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Spotlight: Skye Sands, Planetary Science Postgraduate Student at University College London

Tell us a fun fact about yourself

I have a cat called Mocha, whom I love very much.

Tell us about your career journey so far

I did my schooling in Ireland, before moving to Scotland for my undergraduate degree, Geology and Petroleum Geology BSc at the University of Aberdeen. In my final year, I had a placement at Shell, here I discovered that Petroleum didn’t inspire me. I had taken elective physics courses during my undergraduate, which lead me to choose a postgraduate degree, Planetary Science MSc at University College London.

What was your favourite subject in school and why?

At GCSE level I loved geography, but not the human side of it. I moved schools so that I could take an A-Level in Geology, as it seemed like a good fit for the physical side of geography. This was my best grade and favourite subject, so I decided to do it at the undergraduate degree level.

What subjects/qualifications are useful in your role?

Taking Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Geology at A-Level in school helped me have a good scientific understanding to tackle all aspects of geology. I wish that I had taken physics, but I was able to catch up on this knowledge during my undergraduate by taking electives. My master’s degree is in the school of Physics.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

I love to continue to learn and contribute to scientific research and development. Even the smallest discovery or research will help contribute to massive scientific breakthroughs in the future.

What is a normal day in your role like?

Geology is incredibly diverse, you can be working on a computer program, in a scientific laboratory running experiments or out in a desert doing fieldwork. I love that geology can be explored in so many ways.

Suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?

Geology is so accessible! Before I even knew what geology was, I was doing it. Go outside to a beach, a mountain or any place where there is exposed rocks. Here you can investigate the local geological history by collecting rocks, drawing samples and investigating what each one is made of! If you are lucky there might even be some fossils! You can check out your local geology on this interactive map so you know what to look out for in the field


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