SAMS UHI 2022 alumni, Kayleigh Roche, shares her journey from Marine Science undergrad to Aquaculture Master’s student. 

Tell us about where you are now since graduating in 2022:

I am currently in Crete, Greece, in my second semester of the Aquaculture, Environment and Society (ACES) Master’s programme, a two-year Erasmus Mundus programme that moves around aquaculture research centres in Scotland (at SAMS), France and Greece. I applied for the programme while finishing my undergraduate degree at SAMS and started the programme in September after graduation.

How did your undergraduate experience at SAMS contribute to your personal and professional development? 

I feel that my undergraduate experience at SAMS helped me to grow personally through the four years and allowed me to create good professional relationships. Since SAMS is a smaller university, you get the opportunity to create these professional relationships with your lecturers and other researchers at SAMS. This is unique to SAMS and you would not get this at larger universities. This has helped me moving forward, especially now in my Master’s. 

Looking back, what was your favourite part about being at SAMS?

I really enjoyed the practical work that SAMS offered throughout the course. I felt this prepared me for the field of work I am in today. I also enjoyed meeting people from all over the world as SAMS attracted everyone with the same interests in marine science.

What parts of your marine science journey through education and since graduating have you found most challenging?

For me the most challenging part is making the adjustment from education. Since we were lucky enough to touch on all aspects of marine science I found it hard to discover what exactly I really loved and what sector I would like to peruse a future career in.

Kayleigh dressed in weatherproof sailing jacket and wooly hat works with samples on board the SAMS research vessel Seol Mara.

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?

If you are looking for a course that gives you the opportunity for both practical and taught learning, this course is the best choice! If you have a passion for the marine environment, helping fight climate change or just have a love for the marine world, this course is definitely the right choice for you.

What do you like most about your current job/course/experience?

I am in my second semester of my masters course and the one thing I love about it is that I get to travel to new places while meeting new people from all around the world. I also love working with fish and marine organisms!

Where do you see yourself in the future? 

This has always been a very hard question for me as it is not easy to know exactly where you could be in 5-10 years. I hope that I will be working in the aquaculture industry in a role that I enjoy that gives me the opportunity to progress in my career and challenges me every day. Thank you to SAMS and everyone I have greatly had the opportunity of meeting along the way for helping me become who I am today and inspiring me to become the person I always wanted to be when I was younger..

To find out more about beginning your marine science journey at SAMS, on a UHI programme, visit

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