From Aberdeen to Saving Lives - Dr Laura PhillipsDr Laura Phillips

BSc Ecology, 2013

From Aberdeen to Saving Lives

Your Time at Aberdeen

Why did you choose to study at Aberdeen?

I did my PhD and MSc at Aberdeen after finishing BSc Ecology at UoA in 2013. I enjoyed the university, lecturers and city.

 

Why did you choose your particular course?

I chose this course as it was specific to my needs and quite unique compared to other universities.

 

What did you most enjoy about your time at Aberdeen? Did you have any particularly memorable student experiences?

The campus is gorgeous and I loved walking around, it has a buzzing and addictive atmosphere and buzz. My lecturers were very approachable and friendly and made the entire experience enjoyable and supportive from day one.

 

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?

Immerse yourself, get involved with what interests you and complement your studies with everything UoA has to offer.

Your Time After Aberdeen

What was the title of your first job after graduating from Aberdeen?

Operational Information Management Officer.

 

What did your first role involve?

I worked in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh for the UN World Food Programme, coordinating and leading information management for the Rohingya Refugee Crisis.

 

Who was your first employer?

United Nations World Food Programme.

 

What is your current job title?

Government Partnerships Officer and Special Advisor to the Director.

 

Who is your current employer?

United Nations World Food Programme.

 

What is your current role?

I handle the government partnerships portfolio of the Gulf states on behalf of the World Food Programme and I support the Country Director in the coordination of information to facilitate key decisions.

 

What is your current location?

Sana'a, Yemen.

 

Please briefly describe the journey from your first job after graduating to where you are now

I took a break from my PhD at UoA and interned for the UN Headquarters in New York, from there it snowballed my career with the UN and I was able to develop my interests in global food security with the UN World Food Programme within humanitarian emergencies. I have now served in three emergencies: Cox's Bazar - Bangladesh, Damascus - Syria, and Sana'a - Yemen.

 

Was your degree at Aberdeen essential for getting to where you are now? If so, in what way?

It was. I studied ecology, soil science and food security, all related to the objectives of the World Food Programme and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Within my studies I focused on agriculture and land use which has allowed me to integrate my studies into the overall practice and mandate of my organisation.

One Top Tip

Take time to invest in your CV and try to apply as much practical experience as you can to complement your academic studies.

You can read more about Laura's work distributing food parcels in Yemen in this article from The Press & Journal