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Laura Whyte

BSc (Hons) Environmental Science

I began studying Environmental Science at the University of Stirling in 2013. I greatly enjoyed the flexibility that the degree offered, as it combined all my high school passions, Geography, Biology and Chemistry, and equipped me with a large range of skills and knowledge

The Stirling campus provided the perfect setting for any Biological and Environmental Science student, with multiple fieldwork projects based on the campus itself. Equipped with a large variety of field work equipment, modern library, great lab facilities, and approachable staff, Stirling provided me with the facilities and mentors required to grow and develop as an up and coming scientist and researcher. Stirling gave me invaluable transferable skills, helping me to attain an internship and work on a reintroduction project in Australia, including:

  • public speaking
  • communication
  • geographical information systems (GIS)
  • Rstudio
  • statistical analysis
  • time management
  • scientific writing
  • laboratory and field work skills

I was presented with the opportunity to enrol into the Guelph University exchange programme in my third year, which allowed me to live and study in Canada for the entire year. It was an unforgettable experience which allowed me to explore alternative methods of teaching and writing. The fast-paced environment greatly evolved and elevated my work ethic and organisational skills.

The University of Stirling has links with conservation organisations which allowed me to volunteer and gain fieldwork skills I otherwise would not have. I worked with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to monitor hen harrier populations at Flanders Moss just outside of Stirling, it gave me a sense of what its like to work in research. I was also able to work in conjunction with British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) on my honours project in my final year, which gave me further bird expertise.

My final year steered me towards threatened species and conservation research. I undertook two modules, GIS and population and community ecology, as well as a research project. I particularly evolved from these modules as they both used real life data and case studies which was useful for considering a career in either GIS or conservation research. I reward population and community ecology as my turning point towards conservation and research as it me a greater understanding of the impact the presence, or absence, of a species in a community could have. The research project greatly enhanced my research, field and laboratory skills. It involved a research proposal, methodology of research, data collection, laboratory processing, statistical analysis, writing a full thesis, producing a conclusive and concise poster and an oral presentation of my findings,

Since graduating in 2017 I have been able to secure a year long internship with Adelaide University working with a group of people who innovatively use drones to advance conservational science and wildlife surveying. I have since been granted the opportunity to volunteer with Rewilding Australia to monitor the reintroduction of quolls, a locally extinct species to the Australian mainland. I can confidently say that my experience and time at the University of Stirling has provided me with the skills, knowledge, and links to be able to pursue a career as a researcher of threatened species.

Stirling is equipped with up-to-date laboratory facilities, fieldwork equipment, gorgeous surroundings and skilled staff which make it the ideal place to grow and develop as a biology student.

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