This week we chat to…Hannah Williams from Love the Oceans. One piece of advice Hannah gives is to learn a language – that’s definitely something you could start if you find yourself with time on your hands right now!
Name: Hannah Williams
Job Title: Marine Zoologist Venture Leader and Social Media Manager
Organisation: Love The Oceans
- What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?
I started scuba diving whilst in my 2nd year of university, and spending more time in and around the ocean inspired me to pursue a career in marine conservation. I have always had a love for dolphins and whales, which inspired me to want to find out more and help protect them.
- What steps did you take/are you taking to achieve your career goals?
Firstly I became a qualified scuba diver, then attended a volunteer program in Mozambique in 2016. This allowed me to collect my undergrad dissertation data on coral reefs. This then developed into me doing a masters in conservation biology and writing my thesis on coral bleaching and recovery. I am also working part-time in an aquarium in the UK to built upon my aquarium systems knowledge and species knowledge.
- How did you land your current job/position?
I initially volunteered for Love the Oceans in 2016, then returned as a field specialist in 2017. I have since managed all social media platforms for Love the Oceans, and continue to return to Mozambique to help with the volunteer programmes.
- Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy inspiring budding marine biologists and helping them gain the necessary field experience required for a career in conservation. I also enjoy using the power of social media to spread knowledge and information whilst also raising awareness for key ecological issues such as plastic pollution and global warming etc.
- Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’?
Working closely with the local community in Mozambique is extremely rewarding. Providing education alongside enabling the construction of new learning spaces really makes a tangible difference to the children’s lives.
- What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
Travelling alone is nowhere near as scary as you think it will be. You will make friends wherever you end up going, and sometimes spending time alone is very relaxing. Often you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone to progress in life.
- Are there any skills you never thought you would need but did?
Knowing another language is hugely beneficial, especially when travelling around the globe. I never bothered to learn a second language and am now regretting it. I have just started learning Portuguese so hopefully will be able to communicate in Mozambique much easier!
- What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?
Gain as much varied experience as you can, talk to people and make contacts. Who you know is often more important than what you know.
- What is your favourite marine creature and why?
Humpback whales are definitely a favourite of mine. Their size is overwhelming and words can’t describe the experience of hearing their song whilst underwater. They are mesmerising creatures.
- What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?
Snorkelling near a sleeping humpback whale mother who was nursing her baby was a truly magical moment, and not one I will forget any time soon.
Thank you Hannah. That experience near a sleeping humpback sounds incredible. We are not jealous at all! 😉 You can find out more about Love the Oceans and how to join them on their expedition page