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Elizabeth Ellison

PhD Student

Imperial College London

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Do not worry too much about what you want to do for a career.

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WHAT DO YOU DO?

I study how small scale mixing in the southern ocean can change the biogeochemsitry of the ocean, altering primary productivity in the ocean surface and the surface ocean carbon content. This is important for understanding the role of the southern ocean in fluxes of carbon between the atmosphere and the ocean, as we need to understand this to better predict future climate change.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

Oceanography is a perfect mix of what I am interested in. It combines Biology, Chemistry, Geography and Maths all of which I studied at A level, and as part of my undergrad degree in Natural Science. I grew up by the sea, and love all water sports, so I now get to spend all my time learning more about the ocean system. Because studying oceanography links into real world problem of climate change,it is a very exciting area of study to be in at the moment.

HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?

Whilst I was studying for my masters I didn't think I would ever have time to apply for a PhD, so I didn't. It was only towards the end of my Masters year that I found a PhD I liked the sound of, and luckily I got a place!

WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"

You don't need perfect grades in everything to do a PhD! I almost failed first year chemistry at university - I hated it! In the end it didn't matter at all!

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

University gives you so many opportunities to do whatever you enjoy most. I am able to spend my time studying something I am truly interested in, and I get to meet and interact with leaders in Oceanography around the world. My work has allowed me to travel, and gives me the opportunity to work anywhere in the world once I graduate.

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

Do not worry to much about what you want to do for a career. I never thought I would end up doing a PhD, and I have no idea what I will do after it, but for now I am happy doing something I enjoy.

INSPIRATION

Sylvia Earle, an amazing marine biologist, explorer, author, and lecturer who has raised the important issues facing the ocean and our planet.