Geography graduate Amy Haworth Johns

Where were you born and brought up?

North London

What exactly did you study for your degree and what grade did you get?

BSc (Hons) Geography and achieved a 2:1. My modules focused on investigating past climate change and using such data for predicting future (social and environmental) trends and patterns. My dissertation used palynology to determine the impact of climatic changes on the settlement patterns of Snowdon during the Iron and Bronze Ages.

Why did you choose to study geography? 

I loved the subject at school and always remained balanced between an interest of both physical and human geography. I am a keen traveller and, since a young age, have loved the natural world. I am lucky to have been brought up in a family who also enjoy such things!

What were the highlights of your degree? 

Plymouth was a great place to learn and having the 3rd year field trip to Iceland gave us the opportunity to implement out theoretical knowledge in a practical scenario. This is really helpful when I carried out primary research of my own during my masters degree.

Another great aspect was the sheer variety on offer! I took modules which varied from predicting future climate patterns to the geographical impact of the British Empire. Learning such diverse topics gave me a great grounding for postgraduate study.

What have you done since you graduated? 

Distinction in MA (Hons) Disaster Adaptation and Development at Kings College London.

What job are you in now?

I have worked in the charity sector since graduating my MA. I am currently in the role of social media specialist and community manager at an NGO called ‘Climate Revolution’ which is run by British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood DBE. My role involves staying on top of current trends, breaking news and political movements in the social justice and environmentalist sector. It requires excellent research skills and a specialist experience of the bridge between popular culture, social media and activism.

I also am a frequent contributor to ENCA, an NGO which focuses on social justice and environmental protection in Central America. I have had articles published in their quarter-annually magazine. This would not have been possible without geography as a subject and being in Plymouth specifically, as my connection with Central America stemmed from opportunities, which arose from a lecturer in the third year. I am also a trustee for a second charity The Santa Rosa Fund, which supports a range of educational and social projects in Nicaragua.

How has your geography degree helped you and how useful has it been in your career so far?

Without my degree in geography I would never have gain such an in-depth understanding of the world around me. It is this fascination that led me to postgraduate education and into the charity sector. Geography opened up a lot of doors and it’s great to hear the sheer scope of jobs my classmates are now in. There is no other degree where this variety is offered.

The skills gained in personal research, meeting deadlines and writing in a professional capacity have stayed with me since my days in Plymouth. Another helpful skill was, in fact, networking. Attending extra lectures and seminars gave the opportunity to meet with leading academics in their field; this helped to ignite the passion and can often provide valuable advice.

Did you expect or plan to be doing what you are doing now?

No! When I left Plymouth I was set on my MA and going into disaster management. Upon graduating my MA it was vital I gained more experience so for 18 months I have been working with international and UK-based charities, which focus on environmental protection, gender equality, social development and environmental justice.

Would you recommend others to study geography for a degree?

100 per cent! It is a brilliant chance to understand the processes that shape the world around us and our impact upon the surrounding environment. Personally, these are important factors to be aware of and a degree in geography will set you in good standing. The only thing factor I found frustrating was there wasn’t enough time to go really deeply into a subject. But that is why I chose to go onto PG education.