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

Alec Bennett BSc Geophysical Sciences, 2003

Chartered Meteorologist

Alec Bennett's Photo

Alec Bennett completed his BSc Geophysical Sciences in 2003

The knowledge gained on my course was a great advantage in my later studies in meteorology at MSc and PhD level

What made you select the University of Southampton?

Excellent reputation in Earth Sciences, especially the range of modules available to geophysicists - from structural geology to space plasma physics!

What is Southampton like as a place to study?

I had an excellent time at the University of Southampton. My Halls and place of study were modern and welcoming, with plenty of opportunities for socialising - both on and off campus. I liked the feel of a campus university (like a little village) whilst having the facilities and night life of a large city a few minutes bus ride away. The city was generally very student-friendly and easy to get around by bus or foot.

What did you enjoy about the course?

I enjoyed the choice and diversity of modules available to me, allowing each student to tailor their course towards the areas of geophysics which appealed most and offered the ability to finish the course with a working knowledge of nearly every aspect of the physical Earth and even solar system! The waterfront campus was modern and impressive and I felt pleased to be able to have access to this site and its knowledgeable staff. After all, not every campus has its own research ship.

What have been the highlights of your career to date?

It was working as a senior scientist and team leader at the Met Office, where I was in charge of improving the Government's global lightning location network. I have also published 22 research papers. I am currently working in the private sector developing new meteorological monitoring sensors - including a commercial thunderstorm warning system based upon my own research in atmospheric electricity.

When you graduated what was your ambition and do you feel you’ve achieved it?

I always wanted to be a meteorologist, so tailored my undergraduate course by choosing modules to reflect my interest. I am now a Chartered Meteorologist and have worked in one of the best meteorological services in the world so feel I have indeed achieved my ambition!

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

Choose optional modules which you find most interesting. These will likely develop your interest and realise where you would like to take your future study or career. Work hard and play hard - cliché I know but I could not do either well without doing the other. Universities like Southampton offer so many academic and social opportunities that you will definitely miss once it’s all over. Get involved with the clubs and societies that sound great - you will find people with shared interests and no doubt be grateful for the opportunities and relaxation they bring. Don't forget your course mates too, you will likely see a lot of each other and revising in groups can be much more constructive, supportive and fun.

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?

Meteorology, like other areas in Earth science, offers some great careers but sometimes at only a limited amount of institutions and companies. Make full use of the diverse variety of course modules, clubs, societies and volunteering opportunities to give you a competitive advantage and also to provide you with other career options should the need arise. Aim for your ideal career of course, no matter how tough the competition - but also make provisions for a plan B.

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