Adam Cook – BSc (Hons) Environmental Science graduate

Current employer: The Science Assembly; Dartmoor Zoological Park; Plymouth University

Current job title: Director of The Science Assembly; Head of the Dartmoor Institute of Animal Science, Dartmoor Zoological Park; Associate Lecturer

Current location: Plymouth

"My career now has a lot of strange segments like bear tracking in Italy, our own sustainable coffee brand, and animal science, but they all feed into one another nicely."

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

I started my career as a ‘Host’ at the National Marine Aquarium where I volunteered during my final year. It was a great start that allowed me to develop my ability to explain conservation and environmental issues to anyone. About a year after this, an opportunity at Dartmoor Zoo came up teaching science communication and I was lucky enough to get that. In the four years since then, I became interested in scientific research and in-situ conservation so I slowly began coordinating research at the zoo which has eventually led to the Dartmoor Institute of Animal Science being created this year. In 2013 I also started ‘The Science Assembly’ which coordinates conservation around the world and runs research projects in the South West. Due to this, I was offered an Associate Lectureship at Plymouth University where I am lucky enough to teach students about conservation. My career now has a lot of strange segments like bear tracking in Italy, our own sustainable coffee brand, and animal science, but they all feed into one another nicely.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

Since graduation I always knew I wanted to get into conservation and research. I have always had a wide range of interests so, although my career has gone in many different directions, I have always been able to fulfil all of my passions.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

I think I always felt like I needed to pick one topic and that would be my career. I have learnt that you can do a lot of different things well and that you don’t always need to follow the standard path to get there, although this was tough at the start.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

It took about two years to set up bear monitoring in Italy. Hundreds of emails and risk assessments had to be sent to make sure the students would have a fun and productive time. The best day was when I received a photo of our first twelve students, safe and sound in Italy, trekking the mountains. It was a great feeling that happens every time we get a new conservation programme going.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

Volunteering is so important. I met most of the people who have become such an important part of my own career whilst volunteering. At times I have helped others for free, and when I look to hire I will almost certainly be looking at my current volunteers.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

Without studying at Plymouth University I know I wouldn’t be doing any of what I am now. The course taught me the science I needed and to be passionate, whilst the lecturers and amazing administration staff have helped me so much in the past five years.

"I am a futurist" – Adam Cook – TEDxPlymouthUniversity

Exploring his own personal ethics and the inspiration for why he does what he does, Adam takes us on a journey through his experience of being a conservationist and entrepreneur.

In this video Adam Cook contemplates how the conversations we have about the future can help change the world.