Women in Science – Setting Myself Apart

Laura Matthews
Posted on 08 June 2015

Laura Matthews I’ve often been asked the question – why would you do a postgraduate degree. Postgraduate education is completely different to studying for an undergraduate degree but even though it may seem like hard work the opportunities that can be gained from it are worth it.

I would encourage anyone who is considering applying but is unsure to take the leap.  Why? The small class sizes mean that education is more personal and interactive, in my masters there is a great emphasis on giving presentations which enables me to improve my public speaking and confidence and this will prepare me for any future career. The class also comprises a lot of international students so aside from the learning about the course we can get to know each other and their cultures, which is interesting and eye opening.

I chose to study something a little different, but nevertheless something I am totally passionate about. I decided to study the MSc Environmental Sustainability and Green Technology. The reason - I knew it would set me apart from other graduating students and improve my employment prospects. You might say a more specialist insight into issues that affecting society, even as I write this - whether it is climate change, or on a more regional scale energy security, food security and waste disposal.

My decision was confirmed as soon as I started, and it certainly did not disappoint. I explore new ideas and theories and delve deeper into a topic than I could in undergraduate, and I have been introduced to industry professionals who have given me an insight of how specific technologies work.

The freedom that is given for the assignments so that we can explore our own interests within a broad essay topic is something that I have enjoyed. I cannot lie and say that studying this year has been easy as it’s been really intense, stressful and hard work, but already I feel that I have learnt a lot and I hope that this knowledge will help put me in better stead when applying for jobs.

When I started the master’s qualification I chose Keele University because I had studied my undergraduate degree in Geography there, and it was a great three years. I wanted to continue my studies at Keele because of this experience and knowing that Keele has such a good reputation for sustainability.

As I was a Keele graduate I was eligible for a Keele Graduate Bursary of £1,000, which was helpful to finance the course. And now there is some great news for women to get into science subjects like these. The Keele Postgraduate Support Scheme is another tool of support trying to get underrepresented populations into postgraduate education, in particular women in science.  

It’s often difficult to finance education beyond an undergraduate degree, so this is a good financial tool to attempt to start to get more women into postgraduate education as they are in a minority especially within science disciplines. I believe that more women should consider postgraduate education as it is completely different to undergraduate, and provides you with a better idea of what you want to do as a career. Before I started the masters all I knew is that I liked a lot of aspects of geography but this course has enabled me to fine-tune my interests so I have a clearer idea of what I want to do.

Blog by postgraduate student Laura Matthews, studying MSc in Environmental Sustainability and Green Technology