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

Mira Stenman MSci Marine Biology

4th year

Mira Stenman's Photo

Hi, I'm Mira Stenman and I studied MSci Marine Biology within Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS) at the University of Southampton.

Not only are the facilities here amazing, but the level of teaching and support offered to students is top notch. I really enjoy learning about all the different kinds of research going on within NOCS.

I’d always been interested in the ocean and marine life, but it wasn’t until 10th grade that it occurred to me that I could take marine biology as a subject at university and make a career out of it. The University of Southampton seemed like the best place for marine biology in terms of research opportunities, teaching, and facilities. I was especially drawn in by all the practical work that the course offers – especially the fourth year trip to Bermuda. I didn’t get a chance to visit the university during Open Days, but I read about what previous students had to say and compared Southampton with other universities. In the end I decided that the MSci Marine Biology course at Southampton would be my first choice, with the BSc Marine Biology as my second – I wanted to double my chances of coming to NOCS.

Not only are the facilities (building, library, student centre) amazing, but the level of teaching and support offered to students is top notch. I was surprised at how many of the lecturers go on research cruises and international conferences and report back! I really enjoy working in NOCS and hearing about the different kinds of research going on within the building. There are lots of opportunities to get involved with any of the scientists around the building and I’ve even run into a few of my previous employers when they’ve come to NOCS for a conference or research. Studying at such a well-known university has also opened internship opportunities, like two research cruises I went on last summer for the Finnish Institute of Marine Research, in order to look at the factors controlling plankton blooms in the Baltic.

Throughout the year the university offers courses like the RYA Powerboat and scuba diving that are enjoyable and enhance employability. There are also numerous chances to help older students or lectures with their projects. I got a lot of help from other students when I was collecting data for my Master’s Project in Calshot. Students are kept informed about surveying opportunities via a mailing list, which makes it very easy to get involved. It’s a great chance to go out, have fun, and improve surveying and identification skills at the same time.

Southampton is an active city and quite big, but not so big that getting to places is difficult. I cycle everywhere and in my opinion it’s the easiest, fastest, and cheapest way to get around. The city offers lots of cycling routes and most people who live here are used to lots of cyclists riding around.  The history of Southampton is also quite fascinating and there are lots of historical monuments and buildings around to explore – along with newer attractions for those with very active social lives.

After graduation I’m looking to get a job or PhD position looking at the effect of anthropogenic actions, such as building or drilling, on the marine environment. How humans impact marine life has always been a topic of interest for me as I think that humans should be doing all they can to preserve nature.

Southampton has a lot to offer and I really wish that I’d discovered some of the places and people earlier; however, I’m really glad that I had the chance to come here for my studies. I’ll be sad to leave the university and city, but I will leave with the knowledge that I studied at one of the top Oceanography Centres in the world.

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