I’ve been involved with a lot of different conservation projects over the last year. Currently I’m Programmes Officer for a marine conservation internship company called ‘Zoox’. I supervise our volunteers, make notes for professional feedback and oversee the work experience side of their internship, which is working with a project called Green Fins - which provides environmental standards and training for the diving industry.
Daily, I might be scuba diving, or presenting to dive center staff. I could be working with one of the volunteers on one of their personal projects, providing advice and support. I send and receive a lot of emails, have my hand in writing grant proposals and articles for magazines, updating our social media…. what ever needs to be done!
Every day is different for me. It’s fantastic!
I loved the practical experience - the field trips, the lab work opportunities I got with external institutions like the Marine Biological Association and Plymouth Marine Labs. I liked a lot of things about the Uni itself, though after so much time it’s hard to pinpoint the good or the bad. I LOVED the weather. Mild(er) winters, blissful summers (when the sun is out), and … ok the wind and sideways rain wasn’t always great.
I would highly recommend going to the open days of the Uni’s you’ve gotten offers from. I had my heart set on another University, but when I arrived to look at Plymouth, I knew it was the right place for me. Sometimes you just know, you know.
Good to hear from you again. I’m sorry but I can’t make this decision for you! Both are great programmes, and it is a tough choice.
I will say go and visit them both. Get a feel for the Universities. Look at their module options, look at the lab and field work they offer, see if any of it fits in line with where you want to go after Uni. Hopefully one will feel like it fits you better!
Sounds like you’re doing loads already! Any and all experience is useful, and the more in line with your goals that experience is, the better. If you want to do more, use your summers to travel and find new experiences. You can volunteer for different organizations and conservation projects and figure out what direction within conservation/consultancy/research you want to go into. Learn to dive if you haven’t already. It’s amazing.
Do a masters if you think you can gain from it, not because it’s a masters that you can do. Those extra letters after your name are always useful, but if you are going to spend all that time and effort on a course, you might as well make sure it’s something you are passionate about and will benefit you.
Best of luck!
This is a tough question. Not because I don’t dislike anything, but because what I love can also be what frustrates me!
My friend Anna once commented that her life was a constant state of packing and unpacking. Mine is too. I love being able to go to all these different places, I miss having a stable base that is mine and only mine.
At this point my life, not having that base is a small price to pay for loving what I do. As for the rest of it, I could complain - and sometimes I do - but you have to go through it to get to the good stuff. It’s all part of the process!
*[Correction] Dive Now, It’s work anyway.
Don’t be sorry! Questions are good!
Here’s how and why I became a marine biologist: http://madasamarinebiologist.com/my-journey
One bad thing? Well there’s not just one.
- My hair… my poor poor sunned/ salted hair (although one is finding organic solutions for this in the form of coconut oil).
- My bank account. It’s quite … lonely.
- My heels. They just don’t get used any more.
- Knowing the consequences of the heinous things we do to the ocean. Sad face.
- Not being able to watch Finding Nemo without correcting things.
Really nothing that bad. And all worth it (even the hair).
And this is just describing what I do. The ocean is 2/3 of the planet, marine biology is an unimaginably large field. You might fall in love with lab work and keep your perfectly manicured hair; you might spend your days on a research vessel in Antarctica all wrapped up; you might work in conservation management and spend your evenings in heels schmoozing with rich people to get them to sponsor your project.
What ever you decide, make sure you enjoy it. Because happy on the inside means that the lack of hot water is just about bearable.
More Q&A’s here: http://madasamarinebiologist.com/faq
call-it-kizmet, the star that they are, sent me this link. It is far more useful than me, and can probably answer more of your questions (though we all know the answer is 42):
“This is a website by the US government about their education and experience requirements for federal positions in scientific fields. It’s a good benchmark (for me, at least) to figure out which classes to take at university in order to be competitive. They even have ‘research’ and ‘non-research’ requirements listed.
I figured the sections for fishery biology, animal sciences, and wildlife biology might be a good fit for ‘marine biology.’ These are the criteria used to hire people for NMFS, NOAA, and other departments particularly interested in marine biology.”
Go wild, MAAMB x
I heard Miami has a good marine biology programme, and there would be lots of opportunities to get more work experience while you were there as well! I have never regretted my education in the UK, but don’t choose based on the country - choose the course and the opportunities that work best for your goals.
Unless you really hate the cold and rain. Then choose Miami!!
Thanks for your question. My advice is keep trying! Keep emailing, call, email again. Write a killer cover letter and CV by researching the establishment and writing them to suit the position you’re applying for.
Good luck finding something paid though. You, along with so many others trying to gain experience, aren’t really in the position to bargain.
I just did a marine conservation internship with Zoox and the guys that run it are A-mazing. I know they are a little busy at the moment but if you get really stuck, drop them an email for some advice.
Hi! I have a friend from Lisbon who has had the same problem :(
Lots of countries have excellent Conservation programmes. I’m most familiar with the ones in the UK, but where you want to go also depends on what field in conservation you want to work in, what works for you financially and what language barriers there might be.
Do you want to work in the tropics? Temperate? Poles? At an ecosystem level? With endangered species? With local communities? Research? Politics? Education?
There is so much variety within “Conservation”. My advice is have a think about what interests you, what your dreams are, and use those as keywords in Google! Something will come up. Then do your research… email the institution, the professors and ask the same questions that you asked me, and more! It will give you a chance to appraise your options and get a feel for where the course can take you.