Sunday, 28 June 2015

Sophie Burgham-Alumni Update

Hi Maureen
A quick message as per our conversation the other day.

Since finishing university I have volunteered at Kew Botanical Gardens and the Natural History Museum. These opportunities arose from my research during my final major project. My project was based around fungi, and I worked with Kew's Fungarium for the majority of my research. Something I would really recommend, most places are happy to help you with your projects, it gives you extra bonus points for your degree and it gives you a foot in the door too!

Whilst I was at Kew I asked if they would have me for some work experience helping to curate the collections and it is through this that I gained enough relevant experience to be accepted as a volunteer at the Natural History Museum. Additionally, work experience/volunteering gives you access to the companies intranets etc. At Kew the publishing department had issued an internal advert asking if any staff members knew of anyone interesting in a publishing internship. I of course emailed straight back and got the position! Another bit of experience for my CV.

A year later I was notified of a position at Natural History Museum for a Universal Curator Internship. Part of a new project to merge natural science collections and the cultural collections. Working at the Natural History Museum London, Tring, Oxford Museum, Manchester Museum and Tyne and Wear Museum. I applied thinking it was a dream, however I was selected for interview! The interview was very intense and made up of 2 presentations, my worst nightmare, but one had to be about "your most inspiring natural history museum object/collection". I used my presentation that I did for my final project and only had to make some updates. I never thought I would use it again and yet it became the reason I got the job!

There were 5 candidates there, all the others had a lot of relevant museum experience, PhDs in Palaeontology and the like. When I left I was certain that I didn't get it. However I got a phone call and they had picked me due to my art/science cross over, something they thought was unique and they loved my presentation on my final major project research at Kew.

I hope that this is helpful for some of the third years that are just finishing!

I just want to add a big thank you to you too and thank you always for your vote of confidence! Couldn't have done it without you.