In this blog we spoke to MSc Ecology and Evolutionary Biology student Amelia-Rose McKenzie. Amelia joined Queen Mary in 2015, taking a BSc in Zoology before going on to do her Masters’ degree. She discusses her experience of Queen Mary University of London from undergraduate to postgraduate level and her plans for the future.
5 March 2019
How was your undergraduate experience at Queen Mary?
I really enjoyed the Zoology course. It is hard work and challenging at times but you learn so much. The Zoology programme has a relatively smaller group of students so I built close friendships with the other students on my course. Most of all, the field trips were amazing and very worthwhile. I was able to go on five field trips - Somerset, Scotland, Croatia, Canada and South Africa.
A lot of students choose courses like the Zoology programme because they’ve considered a future in ecological surveys or consultancy, things that are practical based. Although lectures and the theory are important, you also need the practical side such as field and lab work. For example in South Africa we did camera trapping, a useful method in Ecological Surveying. If I decide to go into this area in the future, I will be able to apply what I learnt directly from my undergraduate degree.
Why did you decide to stay at Queen Mary for your Masters degree?
I’ve been here for three years and I like the lecturers and atmosphere of the University and the campus. As a Masters in only one year, it also felt unnecessary to start all over again in a new environment. Certainly being here, knowing where everything is, such as the library, means I do not have that added distraction of having to get used to a completely new university with different processes and systems – it’s been really easy to get started and has allowed me to focus completely on my course.
By the end of my Zoology degree, I knew I liked Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, so a Masters degree that encompassed both of these was a really great fit for me. The MSc Ecology and Evolutionary Biology programme also has some practical fieldwork, which takes place in Borneo. I’m going there in April and I’m really excited about that experience.
What are your plans for the future?
I will most likely undertake a PhD in the future but immediately after my Master’s degree I would like to get a job in an area such as ecological surveying. One part of my course is an independent research project so depending on how that goes and how I feel about the experience, it might confirm whether I see my future in research or industry.