From Aberdeen to Promoting Science - Jessica BrookJessica Brook

BSc Biology, 2019 & MSc Soil Science, 2020
From Aberdeen to Promoting Science

Your Time at Aberdeen

Why did you choose to study at Aberdeen?
For my undergraduate studies I particularly wanted to study in Aberdeen because I didn't want to be too far away from the family farm. As soon as I entered the campus at King's College I knew this was the university for me.

Why did you choose your particular course?
I have always loved being outdoors and particularly enjoy working with animals. Biology was one of my favourite subjects at Secondary School and the BSc degree course at the University of Aberdeen provided a great foundation in many diverse fields of biology, before allowing me to specialise in Soil Science. As an undergraduate I completed a 3-month individual research project in Soil Science supervised by a university professor, and in collaboration with a large supermarket chain. The BSc Biology course also enabled me to become a member of the Royal Society of Biology. Additionally, the University of Aberdeen offers the only dedicated Soil Science MSc degree in the UK. Its specialist department produces world-leading research and provides the opportunity to use progressive analytical techniques in field and laboratory environments while working with leading academics.

What did you most enjoy about your time at Aberdeen? Did you have any particularly memorable student experiences?
The favourite part of my studies was the field trips. They were a great opportunity to meet others on my course and to gain hands-on experience, putting what we'd learned in lectures into practice. I also had the opportunity to travel to Catalonia for my studies which was an amazing experience.

If you were involved in any clubs and societies as a student, what did you enjoy most about them and what benefit do you think they have for students?
I enjoyed the many different societies the University of Aberdeen has to offer; I was a member of a number of musical ensembles and trained regularly for athletics at Aberdeen Sports Village. Making friends with so many different people during these activities was a highlight for me.

Did you hold any student leadership roles, e.g. Class Rep, Club Treasurer, Social Convenor?
I was Postgraduate School Convenor for the School of Biological Sciences and I was also Postgraduate Representative of Programmes taught in Science, Engineering, Medicine and Physical Sciences on Senate.

Did you undertake any co-curricular activities while at Aberdeen, e.g. Aberdeen Internships, Career Mentoring, STAR Award?
During my Postgraduate studies I gained the Silver STAR Award.

If while at Aberdeen you benefited from a scholarship, what was the scholarship and what difference did it make to your time at Aberdeen?
For my postgraduate studies I successfully applied for funding from the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust Centenary Award 2019. This award is for postgraduate study for students committed to the future of agriculture.

If talking to a group of prospective students, what advice would you give them to help them make the most of their time at the University of Aberdeen?
Get involved! Try out something you have always wanted to do by joining a university sports group or society. Good grades are important but being at university brings so many other opportunities.

Your Time After Aberdeen

What was the title of your first job after graduating from Aberdeen?
Education Engagement Officer at TechFest.

What did your first role involve?
After completing my undergraduate degree I worked as summer intern for TechFest, an Aberdeen-based science communications charity. I created and delivered hands-on STEM activities and worked as part of a team to provide an accessible, exciting and diverse programme of events. I engaged with a range of individuals including corporate oil company representatives, teachers and the general public, and led and managed a team of seasonal employees.

What is your current job title?
Public & Digital Programme Coordinator at Aberdeen Science Centre.

What is your current role?
On completion of my MSc studies, I was successful in becoming Public & Digital Programme Coordinator at Aberdeen Science Centre. The centre has recently undergone a £6 million transformation and in this new and exciting role I am able to really develop the centre's digital content.

Please briefly describe the journey from your first job after graduating to where you are now.
My first job after graduating provided me with excellent grounding in science education and team working and it was in this role I realised I had a passion for science communication. I particularly enjoy developing workshops and digital science activities, helping people to understand that science is for everyone.

Was your degree at Aberdeen essential for getting to where you are now? If so, in what way?
The University of Aberdeen played a key role in shaping my career. The transferable skills and graduate attributes I developed throughout my studies are ones I continue to use in my current role and in day-to-day life. For example, as part of my undergraduate studies I had the opportunity to deliver science workshops to a local primary school, gaining valuable skills in science communication, and for my honours project I studied the impact of lime amendments on soil health in collaboration with a large supermarket chain. Additionally, I was a Student Mentor where I developed my active listening skills and provided pastoral and academic support to mentees, while maintaining a sense of professionalism and confidentiality.

One Top Tip

Try new things even if you're not sure they're for you.