Jessica Elvidge, BSc Biological Sciences

Jessica - BSc Biological Sciences alumna
'My degree ultimately meant that I was the ideal person for the job I've just got'
Jessica Elvidge

Current role

I've just moved into a new job working at the BBC on the new BBC Earth brand, which is the umbrella brand covering all Natural History output, as a community manager. I work in the social media team in the commercial business but work directly with the Natural History Unit.

Since graduating I've spent my work life in community management, web editorial and social media management. While I was at University I spent a lot of my spare time writing for a travel website and took these skills (rather than my animal biology interest) into my career. I am beyond thrilled to now be able to merge the two in something that resembles my dream job!

Outline the course you studied at the University of Birmingham and how it benefited you?

I took the course (Biological Sciences - Animal Biology) at the University of Birmingham to study the main interest I'd had since I was a child - animals and the natural world. I had a long-held dream to work at the Natural History Unit at the BBC and I took the course with the hope it would facilitate that.

The course started with teaching general advanced biology in the first and early second year, and allowed me to study the areas I was most interested in in specific detail from the mid-second year onwards, with a field trip and a dissertation term studying parrot behaviour (complete with two of my very own parrots).

While you can see from my work history it didn't directly lead to my dream career straight from University (I worked for BBC Birmingham briefly after graduating but couldn't afford to support myself on the freelance hours), my degree ultimately meant that I was the ideal person for the job I've just got.

How did you find your first year in Birmingham?

Hectic. It's difficult to remember now I look back on it, but I remember mostly the freedom, new and fascinating people everywhere, the wonderful Vale environment.

How did going to University as a whole benefit you?

It allowed me to explore in detail my favourite subject. It put me away from my previous comfort zone and forced me to work independently. Of course it also taught me to branch out, meet new people, survive on my own. 

How did you find campus life?

One of the main reasons I chose Birmingham (aside from the course) was the blend of campus with city centre - both the central campus and the Vale are within a short distance of town, but are both independent enough away from it. Selly Oak was the perfect place for second and third year too - with all my friends living within a square half-mile or so! 

How did you find living in Birmingham?

Yes - it was great. I don't know what I expected really, but I felt at home enough to stay for extended periods during the Easter and Summer holidays. My housemate worked for niteline which I was really proud of her for - it made me aware of the support networks at the University (though luckily I didn't need to make use of them - my friends were good enough!)  

Did you join any student societies during your studies?

I was quite closely involved with SLOBS - student life outside Biosciences.

Any tips to pass on to students thinking of coming here?

Live on the Vale, make the most of your acres of spare time (you'll miss it when you work full time), don't drink too much, go on the field trips.

What are your aspirations for the future?

I hope to continue working with the greatest Natural History content producers in the world for some time yet - fingers crossed :)