Alumni Services

Menu

Erin McFadden

Days after submitting her MSc Marine Systems and Policies dissertation, Erin McFadden embarked on a new career path as part of the Frozen Planet II production team with the BBC Natural History Unit.

Name Erin McFadden
Degree  MSc Marine Systems and Policies
Year of graduation 2018

Your time at the University  

Erin McFadden

Edinburgh offered a course unlike those offered by other scientific institutions – by combining science with policy and law; the Marine Systems and Policy course offered a chance to further my scientific knowledge, while also providing an understanding of how our scientific knowledge can most effectively be used to instigate meaningful change.

What is more, Edinburgh allowed me a chance to return home to Scotland and embrace a year alongside my family and friends. Having spent seven years in the expedition diving industry, I enjoyed a career that took me across the globe, from the tropics to the poles and many places in between. Being outdoors, and exploring the ocean is undoubtedly where I am happiest, yet being away from Scotland for so many years reminded me how fortunate I am to call this place home.

My choice to study in Edinburgh was also possible due to the generous scholarships on offer. It is no secret that a postgraduate education can be an expensive and unattainable expense for many, even myself who had been working for many years prior to choosing to embark on an MSc. The Highly Skilled Workforce Scholarship ensured I could enrol on this course without taking on crippling loans. The education system in Scotland is generous for all the right reasons, and something that should never to be taken for granted. There are few education systems in the world offering the support Scotland can offer its students.

Your experiences since leaving the University

Three days following submission of my MSc dissertation I found myself walking into the BBC Natural History Offices in Bristol and embarking on a new career path as part of the Frozen Planet II production team.

My role as a Researcher involves a lot more than researching new stories: it encompasses every stage of pre and post production, and luckily for me it involves a lot of time in locations most people just cannot get to.

With no prior experience in TV, I do believe my strong expedition background with years of experience in the polar regions - combined with a strong academic record – are key reasons I was offered this job.

Working alongside the team who produced Blue Planet II, I am surrounded by endless talent in the form of Producers, Researchers, Camera Operators, Scientists and creative minds. I watched Blue Planet II while studying for the MSc. While learning how to create informed policy, I watched first hand the effect Blue Planet II had on a nation. Policies are changing because Blue Planet II catalysed a nation to care; it broke through the heavy and cumbersome barriers of science and policy and stunned a global audience as to the reality of the ocean and its inhabitants in the 21st century.

By autumn 2021, we hope to have the same effect with Frozen Planet II – this time drawing attention to climate change and its unavoidable reality. Many of our film shoots have been affected by unprecedented weather events - we are watching and living the reality unfolding every day.

My role as a Researcher involves a lot more than researching new stories: it encompasses every stage of pre and post production, and luckily for me it involves a lot of time in locations most people just cannot get to.

Erin McFadden

Alumni wisdom

I recently heard the Oscar Wilde quote, "Be yourself, everybody else is taken… " While at university I noticed a real desire within many people to compare themselves to others, and I’m sure we’re all guilty of it. Have the confidence to know what inspires you and drives you as a person - go out and seek it and don’t wait for someone to hand it to you. Most importantly, don’t forget the family members and friends who surround you.

Related links

MSc Marine Systems and Policies

Social Responsibility and Sustainability at the University

BBC Studios (external link)