1. Where are you from, when did you do the ECE and what did you most enjoy about it?
I graduated from UCL in summer 2002, then went on to do the ECE. The course has evolved since I finished in 2003, but at the time I really enjoyed the focus upon both coastal engineering and oceanography. Also, the NOC and Highfield are great places to study.
2. What have you been up to since?
Thanks to the ECE research project I got a job as a coastal scientist working for New Forest District Council / Channel Coastal Observatory, where I spent 4-5 enjoyable years (mainly doing fieldwork). In 2008 I started a Ph.D, based in the Faculty of Engineering and Environment at the University of Southampton. This research was focused upon coastal flooding, with an emphasis upon modelling defence failures and floodplain inundation. This allowed me to use some of my previous experience but I also learned a whole load of new skills. I then worked for a year or so at the Southampton-based consultancy ABPmer, where I worked on a diverse range of projects (e.g. renewable energy, port development, aggregates). I’m now employed as a postdoctoral researcher (at the NOC), funded as part of a multidisciplinary flood research project, where I am analysing extreme sea level events.
3. What does a day in your working life involve?
It varies. The life of a full-time researcher can involve days which are quite solitary and absorbed in technical work, other days can be almost entirely spent in meetings with supervisors, colleagues and students. I quite often travel to meetings and conference. When based in the office much of my day involves data analysis (of sea level data sets usually using software such as MATLAB), reading, and working on forthcoming journal papers.
4. Have you any advice to ECE students that have only just started the course, or recently graduated?
Be enthusiastic and grab the chance to learn everything that you can – the ECE year goes quickly. It’s really important to try and develop time-management skills, show initiative (e.g. find & read coastal research papers in topics that interest you), and to get used to solving problems independently. I’m stating the obvious here, but all of this will gain respect from supervisors/lecturers & help you throughout working life!