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Alumni

Ben Ralston

Career Path: Conservation Advisor at Northumbrian Water
Location:

What was it about the course at Northumbria that particularly appealed?

I enjoyed biology at A-level and knew that I wanted to pursue a career in biological sciences, however I didn't have a particular focus or direction.  The BSc Applied Biology course content really appealed to me because it covered such a broad range of modules from genetics to applied ecology - giving me the opportunity to explore my interests before focusing on a particular sector in the final year.  

What qualifications did you have?

I had 10 GCSEs (grades A-C), A-levels Biology, Chemistry and Psychology and AS-level Fine Art.

What did you like most about the course?

I loved the progressive nature of the course. In the sense that you developed a firm foundation of scientific understanding in the first two years, then in the final year could really get your teeth into the cutting edge issues that took your interest, in modules such as bioethics and the research project.

What did you do after you graduated?

I did an MSc in Environmental Management at Sunderland University which helped me further refine my knowledge and skills gained during my BSc.  I did an eight week placement at Northumbrian Water, working on the Tees Water Colour Project, which I ended up writing my thesis on while doing a six month secondment covering for a member of the Conservation Team who went travelling. Very stressful!

How did you get your degree relevant job?

Conveniently a six month secondment opened up in the Northumbrian Water Conservation Team just as my placement finished.  I applied for it and was given the post.  I then had about four or five short term extensions until I was awarded a permanent position.

What are you doing now?

I'm still working at Northumbrian Water Ltd. as a Conservation Advisor, learning new things and facing new challenges every day.

How did your degree at Northumbria benefit your career?

I think studying the links between science and its applications within wider society gave me a head start for a career in ecology and conservation because so many of the skills I learnt during my BSc were transferable.   

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