Is there life beyond Earth (Sciences)?

Poster boards stand tall in a crowded room. Friendly, familiar faces exchange advice over a generous keg. Curious minds eagerly watch and listen, before collecting free pens from a nearby table.

The Department of Earth Sciences’ careers event near the end of Michaelmas term invites alumni and industry representatives to speak to new generations of Natural Scientists about their life after graduation. Started in 2012 by the Sedgwick Club, this annual event has continued to grow, with more businesses, representatives, and undergraduates attending each year.

2017 was no exception; this year the Department hosted nearly forty representatives from over twenty companies, covering a dozen career sectors.

So why does the club do this? The Earth Sciences careers event stands out from other similar events at Cambridge. It is one of the few careers events that is organised by a student society, for example. It is also the only event that is organised, for Earth Scientists, by Earth Scientists, with the blessing of the University Careers Service and the Department (which covers the cost of refreshments).

We believe that it is important for undergraduates in the Department to see the wide range of career opportunities available with an Earth Sciences degree, considering that many of us did not join Cambridge to study the subject (I started my Natural Sciences degree as a chemist for example).

This is especially true for first-year Natural Scientists. Many may be inspired by the people they speak with and the hospitality of the Department to pursue a career involving Earth Sciences in some way. A large proportion of the representatives they speak with will have gone through similar; a quarter of the representatives at the Event this year are alumni. Some alumni present only graduated last year.

An aim of this year’s Sedgwick Club committee was to feature a wider range of careers at this year’s Event. We managed to accomplish this: Careers Event 2017 featured not only representatives from sectors actively recruiting and employing Earth Scientists, but also alumni who have gone on to work as lawyers, consultants and teachers.

We hope that future committees can expand the range of careers representatives at the Event, to illustrate the vast number of opportunities one can achieve with an Earth Sciences degree. We intend to make this easier for our successors; hopefully by making contacts with those who are interested in returning to our lovable Department and sharing their wisdom.

Kev Wong Sedgwick Club treasurer & Part III student

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