Sarah Woodroffe Profile
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.