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Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Alex  Coleman MSci Geology, 2014

Structural Geology and Salt Tectonics PhD Candidate

Alex  Coleman's Photo

When I visited Southampton on the University open day, I immediately liked the atmosphere as well as the green and open spaces of Highfield Campus. I knew that as my course progressed I would also spend a lot of time at NOCS and I was impressed by the facilities and the location right next to the dock. The content of the geology courses offered particularly appealed to me because of the variety; although my main interest is palaeontology I wanted to learn about a broad range of topics before choosing a career specialism.

Although the trips train us to be field geologists they also are great fun, and give us a chance to get to know the other students and lecturers really well - maybe that’s why Geology is rated so highly as a subject in student satisfaction surveys!

The lecturers I met at the open day were very friendly and enthusiastic about the subject, and as a student I’ve found them willing to put in time and effort to engage and challenge me. I have a really good rapport with my tutor, who has taken time to get to know all his tutees on an individual basis so we feel comfortable asking for support if we need it.

During the summer I completed two periods of paid work experience – one with Cambridge University’s Sedgwick Museum and CASP (Cambridge Arctic Shelf Programme), and one with engineering and development consultants Mott MacDonald. I worked with the museum’s collection of fossil specimens and rock samples, helping to sort and catalogue them. It was a great opportunity to apply the skills learned during lectures and practicals on fossil and facies identification. At Mott MacDonald’s I worked in the Land Contamination Department looking at the geology/hydrology of land sites for building construction and land use zoning.

At present, I am a postgraduate researcher at Imperial College London within the Basins Research Group (BRG). My research focuses upon salt tectonics and structural geology, but includes petroleum geology and clastic sedimentology within extensional rift basins.

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