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Thomas Ovenden | FindAMasters Postgrad Awards winner | Masters student of the year


When the first email came through to say I was shortlisted I was like ‘Wow!’ that’s pretty amazing. Even to have got to that stage I was chuffed, but then when somebody got in touch and said ‘you’ve won’, it was definitely a surprise. I put myself in a slightly peculiar circumstance to do my Masters, in that I was working full time for the Scottish Wildlife Trust at the time. So I went back to run an offshore island nature reserve which is otherwise uninhabited except for a small team of volunteers that live on the island. I wasn’t quite sure how big of a challenge this was going to be but I effectively wrote my whole thesis in my spare time using solar power because we only had solar panels on the island. Unfortunately, they weren’t quite strong enough to charge the laptop and use the internet so we had a satellite dish we erected on the front lawn. So I could either charge the laptop or I could download papers. So we were working full time and writing that and writing my thesis full time and doing all the research. I think to have come out the other end and actually finished it was my biggest personal accomplishment. Every subject comes with its own unique challenges and everybody has slightly different personal circumstances. I think not having had an academic background beforehand, I didn’t really have any sort of level of expectations, so I just went for it really. I think that’s probably what I’d say to people starting a Masters if you’re interested enough in it to study a Masters, just go for it, and maybe don’t be afraid to follow the level of ambition that you might have. I think for me, I really wanted to publish something and make a tangible difference and that was my motivation for my thesis, and I think sometimes there’s not as much active encouragement to do that at a Masters level but I think if you’re driven enough to want to make that happen then follow it because it’s worth doing it and sometimes you can make a real difference.

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  • Sorry but no, Thomas Ovenden had nothing whatsoever to do with the UK lynx reintroduction programme as that was the Lynx UK Trust. Funnily enough, come to mention it, the UK government dismissed this rewilding proposal. The lad is ego tripping and why attach yourself to very poorly written research papers which were ridiculed by the UK government as well as the zoological and scientific community.

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