I wanted to study a course that enabled me to work with our environment, to then eventually apply that knowledge in my career. I knew that Plymouth was one of the best places to study a course in earth sciences due to both location and also a great team of staff, passionate about their teaching and research work.
The field trips, both abroad and in the UK, were a great opportunity and enabled me to gain first-hand experience of field work. The trips to Ireland, Spain and Cornwall allowed me to ‘step back in time’, visiting geological environments with evidence of historical tectonic activity in Cornwall and Spain, historical volcanic activity resulting in the deposition of pillow lava formations in Cornwall as well as boulder beaches and glacial lakes on the western coast of Ireland. Skills I developed include learning how to ‘log’ the rock and soil exposures by identifying the stratigraphy and structure, mapping skills, hand augering to extract glacial lake clay samples to name just a few! These are all skills that I have continued to use in my career, particularly mapping skills.
After graduation I worked as a graduate engineer for Geotechnics Ltd in the Midlands. I then decided to relocate back to Devon and got a job as an Engineering Geologist with Frederick Sherrell Ltd where I currently work. My job involves both phase 1 and phase 2 investigations which involve: designing and supervising ground investigations; liaising with clients, contractors and engineers; working with various drilling rigs and machines; understanding both geochemical and geotechnical lab tests to assist in design; mapping unstable terrain; remediation design; mining investigations and desk studies. I like the balance of both site and office work that the job gives me.
I have sustained ties with the university through my voluntary work with the careers department, where I mentor a student. It is great to keep links with the University and can be useful for networking and future job posts or postgraduate courses.