, study what you enjoy and what you are good at, not what you think will be most employable. It’s much easier to get through three years of study when you actually enjoy the work you put in – the sense of satisfaction will be much greater at the end. Also remember that university is not the only route you can take. Some employers will value internships and work experience just as much, and sometimes higher, than a degree.

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