I am currently working towards obtaining a PhD from Keele University

Year studied MSc Geoscience Research

2015/2016

Undergraduate degree

Geology with Physical Geography from Keele University

Current employment

PhD Student at Keele University.

What did you do after graduation and how did you get this job?

After starting my MSc in September 2015 I soon decided that I wanted to pursue further research and go onto study for a PhD. I started looking for PhD projects in Volcanology and Igneous Petrology in November 2015. I decided to also apply for an open PhD at Keele University where I proposed my own research project with supervision and guidance from Dr Ralf Gertisser and received an interview. I was then offered this PhD starting in September 2016.

At the interview I presented some of my MSc work and discussed some aspects of my project in depth with the interview panel. Following the interview, I was then fortunate enough to be offered the PhD project which started a few days after I submitted my Master’s thesis.

What does your job involve?

I am currently working towards obtaining a PhD from Keele University. As I have just started my project I have not yet fully decided on all of the specific details of the project. Although, this project will examine the transitions in eruption styles of arc eruptions, specifically the Aeolian Islands, Italy. As part of my PhD, I also work as a laboratory demonstrator in undergraduate practical classes and on field courses.

My PhD project will incorporate and build upon many of the skills that I obtained during my Master’s degree as I will use detailed petrographic and geochemical studies as part of my project. As part of my PhD, I will undertake fieldwork in the Aeolian Islands to collect samples for the project, and then analyse these samples using; whole-rock major and trace element geochemistry, mineral chemistry, melt inclusion analyses, and quantitative textural analyses.

 What did you learn on the MSc Geoscience Research which helped you get the job, or helps with your role now?

The MSc in Geoscience Research enabled me to develop many of the fundamental interdisciplinary skills required to go onto further research, as a large focus of the course was on developing the necessary research training skills. A large proportion of my project was lab based, enabling me to develop correct laboratory working practices in addition to sample preparation procedures and method testing for major element analyses. I was also given the opportunity to undertake fieldwork on Santorini to collect samples used as part of my project. This enabled me to get to grips and take ownership of my project relatively quickly as I knew the direction I wanted the project to go in.  All of these skills obtained during this project have given a good grounding to further develop during the course of my PhD. Furthermore, the knowledge that I gained during my Master’s degree on the geochemical and petrographical variations in the Skaros lava shield, Santorini, Greece also provided me with a good understanding of several key magmatic processes occurring within magmatic systems which can then be applied to my PhD.

As part of my MSc I also had the opportunity to attend an internal conference and present some of my Master’s work to a non-subject specific audience. This developed my confidence vastly when presenting and also made me convey my MSc research project to people outside of my research field.

Do you have any advice for current/prospective MSc Geoscience Research students interested in a similar career?

This course helped me develop many of the fundamental research skills and knowledge required when completing further research. I think that the course gives students a good grounding for further research as it has a large emphasis on research training and developing the necessary research skills. I think that it is important to try and gain as much laboratory and practical experience during this course and make sure that you maintain a good working relationship with your supervisor.

I would advise students to treat their MSc as a full-time job as it is largely research based and requires you to be self-driven to succeed. If you want to go onto a PhD I would advise you to look at advertised projects early and utilise all of the opportunities given to you at Keele as this will enhance your CV and increase your chances of getting a PhD.