Charlotte McLean

After graduating from the School...

Since graduating from the University of Glasgow, I have embarked on a career in applied research. After completing my degree, I stayed at the University of Glasgow and graduated with my PhD in physical volcanology, during which time I conducted fieldwork in the USA, Iceland and Scotland. My PhD was also associated with an industry consortium which enabled me to develop links with industry and academic members. This association led to my current role working for CASP, a geological research company in Cambridge which undertakes field, literature and analysis-based studies in frontier sedimentary basins.

As a geologist on the Flood Basalts Project within CASP, I am currently conducting field-based research in Ethiopia to try to elucidate the impacts of volcanics on sedimentary systems. This role offers me the benefits of conducting ground-breaking research with an industry focus whilst still participating in the academic world.

What did you value about the degree?

The degree at the University of Glasgow provides not only the knowledge needed to excel in research but also teaches you the critical thinking skills needed to apply that knowledge to a broad scope of problems. These extremely valuable skills are sought after in a wide range of careers both within the geological realm and outside it. The structure of the programme also allows you to develop your independent enquiry and provides an opportunity for geological investigation in current and cutting edge topics. There is the potential that you can even contribute to the academic world before you’ve even graduated!

What really stood out for me about this degree, however, was the world class field training it provided. The extensive field programme enables you to apply the knowledge you learn in lectures to real world situations, building on your skill set with every field trip. In my current role, I still rely on the field skills I developed during my undergraduate degree. Not only are the field classes highly beneficial but they also provide the opportunity to establish lifelong friendships. There is no better degree for finding your family.

Do you have any advice for prospective students?

Seek out every opportunity! There are so many amazing opportunities that can be had if you look for them. Run outreach events, go to a conference, get a summer internship, undertake extra fieldwork - don’t just do the minimum. Not only will you have fantastic experiences that you will remember forever but when it comes to finding a career after graduating having as many transferable skills as possible will help you to achieve your career aspirations and will help your career evolve. That being said, enjoy the degree because there is no other experience like it.