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Sam Ginger

Sam Ginger


MSc Environmental Bioscience in a Changing Climate

First Degree: BSc Animal Behaviour

First job after graduating: Zoological Society of London

I have always had a passion for exploring the natural world. After my bachelor's I worked on some wildlife survey projects and then moved into education roles communicating natural history science and conservation to the public and school groups. When creating content for education programs I kept writing about the same theme; human and wildlife conflict. So, 5 years after graduating I decided to search for opportunities where I could learn more about the anthropogenic drivers of biodiversity loss and the solutions needed to halt it.

I looked at a number of courses online but the one at Warwick stood out to me. Its ranking as a top university was a big pull and after visiting campus on an open day I was sold. The school of life sciences is at Gibbet Hill, a smaller campus under ten minutes walk from main campus. It has its own cafe (I'd recommend the breakfast) and a great computer lab which is pretty much always free for you to study in. There's plenty of space on campus, it's not cramped or confined like some universities I've visited. There's also a small woodland on campus which is ideal for a bit of fresh air in between lectures.There's plenty of opportunity at Warwick to make the course your own. Having spoken to friends who have completed postgraduate degrees at other universities, often assignment titles were prescribed to them without much wriggle room. On the EnvBio course we regularly chose our own papers for presentations and our own essay titles, too. This gave us the chance to conduct in depth research on topics that interested us specifically and, ultimately, led to us tailoring the course to align with our own individual interests.

I have developed a whole new sense of confidence in my abilities. Before Warwick I hadn't ever considered myself as particularly academic, but having studied for a whole year, following my passion and exploring topics that I really cared about, I was able to walk away with good degree and a prize for my project. For that, I am very grateful to all the teaching and support staff at Warwick.

Being able to organise my own work placement as part of my course meant that I could explore an industry which I was interested in moving into after graduation. Luckily, it paid off for me as the organisation I worked with is now my employer. My placement was with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). I worked with an initiative that scores companies involved in the production and trade of forest-risk commodities (palm oil, timber & pulp and natural rubber) on their transparency and sustainability. For ten weeks I conducted research which contributed to their annual assessment of the timber sector and gained a great introduction into the world of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting. While working at ZSL I was able to work alongside experts in the industry and also collect a great dataset for my thesis. I had a fantastic time there and would recommend a work placement to anyone on the course because it gives you an invaluable insight into an industry or organisation that you may want to work in after graduating.

Alongside my degree I also went to Interdisciplinary Food Systems and Learning (IFSTAL) workshops throughout the year. IFSTAL is a partnership between 5 leading universities and offers workshops and online modules for postgraduates over the academic year. Content covers food system challenges and encourages a systems thinking approach rather than tackling issues from a single angle. IFSTAL complimented my university work perfectly and introduced me to people from different universities, courses and industries that I wouldn't have encountered otherwise. I would definitely recommend going to IFSTAL for anyone doing any of the courses which have a strong agricultural, environmental or food security component.

When moving to a new place to study it's always hard choosing somewhere to live. If you want my advice then I'd definitely recommend Leamington Spa. It's a small town but there's a lot going on; plenty of cafes, pubs, restaurants and community events. However, buses can get quite busy, so avoid living in North Leamington if you want an easy commute to uni!