University of Cumbria graduate Emma Baker

Former EDC Student Emma Baker Becomes First Ever Marine Graduate at the University of Cumbria

It's always great to see our students go on to further success after they leave us, and Emma Baker is doing incredibly well, becoming the University of Cumbria's first ever graduate with an Honours degree in Marine and Freshwater Conservation.

Emma, originally from Chester-le-Street, studied an Animal Management course at East Durham College's Houghall Campus. This course developed her interest in the marine world, and inspired Emma to take the new course at the University of Cumbria.

“I am very proud that Emma will be the first ever graduate of the new degree in Marine and Freshwater Conservation at the University of Cumbria," Dr Gill Notman, Programme Leader BSc (Hons) Marine & Freshwater Conservation, said. "She has worked very hard and learned a great deal.  Her childhood fascination with sharks brought her to Cumbria, but throughout the degree, and by undertaking research on environmental plastics, her interests have developed into the wider field of water resource management.  I know she will go on to have a fulfilling career as an aquatic scientist helping us meet the challenges facing humanity into the 21st century.”

At the University of Cumbria, Emma had everything she needed for research during her degree programme. The Ambleside campus where Emma studied is directly situated next to Lake Windermere, allowing Emma to complete extensive studies on plastic pollution in the lake. Emma studied three different areas popular with tourists to determine how plastic pollution was getting into the lake.

“The litter that accumulated in the lake probably came from the land originally – Bowness was worst affected and surveying twice, at the end of the summer season and again after Christmas, confirmed it is a seasonal problem,” Emma said.

The knowledge and skills Emma gained mean she is now in a very good position to become a professional aquatic scientist. The Universities' links with organisations such as the Freshwater Biological Association, South Cumbria Rivers Trust, United Utilities and Solway Firth Partnership also helped Emma gain further experience and gain knowledge from various different perspectives.

“The course wasn’t all about aquatic ecology – we also went on field trips to water treatment works in Kendal and Lancaster to see how our drinking and waste water is treated and managed – there was a real variety of experiences."

Emma will now be moving on to study an MSc in Water and Environmental Management at the University of Brighton.