Mary Alice Buck-Hayes 

Country: United States of America
Sector: Higher Education
Job title: Development Associate
Subject of study: Biological Sciences
Year of graduation: 2020
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

Danville Science Center, Inc. 

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

Once I left Exeter, I moved back to the States in the middle of the pandemic. There, I joined AmeriCorps, which is like the USA’s internal Peace Corps. In AmeriCorps, I was a STEM Educator for the Danville Science Center, one of Virginia’s science museums. From there, I became a Museum Generalist, and then a Development Associate. 

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

I have always been interested in science (I did get my degree from Exeter in biosciences!) and I most enjoy being able to develop the financial plans, grant writing, and program evaluation for the students and young learners in my region. 

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

In Exeter, I was a part of Music Soc for a year, just so I could have access to the piano rooms! I didn’t join any other clubs, however, as I spent a lot of my time traveling around Devon, Somerset, and the London area to get a good dose of historical sightseeing. Being from the US, I had never had such an opportunity to view architectural and historical sites more than 200-300 years old, so it was definitely a treat to be surrounded by so much history. 

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

The biggest highlight of my undergraduate degree would have to be the marine biology field course I took in my final year. We went to the Bahamas to collect data on blue striped grunts, blue chromis, and bluehead wrasse nurseries. 

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

I enjoyed the opportunity to experience the culture and history of the United Kingdom while getting my undergraduate degree. 

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

I decided to study in the United Kingdom in order to quench my desire for travel, culture, history, and further study all at the same time. The reason I chose Exeter over the other uni’s that I was accepted to in the UK had to do with Exeter’s Russell Group status and the weather. Coming from the southern USA, I was used to warm, sunny days. Exeter was the southernmost Russell Group, so I thought I would have a better chance of acclimating. 

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

Skills learned through presentations, data collection, and networking have all been useful to me working in a science education non-profit. 

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

If you wanted to work as a grant writer, fundraising specialist, or development coordinator, getting a degree in data analytics or business would be a great option. 

What are your plans for the future?

I am planning to become the Development Coordinator in my organization within the next year. Hopefully, I will be able to go back to school for my master’s in Finance Management soon, and then we will see from there! 


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