Rebecca McCuaig's childhood love of the outdoors and landscapes translated into a passion for her degree in Environmental Geoscience at Edinburgh, and she now enjoys the varied work that comes with being a consultant.
|Year of graduation||2009|
At the moment
Your time at the University
Growing up, I was always interested in the outdoors, hill walking and the natural world. At high school I enjoyed physical geography. My Geography teacher went to the Grand Canyon on holiday and brought back some photos to show the class. I think it was then that I realised I wanted to study geology and environmental sciences. When I was out hill walking I began wondering what processes could have caused the landscape to look the way it did. I realised that I just had a natural curiosity about the landscape.
The geoscience courses at Edinburgh allowed you to choose a number of modules in your first two years. I didn’t know which subjects I was most interested in so I wanted some flexibility in my choices. You could transfer degree courses before your third year depending on your interests and choices.
In environmental geoscience and in a hydrogeology module we looked at water chemistry and groundwater flow. I became intrigued by groundwater and how the chemistry of groundwaters contain a lot of clues about their environment and history. Discovering what I was interested in and that I could find a job doing that, in industry, was probably the highlight.
The field trips to Inchnadamph, Isle of Arran, Iceland and Jamaica were the most enjoyable and was a great opportunity to get to know everyone in my year.
Your experiences since leaving the University
I went on to study for a masters in Hydrogeology at Birmingham University and then got a job in Western Australia working for an Iron Ore mining company. I worked in a number of areas of water management in a mining environment. The majority of my time was spent as a site hydrogeologist. I lived in Perth on my time off and flew into the mine site for the start of my shift. I was part of a team who was responsible for over-seeing a large-scale water well drilling program in an open cast iron ore mine site.
I returned to the UK where I now work for an environmental consultancy, specialising in contaminated land and hydrogeological projects in the UK. I mostly enjoy the variety of work in consultancy where no two jobs are the same.