Bek Trehern

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Government
Job title: Engagement and Communications Officer
Subject of study: Zoology / Biological Sciences
Year of graduation: 2016
Type/Level of study: Postgraduate Research, Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)

My role involves finding different ways to communicate the science we do and the impact it has to a wide range of audiences including government, non-governmental organisations, local communities and the general public.

Why did you choose to study Zoology at Exeter?

I knew I wanted to do something that combined my love of the ocean, nature, animals and the environment. As a child, I always wanted to be a marine biologist, but coming from Yorkshire, it didn’t seem very achievable! During careers meetings at school, I was often told that no one becomes a marine biologist, so I started looking for something similar. It was actually my A-level biology teacher who encouraged me to do Zoology. I chose Exeter specifically as I liked that I was able to select my modules and design the degree to suit me, plus it was (and is) renowned for the expertise of the lecturers. I think I really liked that I was going to get good exposure to a range of disciplines. Plus the chance to live in Cornwall was a massive bonus!

What was your biggest highlight from your degree?

I think it was my third-year field trip to the Bahamas. It was the most incredible experience waking up every day and just heading out into the tropical waters and being able to truly immerse myself in marine biology studying everything about sharks, rays, coral and tropical fish. It was at this point that I thought my dream of being a marine biologist maybe wasn’t that out of reach. 

What have you been doing since you left Exeter and what are you doing now?

After graduating from my BSc, I continued at Exeter to do a Masters by Research studying lionfish in the Bahamas. After my six-month research period, instead of returning home, I decided to undertake an internship at the University of Western Australia investigating the impact of ocean acidification on various corals and coralline algae. After 2 years, I had to come back to the UK and was hired as an Entertainments and Education Supervisor at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. In this role, I realised what I enjoyed most was communicating and sharing my love and knowledge of nature and the ocean. I then worked as an Engagement Officer at the Field Studies Council. However, as much as I enjoyed these roles, I knew that I missed being connected to science. In July 2022, I started as an Engagement and Communications Officer at Cefas.

What’s your favourite part of your role at Cefas?

My current role at Cefas is the perfect combination of science, communication and engagement. I really enjoy taking cutting edge science and turning it into something easily digestible for a non-science audience. I also get to work with such a range of people both internally and externally which makes my role incredibly varied. 

What skills and experiences from your degree have been most useful for your career/current role?

I think the exposure to different research areas and expert researchers that I had during my degree were invaluable as I’m now able to understand complex terminology and find a way to make it accessible. I also work with a range of people on a day-to-day basis, and I think my time at university set me up to do this well.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Try things and take full advantage of every opportunity you are given. I feel like I’ve moved around a lot between research, academia, education and communications to try and get a real feel for what I enjoy doing. It’s so important to enjoy what you do (we spend a lot of time at work), so don’t be afraid to try new things. 


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