Stirling graduates lead the way in the aquaculture sector

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A number of University of Stirling graduates have received recognition in a series of ‘women in science’ features published by a leading business organisation in the aquaculture industry.

Five alumni from the University’s Institute of Aquaculture are among those recognised by the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) – reflecting Stirling’s reputation for generating career-ready graduates.

In recent weeks, the SSPO has featured Meritxell Diez Padrisa (2008-09) and Charlotte Maddocks (2012-13), who both graduated with a MSc Aquatic Veterinary studies; Teresa Fernandez and Stephanie Horn, who left Stirling with a MSc Sustainable Aquaculture in 2015; and Stephanie Arnott who achieved a MSc Marine Biotechnology in 2016.

Andrew Davie, Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Aquaculture, said: “Everyone here at the Institute of Aquaculture is proud to see our graduates go on to enjoy successful careers. Not only are they achieving employment shortly after leaving Stirling, but they are also working their way into positions of responsibility relatively quickly.”

After graduating, Charlotte Maddocks worked as Aquaculture Manager at Tesco headquarters for three years and today is Regional Health Manager for Marine Harvest Scotland. Her role entails monitoring fish health at sea, farm visits and diagnostics, routine health management and planning.

Charlotte Maddocks

Charlotte Maddocks is Regional Health Manager for Marine Harvest Scotland.

Reflecting on her time at Stirling, she said: “Studying the Aquatic Veterinary Masters allowed me to specialise and achieve a world-recognised qualification in aquaculture, which, in turn, strengthened my CV. I met a great network of people from across the world who were all passionate about the aquatic environment.

“I enjoyed the practical aspects of the course, in particular visiting Scottish aquaculture sites on the west coast and spending a week working in the Fish Health team at the Environment Agency, undertaking disease investigations.”

She added: “I love working towards having a healthier ocean and being out on the sea in all weather.”


Stephanie Horn is a Cleaner Fish Supervisor, currently on secondment as Assistant Site Manager, for the Scottish Salmon Company. Her work revolves around developing, implementing and supervising the cleaner fish programme to ensure the husbandry, health and welfare of cleaner fish on site.

Stephanie Horn

Stephanie Horn, who works for the Scottish Salmon Company, gained 'invaluable experience and life skills' at Stirling.

“Every day I learn or experience something new,” Ms Horn explained. “I’m really interested in fish biology, environmental sustainability, and the production of Scottish salmon. The programme allows me to enjoy all of my main interests and work with people who are enthusiastic.”

During her time at Stirling, Ms Horn carried out research in Bangladesh, which she said gave her “invaluable experience and life skills”.

Encouraging others to pursue an aquaculture degree at Stirling, she added: “The course was very well structured, the staff are great and the facilities are first class. The course material is interesting and relevant, and is organised in a way that develops students’ practical abilities and employability skills.”

Biology Assistant, Teresa Fernandez, also works for the Scottish Salmon Company, monitoring fish health and wellbeing at marine and freshwater sites.

Teresa Fernandez

Biology Assistant Teresa Fernandez works for the Scottish Salmon Company.

“It was a great decision for me to study at Stirling,” she said. “It definitely opens many doors and I highly recommend it as the courses in aquaculture are exceptionally good and well known throughout the industry. In addition, the campus is wonderful and the city is absolutely beautiful.”

She added: “I love working with fish and ensuring their healthy growth. I also love seeing areas in Scotland that I would never normally get the opportunity to visit.”

Meritxell Diez Padrisa is Veterinarian and Head of Fish Health for Marine Harvest Scotland, while Stephanie Arnott is Account manager with Cargill Aqua Nutrition.

The SSPO ran the series of features between the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, on February 11, and British Science Week, March 9 – 18.

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