Victoria Sleight

Current employer: Cambridge University

Current job title: Postdoctoral Fellow

Current location: Cambridge

“Studying marine biology at Plymouth moulded my natural curiosity into that of a scientist.”

Tell us what you have been doing since completing your studies.

In October 2013 I started a PhD in marine biology at the British Antarctic Survey. My research is all about sea shells and how they are made by the animals which live in them. Most of my work focuses on a species that lives in sub-zero temperatures: it’s called the Antarctic clam.

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

The best thing about my job is simply the privilege of doing science. Being the first person to uncover some of nature’s secrets, no matter how big or small, is really exciting.

What was your main reason for choosing to study your course at Plymouth? With hindsight how significant was this for you?

The main reason I chose Plymouth to study marine biology was the incredibly friendly staff. When I went to visit and enquire about the course everyone was so helpful and enthusiastic, and I knew from that day that Plymouth would be a good place for me. I had no idea at the time, but choosing to study marine biology at Plymouth was probably the best choice I could ever have made. The people are what make the marine biology course standout, and it’s the people who mentored me and sent me off into the world of research with a fantastic training and personal recommendations to match.

How did studying at Plymouth change your career aspirations and plans?

Before I started my degree I didn’t really have any idea about what science and research was about. Studying marine biology at Plymouth moulded my natural curiosity into that of a scientist. I have no doubt that I wouldn’t be pursuing a career in science if it wasn’t for Plymouth.

What is your favourite memory of studying for your degree at Plymouth?

My favourite memories are all centred around fieldwork. There’s nothing better as an undergraduate student than being out in the field, on the rocky shore, in a boat, on a beach, with your lecturers. Fieldwork is a very special time for any student, as you get to peer into the living world and see the amazing diversity of life with your own eyes.

How well did Plymouth prepare you for the challenges that you have faced, or will face, in your career?

I don’t think I could have been any better prepared for a career in marine biology research than by the training I was given at Plymouth.

Why would you recommend undertaking a course with the University?

Plymouth is the perfect place to study marine biology. The location is key: being surrounded by lots of amazing research and conservation organisations provides a real wealth of opportunities for students; and, aside from the natural location, the teaching on the marine biology program is exceptional.

Lecture on a beach on the Portugal field course