This past year I have completed my Environmental Sciences BSc(Hons) degree at Brighton with first class honours, receiving the Environmental Sciences award for best overall performance and completing a placement year in industry. It is thanks to all of my supervisors, lecturers, support staff and fellow students at the University of Brighton, that I was able to achieve this, and I wish to share with you how studying Environmental Sciences at Brighton put me in a position to succeed.
I decided to study Environmental Sciences as I had an interest in nature and I became aware of issues concerning climate change and pollution becoming more prominent in politics, news, and our everyday lives. I chose Brighton because being on the South Downs, with chalk cliff coastlines and marine protected areas, puts you in a setting of natural beauty which helps you appreciate the real-life application of studying and researching environmental sciences. Due to how broad this subject area is, choosing optional modules really helps you to experiment with what interests you the most, without limiting yourself before starting your degree. For example, in my first year I selected optional modules focused on marine biology and ecosystems, I then in my second year chose geology-based modules, and finally, settled on and focused my research interests on atmospheric sciences in my dissertation and final year.
My favourite modules (besides atmospheric sciences) are tied into my favourite university experiences, and that is two international field trips, to Greece and Sicily. Greece was a great experience as it is where I got to know my course mates and lecturers in first year, whilst on the flanks of Mount Etna, Sicily, we conducted independent group research projects, where my passion for environmental research really came to fruition. The University of Brighton provides outstanding educational services and experiences, illustrated well by these international field trips.
Between my second and final year, I spent a placement year working in a geological laboratory, testing the physical and chemical properties of raw clay materials for the roofing industry. Brighton’s career services were vital in me getting this opportunity, as they have excellent contacts to potential employers and are extremely helpful in creating CVs and personal statements that give you the best opportunity to be offered the job. I believe a placement experience is one of the best ways as student you can leave university with good grades and improve your employability. It gives you a year in-between your studies to earn some money, develop industry contacts, improve your CV and consider what you want to do for you dissertation, all whilst gaining extra module credits to booster your final degree grade.
My dissertation, which investigated changes to atmospheric chemistry as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns in the UK, is currently being reviewed for publication in an academic peer-reviewed journal. I was extremely lucky to be supervised by the incredibly supportive Dr Kevin Wyche, who helped me achieve the most out of my research project, which resulted in us presenting findings worthy of publication. Since completing my degree, I have continued at the University of Brighton to complete an Atmospheric Science MRes, where I am supporting the implementation of state-of-the-art air pollution measurement instruments. My hope is that with my experience, I can be lucky enough to receive a PhD studentship and continue the research I love and realised through my Environmental Sciences undergraduate degree.