Joanne Makin

makin-joanneMSci Biological Sciences (Graduated 2013)

“Undertaking field research projects to Norway, Florida, Greece and Turkey provided me with invaluable experience of surveying protected habitats and species, as well as species identification skills, which I use in my work as an Ecologist.”

What I have been doing since graduation

Currently I work as an Assistant Ecologist at The Landscape Partnership. My role is to identify potential ecological constraints and opportunities at proposed development sites and appraise the ecological impact of development proposals. This involves surveying various protected species followed by the design and planning of effective mitigation strategies to ensure their protection. I now hold survey licences for bats, great crested newts and dormice. I work in a multi-discipline practice with Landscape Architects, Arboriculturists and Environmental Planners and have gained a good understanding of these disciplines and how we can work together for the benefit of the project. As part of business development, I have undertaken a number of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) events to other professionals including planning consultants and architects to promote a greater understanding of ecology and our services.

Following graduation I gained an entry-level position at an ecology consultancy company, working as a Junior Consultant. I provided survey support to the consultancy team whilst developing skills in report writing. I then joined The Landscape Partnership in my current role, where I have now worked for two years.

During this time I have gained protected species surveying experience with great crested newts, bats and reptiles. I have also developed a broad understanding of ecological appraisals and the UK planning system.

I have now progressed to the role of Assistant Ecologist at The Landscape Partnership. I now lead ecological surveys including ecological appraisals and a range of protected species surveys including bats, great crested newts and reptiles, as well as badgers, otters and water voles.

makin-joanne-norwayJoanne on Norway fieldtrip

How my course benefited me

The Biological Sciences course provided a breadth of interesting modules to choose from. Throughout the four year undergraduate masters course, I was able to tailor the course to my interests and specialise in ecology and conservation.

Undertaking field research projects to Norway, Florida, Greece and Turkey provided me with invaluable experience of surveying protected habitats and species, as well as species identification skills, which I use in my work as an Ecologist.

The final year of the undergraduate masters taught me useful research and project management skills which have become increasingly relevant as my role has developed.

My first year in Birmingham

My first year in Birmingham gave me time to settle into a new way of life at university, which was both interesting and exciting. It was a great opportunity to meet new people and make friends on my course, whilst studying a wide range of biological subjects to give me the foundation of knowledge I needed for the years that followed.

How going to University benefitted me

Going to university provided me with the understanding of biological and ecological principles that I use in my work as an Ecologist, as well as great personal opportunities and experiences. My time at university also gave me a range of skills that I use day-to-day, from communicating with others to ecological survey techniques.

Campus life

Campus life was great! It was really easy to get involved in events and there was a university community feel.

Living in Birmingham

Living in Birmingham was fantastic. The city has a wide range of events throughout the year, lots going on and great student community.

Student societies I took part in

Working as a School of Biosciences Student Ambassador was really fun giving me the chance to meet prospective students and show them around the university, knowing I was in their position a year or so before.

As a Student Representative on the Student Staff Committee we made positive changes to the School of Biosciences, both representing and supporting projects that the students of the School cared about.

I was part of the Medical School Women's Football Team. We trained once a week, played in a five-a-side league as well as a 11-a-side league at weekends, with various socials in between.

The University of Birmingham provides a wealth of opportunities for students to develop and pursue their interests both, within and outside of academic life.

My future aspirations

I wish to continue my career working as an Ecologist and develop into a more senior role, working towards becoming a Chartered Ecologist and, as part of this, advancing my knowledge of all areas of ecology.