Jonny Chapman - Ocean Sciences BSc (Hons)

I graduated in 2019 with a degree in Ocean Sciences BSc (Hons), I now work as a Glider Research Technician at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences where I am responsible for a fleet of autonomous underwater gliders used for ocean research. My daily work schedule can be anything from processing data from previous missions to being out at sea onboard a research cruise in all sorts of conditions!

My degree gave me access to additional summer courses and internships throughout my time at university: I was supported by a Prof. John Riley bursary from the Murray Foundation to work with scientists from the National Oceanography Centre, and also a scholarship from the UK Associates of BIOS for an internship at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences. These turned out to be invaluable experiences for making my job applications stand out. The engaging lectures delivered by the faculty in Liverpool, combined with the skills I developed during the opportunities for laboratory and fieldwork, meant I graduated with a well-rounded set of skills to pursue a graduate role. 

What does your role involve and what is a typical work day like?

My role as a Glider Research Technician at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences includes the maintenance, assembly, deployment and recovery of a fleet of autonomous underwater gliders used for ocean research. A typical workday for me usually consists of processing data from previous deployments, troubleshooting problems and reassembling gliders, and piloting gliders that are currently deployed in the Atlantic. Each month I also go out to sea onboard the R/V Atlantic Explorer to recover and deploy gliders. 

Why did you choose to study Ocean Sciences at the University of Liverpool?

I was determined to study a science degree at university but I wasn’t overly passionate about following any of the core science subjects. When I discovered the Ocean Sciences course at Liverpool, it sounded a perfect combination of my science and maths A-Levels and my passion for the ocean and the environment!

When I couldn’t attend the Open Days put on by the university – staff from the department went out of their way to accommodate me on a different day, using their own time to give me a tour of the facilities and to sit and chat with them about the details of the course. 

How did your degree course prepare you for your current job?

My current job is based on a strong understanding of physical oceanography, which was a large component of my degree. The practical skills I developed from the Sea Practical and other fieldwork helped prepare me for the hands-on aspects of my role, and the programming skills I learnt throughout my degree are essential for the data processing and analysis involved in my job. 

What did you feel was the most rewarding element of the course?

The longer independent projects such as the Sea Practical and my third-year project were the most rewarding elements for me. Being able to relate the studies from the lectures into real-life data was really exciting for me. 

Did you undertake a placement/internship?

Yes, in the summer of my second year I completed a one-month internship at the National Oceanography Centre, processing and analysing data which I then developed in to my third-year project. In the summer of my final year, I attended a summer course in Modern Observational Oceanography at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences for 4 weeks – giving me hands on experience on a research vessel and furthered my physical oceanography knowledge.  The following year, as a graduate I returned to Bermuda to begin a three-month internship analysing data from the fleet of gliders… which led me to my current career! 

What did you enjoy most about your student experience?

I loved the lectures over the three years of my course! Learning from staff who are so passionate about what they teach, across a range of topics, definitely boosted my passion and encouraged me to work harder and pursue a career in the field of oceanography.