Emma is an Ecological Survey Assistant with Just Mammals LLP

Emma Higgins Biology

Emma Higgins graduated in 2014 with a First Class Honours degree in BSc (Biology). Emma is now studying for a Masters degree with the University whilst working at ecological consultancy company Just Mammals.

"When I first began to look at Universities I was set on doing a degree in Zoology, as that was the aspect of Biology I most enjoyed during my time at school. However I began looking into Biology as a whole and I began to realise that there were other aspects of Biology I also enjoyed that would not be covered under a zoology degree alone. I decided that I could get the best of both if I decided to do a degree in Biology alone and then specialize at a later date when I had more of a feel for what aspect of Biology I wanted to go into as a career.
When I visited the University on an Open Day it won me over instantly. I had been to other university open days however none were as organised as that in South Wales and the facilities were much better than many of the other universities I had visited. You could instantly tell the enthusiasm of the lecturers about the subjects they were teaching and the degree courses themselves. The lecturers knew the current students by name and you could see that they weren’t too busy to help if students needed it, which is very appealing when you are first about to begin university.

As part of the course there were several local field trips to carry out practical work which is very useful to gain experience. Along with the local field trips there was also an optional Tropical Ecology module in the second year where we travelled to Sabah, Borneo to carry out biodiversity surveys in both the forests of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary and coral reefs off Pulau Gaya Island. The practical element of the course has been extremely useful in not only learning how to carry out such surveys but also to add to your CV.

Now I’ve graduated, I am studying an MSc in Conservation and GIS at the University of South Wales. I'm also working as an Ecological Survey Assistant with Just Mammals LLP, which is an ecological consultancy based near Brecon. My role involves carrying out surveys of protected species, including bats and reptiles, and extended phase one habitat surveys, and then analysing the data and writing reports for each of the surveys conducted. The position is a placement through a company called Go Wales, however I was first made aware of the placement by Dr David Lee, who sent out an email with the placement details and guidance on applying to his third year BSc Biology students.. The placement will give me experience in working within an ecological consultancy in South Wales and will also help me gain more practical survey experience."