Sasha Dines

“As soon as I visited Liverpool I was instantly enthralled by the city and fell in love with the people and the university. I loved marine science and was interested in pursuing a career in marine conservation. The small class sizes and ability to tailor the course to either an ecology, zoology or oceanography route meant that I knew I would get the support I needed in deciding the early stages of my career.

Looking back, the course gives you many opportunities to network and connect with different organizations and people, through internships, working with local non-profits and running outreach events. Developing these networking skills is instrumental in any scientific career and the overseas internship that we are took at the end of our second year produced the connections needed to gain my current job. As well as this it was the excellent support I got from my tutors throughout my degree and in choosing the right postgraduate course.

I am currently the head field specialist and internship manager for the marine internship at Oceans Research in Mossel Bay, South Africa. My day to day job involves organising staff and intern schedules, being principal investigator for the cetacean based projects and ensuring that the interns are all happy and satisfied. By being an intern and returning I am able to be in the unique position of understanding the interns experiences and what they wish to gain from their time here. We regularly host PhD and Masters students studying topics such as hammerhead genetics, the habitat use of two endemic cat sharks in the bay and shark personality studies. I am constantly developing field work experience and exposed to a wide range of scientific skills from handling and taking morphometric data on benthic sharks to bait roping white sharks to gain dorsal fin IDs. I am also involved in developing the first national marine mammal strandings network in South Africa and from this I have begun teaching the stranding’s course at Oceans.

Through working on all of these projects I’m constantly drawing on the skills learnt through my degree on how to use appropriate methods to assess environmental change and how best to pass these skills onto the interns. I constantly draw on so many elements of my undergraduate degree from incorporating theory on marine mammal physiology in the strandings course, intertidal habitats during the surveys and predator prey dynamic theory with the white sharks and seals. All the way through to the networking and communication skills I use during outreach campaigns to teach local children about plastic pollution and shark conservation.