From Passion to Profession: Career Paths in Ecology for First-Gen and Working-Class Students

Are you passionate about ecology, but unsure of your career path? Do you identify as first-generation and/or working-class? If so, this is the event for you!

We are excited to invite you to our first online panel event hosted by the SEED Network, where we’ll be demystifying career paths in ecology.

Join us for “From Passion to Profession: Career Paths in Ecology for First-Gen and Working-Class Students” for a free online event that offers a unique opportunity to hear from four inspiring first-generation and/or working-class ecologists. This is your opportunity to connect with professionals and like-minded ecologists who share your passion ecology. Together, we discuss the different career avenues within academia and the private sector, and there will be an opportunity to engage with the panel and ask questions.

Our distinguished panel of expert speakers consists of leading professionals who have broken these barriers themselves. They will share their wisdom, experiences, and insights into navigating the socioeconomic challenges within ecology. Their diverse backgrounds and career paths will truly inspire you, providing invaluable guidance for your own journey.

Meet our chair!

Dr Chris Jeffs. Chris began his career as an academic, and holds a BA in Biological Sciences, MRes in Entomology and DPhil in Ecology. However, Chris decided to change his career path to focus on public engagement, science communication and career development work at the British Ecological Society. He has worked as a freelance science communicator, mentor/tutor, and project manager. Currently he works at the University of Oxford as a career advisor.

Meet our panel!

Emily Blackwell: Emily holds a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science (specialising in Biology/Ecology) and a HNC Forestry. Emily has been working in the Soil Association forestry team since 2002 and spent more than four years managing the Asia-Pacific portfolio from Australia before returning to the UK. She is a qualified auditor for forest management and chain of custody and has spent more than seven years as the Forestry Technical Manager at Soil Association head office. She is currently Forestry Training Development Manager at Soil Association head office in the UK. Emily has conducted audits and delivered certification training in many countries in Europe, Asia and Australia.

Dr Sridhar Halali: Sridhar is fascinated by the diversity of life forms on the planet, their bizarre morphologies, and behaviours. He is an evolutionary ecologist with a core interest in deciphering mechanisms that generate this diversity using butterflies as models. He draws on inspiration from natural history observations to generate new ideas often by simply asking the ‘why’ question. Currently he is working as a postdoctoral researcher at Lund University in Sweden, but prior to this, he undertook his PhD at the University of Cambridge.

Dr Zarah Pattison: Zarah is a Senior Lecturer in Plant Sciences at the University of Stirling. Her research focuses on the drivers, impacts and management of plant invasions, particularly in freshwater habitats, in the UK and sub-Saharan Africa. Zarah is also passionate about making fieldwork safe and inclusive. After a 10 year career in make-up artistry, she traded in her brushes and palettes for waders and waterproofs to pursue a research career, being the first in her family to attend university.

Joshua Styles: Joshua is a principle ecologist and botanical specialist. He is a science communicator with a background in botany and conservation. He was awarded a BSc in Ecology and MSc in Biological Recording and Environmental Management. He is also the author of the Edge Hill University Biodiversity Action Plan, founder of the North West Rare Plant Initiative (NWRPI) and founder of British Botany Training.

Dr Catherine Burton: Catherine is UK ecology lead for a specialist engineering and consultancy business. Starting off her career in academia Catherine has gone on to work for The WIldlife Trusts and ecological consultancies. She has a particular passion for invertebrate ecology, having undertaken a PhD and postdoctorate in social insects and evolutionary biology. Catherine now specialises in habitat restoration and is a trustee of Wharfedale Naturalists Society and Wildlife Friendly Otley.

This event has now sold out. We will however be recording the event so please sign up to the SEED Mailing List below to get a link to the recording once it’s ready.

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