Jessica Harvey – MSc Sustainable Aquaculture Systems graduate

Current job title: Scallop Hatchery Technician

Current employer: Ocean Conservation Trust at the National Marine Aquarium

Current location: Plymouth, UK

Being on an MSc programme led by scientists who were actively engaged in the field of study was extremely inspiring.

What have you been doing since graduation?

Two weeks after completing my masters degree, I began working at the University of Exeter as a Graduate Laboratory Technician where I had two main roles:

  • Working in fish husbandry supporting academic research within a Home Office Licensed environment
  • Assisting the management of the Biosciences research laboratories

I have since entered into my current aquaculture-based position at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth where I have been for three months.

Within my Scallop hatchery technician role, I have thoroughly enjoyed working in partnership with local scientists based at Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) including Professor Mike Allen, Dr Tom Vance and Paul Rooks. PML has assisted the hatchery with our live algae cultures which will be used for all life stages of the King Scallop (Pecten maximus). 

It is also fantastic to be part of a charity actively working towards conserving our oceans. I enjoy being in a position where I am working towards making a direct, positive impact on a specific shellfish species and contributing to a more sustainable future through the reduction of dredging.

<p>Jessica Harvey profile</p>
<p>Microscopic marine Jessica Harvey profile&nbsp;</p>

Choosing Plymouth

The main reason for choosing this MSc stemmed from my undergraduate studies. I studied BSc Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology at Plymouth. As part of the course I completed a 6 month internship in Malaysia at the Marine Ecology Research Centre (MERC). During my time there, I cultured algae, helped in the coral nursery, spawned, bred and reared 8 species of Giant Clam for conservation purposes and helped to maintain a successful soft coral bio-rock project. 

I heard numerous blasts from the destructive dynamite fishing method. This first-hand experience of destructive fishing methods paired with my love of culturing marine organisms lead me to this sustainability focused degree.

Being on an MSc programme led by scientists who were actively engaged in the field of study was extremely inspiring. It opened my eyes as to just how many different career routes there were in which I could go down with my degree. 

The group trip to Nireus, Greece was an incredible bonding experience where I made friends for life. In addition, the course included talks from several guest speakers which were interesting. They all brought a range of knowledge from all areas of aquaculture. 

I would recommend studying an MSc at the University of Plymouth because I left feeling completely ready both academically and personally, to start my career. The range of resources that were made available to me in my research project as well as support from the technical team really helped to enhance my laboratory skills and confidence.

<p>Jessica Harvey 2</p>
<p>Jessica Harvey – MSc Sustainable Aquaculture Systems graduate<br></p>

Support throughout

The support which I received from the University has been really significant in helping me to complete my studies, primarily from my supervisor who throughout was happy to meet regularly to discuss my research and general queries. 

In addition, Student Services helped me throughout by providing specialist equipment and 1-1 sessions tailored to my own needs. The Student Funding Unit also helped me to apply for some extra financial support.

I left Plymouth feeling completely ready, both academically and personally, to start my career. Plymouth has provided me with the knowledge, skills and resources to excel me in my career. I have maintained contact with several members of staff who were significant in my studies which I am extremely grateful for!