Marie-Louise Korte, 2022 alumni, now an Earth Data Science Master’s student in Germany, shares her experiences on the BSc (Hons) Marine Science UHI programme in Oban and highlights the invaluable education and support she received from SAMS.
Tell us about where you are now since graduating in 2022:
After I finished uni, I spent the whole summer in Oban doing a two-month internship with the physics group at SAMS. For the better part of the summer, I was not sure about my next step. I applied for a few masters degrees in France, Germany, and the MER+ Erasmus Mundus masters as well as a job. In the end, I decided to continue studying and do my masters in Germany closer to my family. I have now completed the first year of the two-year programme I am enrolled in. I am doing the MSc Earth System Data Science and Remote Sensing at the University of Leipzig.
How did your undergraduate experience at SAMS contribute to your personal and professional development?
Because SAMS is small, I felt like I could be an active part of that community and help shape my student experience. I was on a few club committees and also the student rep during my second year. Being in those positions was challenging at times and did push me a little past my comfort zone but it also helped me grow. Knowing that I could always fall back on the support of our great HISA and SAMS support staff really helped. The internships I got to do at SAMS after my third and fourth year also helped me to strengthen my coding skills. I enjoyed the projects I was working on, especially the coding. Without those internships I don’t think I would have applied to a Master’s degree that has a focus on data science .
Looking back, what was your favourite part about being at SAMS?
My favourite part was how quickly we grew together as a community and that I got to see my friends almost every day. I also enjoyed the teaching and that we were invited to actively participate in most classes. Overall, I felt very supported at SAMS.
What parts of your marine science journey through education and since graduating have you found most challenging?
What I found hardest after graduating was deciding what to do next and leaving Oban. During my third and fourth year, I thought about different options for what I wanted to do after uni. In the end, I did not get in to some of the degrees I had applied to. I got a place on the the Erasmus Mundus programme I had applied to but without the funding, which would have made that option expensive. In the end, I had to decide between the degree in Leipzig, Germany, that I am doing now and a job I had been offered in Oban. The decision between leaving and staying was really close.
Based on your experience, do you have any advice for future students who are interested in applying to SAMS and a career in marine science?
Starting to think about options ahead of time can give some direction. But what helped me decide in the end was not just thinking about career goals but also where I wanted to be. I realised that I wanted to be closer to my family, so I moved back to Germany to continue my studies. Throughout the decision-making process, I talked to many friends and some of my lecturers and my PAT. They all helped give me different perspectives on the options I had. And while I missed Oban and SAMS after I left, I am happy with where I am now. And I think the most important thing for me was to remember that I can still change my mind.
What do you like most about your current job/course/experience?
I find my Master’s degree quite challenging because it does involve a lot of coding and statistics. I have met a lot of new people with different backgrounds which makes working on group projects interesting. Being in a new context and away from Oban in a bigger city has opened many opportunities. At the same time, I am realising that the things and skills I learned at SAMS are valuable and it helps me to show people a different perspective. Most people are also really interested in learning more about the ocean.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
At the moment, I live in central Europe. I do want to move closer to the sea again. I have not decided if I want to stay in science, but I do want to keep doing work that is in some way related to the sea. I think after finishing my Master’s degree I will focus on finding a job.