Brighton Student bloggers

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Seniz at the South Downs National Park Authority at the Secrets of the Heath event in Borden.

Summer work experience as a uni student

Hi. I’m Seniz and I’m studying the four-year Ecology and Conservation MSci. I started university in 2019 and, as I lost out on work experience during the pandemic, I decided to get as much volunteering experience in the summer before my third year. This would help bolster my skills, CV and connections in my local community.

I also decided to work for the university to gain more financial support, as I was paid little during my placement. I then used this experience to build on even greater opportunities this summer, including becoming part of teams running events, attending week-long residential courses and building a platform for my masters dissertation at Knepp Estate, known for its rewilding and reintroduction schemes.

Summer work as a student ambassador

In terms of working for the university, I was able to apply for shifts as a student ambassador using the universities online ambassador platform. I worked many shifts, including our Professor C Gull events for primary school children to explore what it is like to study different topics and explore our campus.

I also worked at our summer school, where year 12 students could stay at the university for a week in our halls and attend different lectures and workshops.

Working as a student ambassador at a summer school for primary schoolchildren.

Experience in ecology

To gain experience in my field, I used Eventbrite to find different events and workshops I could sign up for. This began with attending a bio blitz with the South Downs National Park Authority at Cuckmere, which meant using a specialist app to identify as many species as we could! I then signed up to build a dew pond at a local primary school with Froglife, did beach cleans at the beach and attended panels such as Heal Rewilding.

I went further afield at times to attend talks at the Linnean Society in London and visit RSPB sites such as Pulborough Brooks, located west of Brighton. The latter became very beneficial as I then joined the Brighton RSPB group, which I’d go on to meet up with on walks and talks in my third year. One of my favourite experiences was at Gatwick airport. I met their ecologist at the annual open day at Moulsecoomb Open Forest. I went on to help her twice carry out butterfly transects at Gatwick and use nets to catch them and boost my identification skills!

Volunteering with students to build a pond for a local primary school.

My advice on gaining skills and contacts

In my field, the way to get your foot on the ladder is to meet many new people; through those people, you will access more events and more people. It really is who you know, which I came to learn and I used my knowledge to create a newsletter for others interested in conservation and environmentalism to find events, workshops and volunteering in the Brighton and Hove area.

Therefore, my advice is to start early, I was hindered by the COVID pandemic, but as that has passed, the summer after your first year is the best time to start gaining those amazing experiences and discovering more about your interests and even about yourself.

Student looking at their phone

Word from the uni…

Find out more about our Ecology and Conservation MSci and our range of Biology and Ecology degrees.

University of Brighton is in the top 50 universities for employability. Find out how studying here boosts your job prospects.

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Seniz Mustafa • 28th June 2023

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