Samantha McNeil

Current Job Title: Assistant Ecologist

Current Employer: Atkins Ltd

Current Location: London

"The main reason I chose environmental consultancy with Plymouth is because of the two-month placement it offered as part of the course. Lots of ecology/environmental jobs want you to already have experience, so I thought the placement would be the best chance to gain contacts and a bit of experience. I don’t think I’d be where I am today without it."

"Staff were very willing to help with extra information on subjects and extra help, particularly with QGIS issues. The lecturer teaching QGIS would be more than happy to address issues and help on projects that where nothing to do with him. My dissertation supervisor was also very supportive with every aspect of the dissertation."

"We had guest speakers talk to us about the different career paths we could take following our course. It was very inspiring to hear from past students, as well as professionals working in the environmental industry for many years."

"I wasn’t totally sure where I wanted my career to go, I just knew I wanted to work with animals and the environment. My course at Plymouth showed me the wide variety of environmental career paths I could take and how to achieve them."

"My favourite memory of studying at Plymouth is visiting Devon Great Consols where arsenic used to be mined. The area was so fascinating and it was great to gain information on the different aspects that go into regeneration around mines, as well as the environmental health, economic, and social sides to mining."

"My course at Plymouth had a great focus on preparing us for getting a job. They were vigilant with CV editing, provided practice interviews, and gave us a great insight into what lies ahead by having potential placements talk to us about the work they do."

"Each person that I know from a different course has expressed how much they’ve enjoyed their time and how it has helped them to get a job after university. There are so many facilities you can use for extra support, whether that’s with your studies or with getting a job after. One particular thing I liked was the amount of computer space there was to carry out coursework outside of normal university hours. You can also continue to get support after you have graduated as you can still use the careers service where they can help you edit your CV and cover letter for up to a few years after graduating."

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<b></b>Samantha McNeil, MSc
Environmental Consultancy<b> </b>



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<b></b>Samantha McNeil, MSc
Environmental Consultancy<b> </b>



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<b></b>Samantha McNeil, MSc
Environmental Consultancy<b> </b>



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"I only took a placement during my MSc, which was for a total of nine-weeks. However, my placement really kick-started my long-term career plans. The company was recommended to me by a lecturer who knew the kind of work I had decided to go into and I ended up working for that company for one and a half years. That job prepared me for the job I have now."

"Since completing my studies, I have been working as an assistant ecologist. I started with Devon Wildlife Consultants (DWC) part-time, shortly after my nine-week placement with them, while I worked on my dissertation. I became full-time in April 2020. During this time, I also helped out with dormouse monitoring checks at two site locations. My work with DWC was not permanent, however, so I looked for additional ecology work and started working for Atkins in November 2020. During my time with DWC I was able to gain lots of valuable knowledge and skills, working on a variety of projects and carrying out different types of surveys and monitoring, all of which I hope to take further in my new role with Atkins."

"I have also continued to work on the project that I was involved in for my dissertation in collaboration with the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust. I helped them with collecting data and went on to write two magazine articles with them, one of which I am lead author on."

"The most exciting thing I have done is helped with building an artificial badger sett. Once complete we put trail cameras out to see if they would use it. Within days they were digging at the entrances, going into the sett, and scent marking. It was very satisfying to see that even though their sett would be affected (under licence of course) that they had this new safer home to eventually make full use of. It was a great couple of weeks! But in all honesty I get excited carrying out any wildlife surveys - it never gets old and most of the time I don’t feel like I’m working because the job is so enjoyable."