Tom Cresswell - BSc (Hons) Ocean Science; MSc Applied Marine Science graduate
Current employer: Institute for Environmental Research, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation

Current job title: Research Scientist: Radioecology in Aquatic Ecosystems

Current location: Sydney, Australia

“I would always recommend studying at Plymouth University. The marine studies courses are recognised around the world and the research conducted at Plymouth is world class. The experience of living in Plymouth is also amazing and forms an important part of student life.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

After graduating from my MSc at Plymouth University, I took four years off to travel in South America, the South Pacific, New Zealand, and Australia. I started my PhD in Australia in 2009 and submitted my thesis in 2012. I have been working in my current position as a research scientist since 2012.

I am still involved in the marine/aquatic science that I studied for my BSc and MSc.

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

I have been fortunate that I have not had any major obstacles in my career. This was possibly because I followed a subject that I feel very passionate about and that I still find exciting every day.

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

During my PhD I got to fly around the jungles of Papua New Guinea in a helicopter collecting environmental samples… that was pretty exciting! Being able to visit a very remote location and meet people that live in the jungle was spectacular.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could?

I don’t think there is anything I would do differently as I love the job I have now and the area I live in. I took four years off between finishing my MSc at Plymouth and starting my PhD in Sydney. I think this break (working holiday) was really important to develop my understanding of what I wanted to do for a career.

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

The first bit of advice I would give would be to ensure that you are really passionate about the subject matter you are studying; if you are not excited about the material it makes it very difficult to study it and excel in that field.

Secondly, I would recommend that it is crucial to seek external collaboration and connections where possible: get involved in professional societies; collaborate with other institutions; put yourself out there to as many people as possible. You never know when you are going to get tapped on the shoulder for a position.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

The two courses I completed at Plymouth gave me the knowledge of a very broad range of subjects, which I think helped me to refine which area I wanted to follow. The practical portions of the courses were great as well.

I really enjoyed being in the heart of Plymouth, especially being able to walk down to the Hoe or the Barbican for a pint after lectures. Getting out on the Tamar on the research vessel was also great. I was a skipper for the Yacht Club and have very fond memories of Easter trips to the north of France with a bunch of students!

I would always recommend studying at Plymouth University. The marine studies courses are recognised around the world and the research conducted at Plymouth is world class. The experience of living in Plymouth is also amazing and forms an important part of student life.

Inspired by this story?

For more information about our range of marine science courses within the School of Biological and Marine Sciences, please visit the school page.

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