BSc (Hons) Zoology, 1996
From Aberdeen to Filming the Oceans
Your Time at Aberdeen
Why did you choose to study at Aberdeen?
Of all the possible universities around the UK that I looked into, Aberdeen ticked all the right boxes - great facilities, great course and tutors, a great small town-like feel within a vibrant city.
Why did you choose your particular course?
The Aberdeen Zoology course offered me all that I wanted to pursue, along with additional subjects I could explore.
What did you most enjoy about your time at Aberdeen? Did you have any particularly memorable student experiences?
Like many students I had to get a paying job to supplement my livelihood and I realised from an early start that the more I worked the less I spent and the more I had when I needed to spend. I also chose some great venues to work in, so I actually had paid entertainment for free as well as a myriad of new friends from all walks of life. It also meant that once I finished university i had no debts to potentially hold me back.
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?
One of the main reasons I chose Aberdeen was the array of great white-water rivers that can be reached within a short space of time for Kayaking. I joined the Aberdeen Uni canoe club straight away and when we weren't playing canoe polo in the Uni pool, we were usually down at my favourite river, the North Esk. I then took up Scuba diving and became heavily involved in running the club for the last two years of my time at Aberdeen. Some of my most memorable adventures were within these clubs.
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?
It’s an old saying and maybe cheesy but without a doubt the best advice any oldie can give a young 'un is " the more you put in, the more you get out." Nothing can be closer to the truth with the time you spend at Uni, and I mean that for both studies and extra-curricular sports, clubs, paid work and so on. Just try not to burn the candle at both ends (another oldie phrase!)
Your Time After Aberdeen
What was the title of your first job after graduating from Aberdeen?
Coral Reef Scientist.
What did your first role involve?
During my final year at Aberdeen Uni, myself and five other fellow students put together, organised, funded and prepared for a four-month Coral Reef Research expedition in the South China Sea in collaboration with the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (East Malaysia). It was a great success and an amazing experience, which kind of set my post-University course for me and for the next 23 years of my life living in Malaysia.
What is your current job title?
CEO & DOP of Scubazoo Images.
Who is your current employer?
I am self-employed.
What is your current role?
CEO of SE Asia’s largest natural history filming company and professional cameraman.
What is your current location?
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.
Describe the journey from your first job after graduating to where you are now.
After the success of our first four-month coral reef expedition we were encouraged to look for funding and head back to Malaysia to carry out an extensive survey around the entire coast of Sabah, East Malaysia (North Borneo). This next expedition took eight months to complete and then led me into running a turtle research program for six months on the east coast of Sabah in the Turtle Islands. Within days of finishing this position I then met and started filming with my now current business partner.
Was your degree at Aberdeen essential for getting to where you are now? If so, in what way?
In a lot of ways yes, but it was also greatly aided by everything else that i learnt at Uni and from living in Aberdeen: the ethos to work hard for something you are passionate in, to look around me and not straight in front of me for opportunities, independence and of course my scuba diving skills.
One Top Tip
You have a long life ahead of you, and only one. Choose what you are passionate about and what makes you happy moving forwards and everything else will fall into place, and remember, never regret the things you do but regret the things you don’t.
Find out more about Simon and his work at the website for his company, Scubazoo.