- Course: BSc, MGeol Geological Sciences
- Year of graduation: 2009
Adam Laycock was a high achiever at College in Sheffield and set his sights on a place at a prestigious university. “I was offered a place at all the universities I applied to, including Oxford, but I was really impressed by the Earth Sciences department at Leeds and its facilities”. He found the staff friendly and approachable and visited a few times to get a feel for the campus. “Leeds has a great student union and support network and I found the campus welcoming and exciting with lots of things happening.”
Adam was fortunate enough to attend a school that offered GCSE Geology; this sparked his interest and led him to take the A level. “When it came to choosing my degree course I didn’t consider anything else, although I wasn’t sure where it would take me. Geology has the advantage of being a practical subject with a strong science base in chemistry, physics, biology and maths, and I knew that would all help me in the future. I have loved every minute of studying Geology and I’ve gained some valuable experiences and skills along the way.
As Adam had qualified for the Undergraduate Masters degree course he spent a year abroad in New Zealand, which he really loved, “especially the 3 months I spent travelling around in the NZ summer in a campervan. It gave me so many interesting experiences that I wouldn’t otherwise have had because of its active volcanicity and much younger geology.”
During his degree course, Adam developed an interest in geochemistry and got the opportunity to use a Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (LA-ICP-MS) as part of a research topic he completed in New Zealand. Adam completed his 6-week individual mapping project in the Candanchu region of the Spanish Pyrenees, collecting small and large scale structural data for further analysis. His Masters level independent project involved using geochemical data relating to different geological periods and collected from all over the world, to analyse major ion ratios in basin brines.
When he graduated in July 2009 with first class honours, Adam knew he was capable of working for a PhD but didn’t want to start one straight away. He is currently working for a company called Geo Supplies Ltd, based in his home city of Sheffield, and one of the country’s largest suppliers of geological materials. He plans to travel and do some voluntary work this year and has applied for a PhD programme, starting in September 2010. “If my application is successful I’ll go to Imperial College London to start a PhD on 'Geochemical Tracing of Nanoparticles in the Environment'. I don't currently have a clear career path, but this PhD will open up a wide range of options.” Nanoparticles are a major research area and also has the potential to be implemented in many types of the industry so Adam will gain skills that will allow him to pursue a career in either direction.
Adam recognises that academic achievement is a large and important part of the university experience but values the opportunity Higher Education has given him to live independently and meet people from very diverse backgrounds. “I made a lot of good friends at Leeds and, although many of them have moved away, we’re keeping in touch. Leeds taught me geology and so much more – it helped me to develop as a person and supported me really well. My lecturers were always ready to help with academic issues and I knew that the department and the university would provide personal support if I needed it. I have no regrets about choosing Leeds – it was the best experience I could have asked for.”