Lauren Jackson (Zoology)
Junior Researcher, BBC Natural History Unit
I always knew this was what I wanted to do but I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly.
I studied a 4 year Zoology course at the University’s Penryn Campus with study abroad in Colorado where I did some extra modules in video editing which have come in really useful in my job at the BBC.
My course at Penryn was heavily field-based. The location in the heart of Cornwall is fantastic for field studies and the trips abroad are incredible too: I went to Cyprus in my second year and South Africa in my final year.
I was part of the wildlife documentary society in Penryn, and Naturewatch – a student take on Springwatch. I also organised ‘Wild Film Fest’ – a natural history film and photography competition/showcase – for 2 years running. Lots of people from the natural history film industry came to speak on campus including Gordon Buchanan and Steve Backshall.
I’m now working in Bristol (where the BBC Natural History Unit is based) on a series which will be broadcast in 2019. The working title is Seven Worlds and it will take in each of the continents. We did our first shoot last week and soon we’ll be doing lots on location. At the moment I’m working on Africa and Europe talking to scientists about aspects of nature that could be included in the programmes. I really enjoy storytelling and communicating science to a wider audience.
After I graduated I got a job as a GBP (Graduate Business Partner) working for the University on the Penryn campus. Lots of these roles are advertised every year and they provide great experience. It was a great stepping stone for me.
I started applying for roles and stopped thinking ‘I won’t get it’. I applied to the BBC trainee scheme and got quite far so that gave me confidence to apply for other positions. Even when you don’t get the job you can get some really helpful feedback – you find yourself getting closer and closer.
While you’re at University take advantage of all the societies, events and voluntary stuff – you learn so many transferrable skills and once you’re working it gets much harder to find the time. If there’s something you want to do that isn’t being done set it up yourself.
Put yourself out there and keep trying – I did a few half-hearted applications and wish I’d put more effort into applying for things earlier. The Career Zone also gives lots of support around CV writing and practice interviews – use it.
The training I get at the BBC is amazing – I’m learning new skills all the time like camera operating and digital editing. Seeing behind the scenes of all the programmes I’ve been watching over the years is incredible