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Sarah Woodroffe Profile


Geography Alum Sarah Woodroffe


What year did you graduate? 


What subjects did you study prior to arriving in Durham? 

A level: Geography, History and English Language. 

Which degree programme did you study at Durham and why? 

BA Geography - this was dictated by my A level subjects although I did more Physical Geography over the 3 years than Human. 

What were the highlights of studying at Durham? 

I really enjoyed fieldwork, particularly on courses looking at environmental change through time (e.g. glaciation / sediment coring etc). I recall very clearly coring in the Fens close to Boston on my Level 1 Easter fieldclass and finding peat buried under several metres of silt and clay. To be told that this peat was several thousand years old and evidence of a different type of environment at this location in the past really fired my imagination. 

What was the topic of your third-year dissertation? 

I looked at sea-level changes over the past few thousand years at a site close to Skye on the west coast of Scotland. 

What are you doing now and how did your degree help prepare you? 

I am now a lecturer in Physical Geography at Durham University. I first encountered the field of Quaternary Environmental Change during my undergraduate degree at Durham and knew pretty quickly that I wanted to undertake research in this field after my degree. If I had been at a different University without the history of research and teaching in this field I might have ended up on a very different career path. 

What other skills did studying at Durham help prepare you for the world of work and your future career? 

I learnt technical fieldwork, laboratory and microscope skills that were useful during my subsequent MSc and PhD. I also learnt how to write essays and reports for different audiences and how to give a clear oral presentation of my research.