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News > Student Biographies > Emily Flowers, Biology Alumna (1999-2001)

Emily Flowers, Biology Alumna (1999-2001)

Read about Emily Flowers who studied Biology at Hills Road and what she has gone on to do since then

Emily Flowers - student of Biology, Chemistry and Dance at Hills Road
Emily Flowers - student of Biology, Chemistry and Dance at Hills Road

"I studied A-levels in Biology, Chemistry and Dance. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do then and I didn’t fully apply myself to say the least, although I was in the football team and scored a few goals! I enjoyed Biology, especially the field course in Brancaster. Studying sand dunes and salt marshes spoke to my long standing interest in nature and science, and the experience sowed a seed of interest in ecology and understanding the natural world. I’ll never forget standing in line with my fellow students walking through a muddy salt marsh with our eyes closed to experience the changing nature of the ground underfoot! I found Ian Harvey’s knowledge and enthusiasm of Biology infectious and inspiring.

After leaving Hills I studied for a Marketing and Advertising diploma in London which was interesting, but after a year I realised that it wasn’t challenging me. I wanted to study the natural world, especially marine ecosystems, and so I decided to apply for a degree in Marine and Freshwater Biology at Queen Mary, University of London. I was given a place based on my interview with one of the course lecturers and I was delighted! My first degree was an amazing experience, academically and socially (I met some of my best and life-long friends whilst there) and three years later I graduated with a first class honours. For my final year research project I conducted research on microbial methane production from a chalk stream and this work was published as part of a science paper. This experience sparked an interest in microbial communities and the important role they play in mineral cycling and other ecosystem functions. I then embarked on a research degree at Cardiff University on microbial diversity and function in estuarine sediments and graduated with a Master’s.

Since leaving Cardiff University I’ve had quite a diverse career; I’ve worked at an education charity in Cambridge, as a post-doctoral research assistant in soil research at the Natural History Museum in London and as a data manager at a fundraising company. I think studying Biology has given me many transferable skills, which I’ve applied and built upon in the work place. I now work for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) which is the largest independent funder of environmental science, training and innovation. I’ve managed the main science advisory board for the organisation and I now work in the innovation team building partnerships between researchers, government and industry to translate, research and solve environmental challenges."

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