MSc Cultural Geography
Place of Work: Brahmaputra River Dolphin Project at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
What does your current position involve?
My current position involves providing project support to the Assistant Asia Programme Manager on the ‘Brahmaputra River Dolphin Project’, which is based in Assam, India. My main duties involve; liaising with in-country staff on specific project activities relating to fisheries, dolphin monitoring, and public engagement ; the creation of a standardised dolphin post-mortem protocol to be used by veterinary staff in India and Bangladesh; financial administration including budgeting and reconciliations as well as helping to maintain/establish relationships with relevant local and international partners.
One of the main things I love about it is the opportunity to work for such a large and influential conservation charity and working with people who are highly motivated and passionate about what they do. I have also had the opportunity to do some unusual things, for example; sitting in on a couple of harbour porpoise post-mortems carried out at the Institute of Zoology (IoZ). An additional bonus was working in an office based right in the middle of the zoo!
How did you come to get that position?
I got this internship based on previous research that I had undertaken during my MSc. I specialised in Quaternary mammals as part of my dissertation which gave me experience in the natural history and ecology of many different species and sparked an interest in the current conservation issues facing them.
How do you think your degree has helped you?
Doing a Quaternary Science MSc at Royal Holloway initially helped me to get work in the environmental sector and the interdisciplinary nature of the degree has given me a range of transferable skills and experience that have helped me to get work in a couple of different roles so far.
Undertaking an MSc degree has also really helped me to recognise what my strengths are and to focus on my interests. Without this degree I would not have had enough experience to be able to move into conservation and although it was hard work it was definitely worth it.
Do you have any advice for current students?
I would advise anyone about to undertake an MSc to really take the time to consider the direction they think their career will take or where they would like to end up before choosing their modules as with little or no work experience they are all an employer has to go on.
In my experience the modules I chose have shaped my career so far and ultimately, it was my dissertation research and the choice to take several biology-focused modules that gave me enough experience to move into conservation and to allow me to be accepted onto the internship at ZSL.