Postdoctoral researcher, Lecturer
B.S. EAS 2008
University of Oxford, Worcester College, Department of Earth Sciences
What is your favorite part of your current position:
My favorite part of my current position is the flexibility to pursue my own research interests and the additional opportunities I have to teach. For the past 2+ years I have been developing a research project outside the realm of my Ph.D. thesis (what my current grant is funding), while continuing to pursue unanswered questions stemming from my thesis through successful small fund proposals. I have also had the opportunity to connect with a large group of undergraduates through small-group tutorials, larger class-size lectures, and acting as advisor for individual Master thesis projects. Day-to-day life includes lab work, writing proposals, analyzing data, meeting with students, teaching classes, peer-reviewing articles, drafting papers, and of course assisting with instrument maintenance (often the most head-banging activity of all but what I find the most fun!).
How did your EAS education prepare you for your current job?:
EAS education, particularly the graduate classes, provided most of the foundational knowledge that I use in my everyday scientific investigations. I have all my course notes in Dropbox folders ready to access, as well as multiple textbooks from my EAS degree sitting on my office shelf here in Oxford. The book that I find myself opening most is “Matlab recipes for Earth Science”, as well as the texts and powerpoint slides from Kim Cobb’s stable and radiogenic isotope class— more recently to use to advise my own students on their Masters projects.
What do you wish you had known as an EAS undergraduate in order to land the job of your dreams?:
If you plan to go on to graduate school and pursue an academic career, the most important thing you can do as an undergraduate is demonstrate your potential in a research setting— take advantage of the many undergraduate research opportunities available to you, either in EAS or another department. If you plan on going into industry, pursue opportunities as an intern (or if possible paid position) with a company/government agency/non-profit with work similar to your interests. Engineering courses as electives may also be a helpful addition. Following my BS degree in EAS I gained a position as a “Project Engineer” working in a small private consulting firm with expertise in air permitting. My name had been passed to the manager/owner of the company from my supervisor at a non-profit environmental organization I volunteered at in the afternoons a few days a week during my senior year.