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Emma Scott 2015

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Environmental Science is quite a niche subject and Southampton had a really good reputation for it. When I came for an interview all the lecturers were really friendly and I immediately felt at home.

I’ve learnt field techniques and background knowledge on wildlife conservation… It’s given me the knowledge I need to get a career in the field I want.

What made you choose to come to study at Southampton?

My main reason for studying here was for my course. It’s quite a niche subject and Southampton had a really good reputation for it. When I came for an interview all the lecturers were really friendly and I immediately felt at home.

My second reason was just a feeling. Walking around campus it just felt right. Everything was exactly how I’d pictured my university experience. I think it really helped being a campus university, with everything close together, but also I really liked how green the campus was. I felt right at home!

What have been your Southampton ‘highlights’ (best experiences) so far?

I really enjoyed Freshers Week, I think for everyone that is the most memorable part of university. The vast amount of events put on and the friendliness of everyone just made it so easy to make friends and have fun! But I’ve also really enjoyed getting involved with university events, such as Blackout and volunteering in local schools for Bioblitz. There are always great ways to make new friends and do something different.

What opportunities have you taken up (within your degree programme and extra-curricular)? In what ways are they helping your personal development?

In my second year I was Social Secretary for Environmental Science Student Society. This was a great experience as I got to organise big events such as the Summer and Christmas Balls for the students and lecturers on my course. This built my organisational and time management skills in particular, having to juggle my toughest (academically) term at university while also organising a Christmas Ball for around 100 people! But it was also important for building my social skills and confidence, especially in Freshers Week, where we organised a social with all the first years, it was really important to talk to everyone and make them feel comfortable and ensure they were having fun.

I’ve also taken part in Blackout, where we worked in teams to turn off all the equipment across the university for a weekend. This really built my communication and team working skills!

Bioblitz was really worthwhile as well. We ran biology lessons in a group of a few students for years 5, 6, 7 and 8. This was great for my confidence and leadership skills, having to take charge of a group of children. Also when things didn’t quite work out we really had to use our initiative to come up with new ideas on the spot.

What are you enjoying most about your course?

I’ve really enjoyed how much variety there is on my course. In my first year we would go on a field trip almost every week to get some real experience in field work, which is great for our course and really helped when it came to conducting my dissertation. Also, because of the nature of my course, I could take modules with geologists, geographers, biologists and many more. One day I could be learning about rock formations and the next I could be learning about evolution. This was great because lectures were never dull! And in third year there is the option to choose the route you want to specialise, which for me was the biological side of environmental science.

Do you have the opportunity to study modules outside of your core subject area, and how do you think they are adding to your experience / will affect your future plans?

Yes! This is vital for my course. I’d say the majority of my modules are actually biology, as they specialise in what I’m interested in which is biodiversity and conservation. It’s given me the knowledge I need to get a career in the field I want.

Do you have any idea of what you would like to do in the future? Have the opportunities you have taken up while at the University helped you have a clearer idea of what you might like to do?

In the next few months I’m undertaking volunteer projects in a few different countries across the world. Firstly Costa Rica to carry out research and monitoring of turtles at a Canadian run biological research station (Caño Palma). I’m then going to spend six weeks doing research on orangutans in Borneo (with Outrop). Finally I’m spending six weeks volunteering with Carnivore Research Malawi. I’ll be working with conservation organisations, who would not have accepted me without the degree that I have earned! Taking biology and environmental science modules I’ve learnt field techniques and background knowledge on wildlife conservation which will be vital in what I plan to do.

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