Alumni Services

Laura Young

Laura Young talks about taking advantage of opportunities and being prepared to take on any challenge, however uncomfortable.


Laura Young


MSc Environmental Protection and Management

Year of leaving 2019
Laura Young

Your time at the University

In 2018 I began the geosciences Environmental Protection and Management MSc at the University of Edinburgh, and it was one of the best academic years I have completed. For a year, I was immersed in such a wide range of environmental issues, looking at everything from the soil biology to political strategies, and everything in between. I chose to study at Edinburgh because of its reputation, and academic quality. I was also extremely interested in the subject choice, and scholarships offered with this course.

The best thing about studying within the geoscience school was the breadth of knowledge and course availability across the course. There was a wide range of subjects to choose from, and topics which were extremely relevant to Scotland where I am from, and want to live and work in. While doing this masters I completed both the co-curricular pathways with the Sustainability and Social Responsibility department, which have been fundamental since graduating and beginning work.

I also took my dissertation as an opportunity to do an internship with Scottish Power Energy Networks looking at their sustainability practices across the country. As part of the course we also went on a field trip to Morocco, which was unbelievable, and something which deepened my knowledge of research immensely.

Your experiences since leaving the University

I currently work for the international development NGO Tearfund, as their newly appointed Scotland COP26 Advocacy and Campaigns Coordinator. This role is looking at how we as a charity can engage supporters in the run up to COP26 in Glasgow, while also ensuring that voices from the global south are put front and centre during discussions about climate change. I also run the environmental platform Less Waste Laura across all social media channels, but predominantly on Instagram where I am an ethical influencer. This platform has grown considerably since I began it in 2018, and now I do a breadth of work including school talks, speaking at conferences, and consulting for businesses looking to bring sustainability into their practices.

Both jobs which I do right now were not where I saw myself working. I saw myself going down a very science heavy role in a graduate type scheme, however, it is clear that as time moves on, more and more businesses are looking for environmentally minded people to join their team and improve their practices.

I also took my dissertation as an opportunity to do an internship with Scottish Power Energy Networks looking at their sustainability practices across the country.

Laura Young

Alumni wisdom

My advice for all students, is that while you have the university contacts and resources at your finger tips, use them! Take every opportunity possible to do extra curricular activities, such as the co-curricular pathway courses or internships, as these provide essential experience which is needed when working. I got to where I am today from really gripping every experience, no matter how uncomfortable it might have been at the time. The people skills, presenting skills, and ability to adapt in environments was all stuff I learned from outwith the academic learning.

If you are looking to study at Edinburgh, make sure that you check out what courses suit you, and seek out the projects staff themselves are working on. There is so much opportunity at Edinburgh, so make sure to not let it skip you by!

Related links

MSc Environmental Protection and Management

Less Waste Laura (external link)