Priya Minhas is from Birmingham and graduated with first-class Honours from the BSc (Hons) Geology degree. She is now a research student exploring the volcanic rocks of the Sida Formation in Iceland.
“I have always been interested in geology and have probably watched every nature documentary you can think of! So, naturally this area of study was an obvious choice for me, and where better to study than a university that offers the best of both worlds – city life a stone’s throw away and the Brecon Beacons on the doorstep.
“The best modules were the ones that allowed us to travel within the UK and abroad, giving us real-life, hands-on experience in the field, using the same equipment and investigative methods you would need for a geological career.
“I really enjoyed my dissertation project, as it allowed me to focus on my interests. I researched the "Sedimentological and Diagenetic Facies Variation in the Liassic of the Vale of Glamorgan". This involved the study of a sequence of rocks, which we believed was a small island off the south Wales coast, until waters deepened, burying it in mud. It really allowed me to perfect my field and laboratory skills as I created my own sedimentary logs, collected samples and analysed the thin sections to determine the depositional history.
“All the staff are incredibly dedicated to helping everyone achieve their best. During my geological mapping module, both Dr Marios Miliorizos and Dr Sorcha Diskin took the time to come and visit our group in North Devon, to help hone our field skills and ensure we were on the right track.
“Fieldwork is vital in geology and geological understanding, and having the skills to be able to go out in the field and collect all the data and information you need is fundamental. I was exposed to a wide range of data collection methods, both observational and geophysical, including proton magnetometry, GPR, electromagnetic and resistivity surveys. We were also taught how to interpret the geophysical profiles to determine the geology of the subsurface.
“If you want a comprehensive course that gives you the best of everything, there's nowhere else to go, you create your own opportunities here and everything is achievable.
“The highlights are definitely the trips; they bring you closer together, as a course group and as friends, because of the fantastic experiences you take together and the memories you make. University is about the overall experience and I definitely feel I left with great friends, memories and strong set of skills to launch my career.
“It is also important to create your own opportunities. In my first and second years, a group of us decided to start up our own geological society. We organised social events and extra field trips related to projects we were working on. I also organised a day at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, to explore the geological and palaeontologist stores. They showed us how to make rock thin sections and the conservation techniques they use. We even had a rare opportunity to see the "The Phantom" Archaeopteryx up close and hold a dinosaur bone! That was definitely a day to remember.”