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Case Study: Ewan

Personal details
Degree:BSc Marine and Environmental Biology Profile picture
School(s): School of Biology
Year of Graduation:Jun-2007
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: British Antarctic Survey
Job title: Fieldwork Assistant/Biologist
Occupational Sector: Environmental Work
What has been your route to getting your current position?

Just five months before my graduation, my thoughts turned to life beyond St Andrews. Following a Fourth Year course in marine mammal biology, I decided to follow a lifelong interest, and pursue a career in the exciting area of marine mammal science. I applied to the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in the early Spring, and was invited to interview shortly before the May exams. Happily, the interview went as well as I could have imagined and I wasn’t kept waiting too long before being told that I had been successful. I was to take over as the seal fieldwork assistant/biologist on Bird Island, to the western end of South Georgia, about 1200 miles to the southeast of the South American continent, and surrounded by the frigid waters south of the polar front.

What does your job involve ?
Bird Island is home to 65,000 Antarctic fur seals, which were to fall under the remit of my work for the next two-and-a-half years spent living and working here. I arrived at the beginning of November, and so far the job has been action-packed and absolutely captivating. The wildlife on Bird Island is unbelievable and I feel extremely fortunate to be here. I never envisaged myself working long hours in an office, and here I am in the sub-Antarctic, where my ‘office’ is a seal breeding beach.
What are the best bits of your job ?
Why were you successful?
I put my successful application down to a combination of hard work at St Andrews, an array of other hobbies and additional experience, a keen passion for wildlife and a strong desire to work in this incredible place.
What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?