Jennifer Drew – Bath Spa University

 Student/Alumni profile 

Course studied: BSc (Hons) Geography
Graduating year: 2014

Why did you choose Bath Spa University?

When I visited the campus I felt at home. The surroundings were beautiful; everyone was so friendly and the atmosphere was relaxed. The lecturers were very helpful and passionate about their subject matter. Having lived in a small town, I didn’t want to go to a big city and Bath had everything without being too overwhelming.

"I honestly don’t think I would be where I am today if it wasn’t for the good grounding that Bath Spa gave me, and I would definitely recommend the University and course to anyone."

Why did you choose to study Geography at Bath Spa?

I have always loved the outdoors and enjoyed studying Geography at GCSE and A Level. I developed a preference for physical geography quite early on, so was looking for a course where the content was quite flexible.

The Bath Spa Geography course was perfect as it had wide range of options to choose from, so I could do mostly physical geography with a few human/developmental modules. The opportunities for field trips and the combination of theoretical and practical experience was also a big draw. 

What was the best thing about your course?

There are so many opportunities available. The highlight for me was undertaking my dissertation with the Environment Agency. I got to use high tech survey equipment and working with the Environment Agency developed my confidence and gave me an insight into how what I learnt could be applied to real life situations.

A close second to this has to be the field trip to India which was amazing and an experience I will never forget.

What did you like most about the University?

I think it has to be how friendly it was. The lecturers were very helpful and were always willing to go the extra mile. All the students supported each other as well and helped each other out.

I also joined the cheerleading team; this was one of the best decisions. I made so many friends and it was nice to have a break from studying.

What have you done since finishing the course?

Throughout the course I developed a real interest in rivers and wanted to carry on this interest, so I did an MSc in Environmental Management, specialising in Water Management, at the University of the West of England where I obtained a part-funded scholarship.

The wide range of skills and knowledge I gained in my undergraduate course provided a great basis for this course, which was focused on the application of knowledge for management purposes. I worked with local rivers trusts to investigate the impacts of cattle trampling on water quality for my thesis. This was later published in a peer reviewed journal - something I am very proud of.

Following this, in 2015 I secured a job in Cardiff working for Natural Resources Wales as a hydrologist and flood risk analyst. This involved monitoring river levels for water resource purposes and undertaking flood modelling to feed into our published flood risk maps for Wales.

I am still at Natural Resources Wales, and am coming to the end of a one-year assignment as a Development and Flood Risk Engineer, which involves advising the local authority on flood risk matters involved with planning applications, and issuing permits to customers undertaking works in or near rivers.

"...The extensive use of ArcGIS on the course greatly increased my employability, as all the major companies use this software - I use it daily in my job. My links to the Environment Agency were picked up in interviews as being of great benefit and provided a talking point."

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