Ecology and Conservation Biology is such a course spanning zoology, botany, marine biology, oceanography and even policymaking!

Nadia Abdulhamid
Nadia Abdulhamid
My time studying Ecology and Conservation Biology
BSc Ecology and Conservation Biology
During her studies, Nadia was able to pursue her passion for marine biology and also discover areas that were new to her including tropical forest ecology and earth system sciences.
Nadia Abdulhamid

What made you decide to study BSc Ecology and Conservation Biology at Sheffield?

The universities in my home country, Egypt, did not offer undergraduate degrees in ecology and conservation, so I had my sights set on universities overseas. The University of Sheffield appealed to me due to its excellent research-based ecology and conservation biology course. Additionally, my great grandfather studied engineering at Sheffield from 1929 to 1935, making him one of the first Egyptians to study at the university. This was another motivation in my decision to study at Sheffield.

What have you enjoyed most about the course?

Well, that’s a tough one. I loved a lot of things about my course. I enjoyed a fresh cup of tea alongside my ecological identification assignments. I was thrilled by the amount of field work we received; not only did we get to see some awesome views, but we also gained insight into how ecosystems operate and interact with biotic/abiotic factors. Perhaps my favourite experience during my course was interacting regularly with my peers and professors: we exchanged valuable knowledge across a multitude of disciplines. I couldn’t ask for more!

What did you do for your third-year research project and dissertation?

My third-year project focused on assessing the effects and symptoms of the pathogen Rhizobium radiobacter on hydroponically-grown tomato plants, as well as identifying potential biocontrol agents. For this project, I worked alongside fellow students under the supervision of Professor Tim Daniell. Then for my dissertation, I discussed the fluid definitions of the Anthropocene in terms of ecology, geology, sociology, and anthropology - as well as different proposals as to how and when the Anthropocene began and what that means for humanity. I was supervised by Professor Colin Osborne, who gave me insightful feedback and advice regarding my dissertation.

What scientific skills have you developed during your course?

I have developed and refined a broad range of valuable scientific skills during my course including critical thinking, experimental design and data collection, and data analysis with RStudio. 

What transferable skills have you developed during your course?

Throughout my course I have developed important transferable skills such as teamwork, problem solving, conflict resolution, time management, writing and reading, leadership, and public speaking skills.

What do you hope to do after your degree?

I have decided to take a year out of education before applying for a masters degree. I’m hoping I can finally get my dive master’s qualification in Egypt - scuba diving experience will be really useful if I ever work in marine ecology and conservation. Throughout the next year, I hope to work with the Ministries of Environment and Education to introduce ecological and environmental studies to schools and universities across Egypt and work with Nature Conservation Egypt (NCE), a BirdLife affiliate. 

What would you say to a prospective student considering studying Ecology and Conservation Biology at Sheffield?

Ecology and Conservation Biology is a course that involves a lot of disciplines such as zoology, botany, marine biology, oceanography, molecular biology, and even a bit of policy making! It is a perfect stepping stone that opens up a lot of doors in the future. I have always been interested in marine biology, but my decision to study this broad course has allowed me to discover additional passions for tropical forest ecology and earth system sciences.

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