'After finishing my maths degree at University of Hertfordshire, I got a place on a graduate scheme with Kuehne and Nagel. For my first 2 years I will specialise in our oil and gas department. I’m very excited, I move to Aberdeen in March, and have to remain mobile within the UK for 2 years and then will have the opportunity to work abroad.
I am grateful to the University of Hertfordshire for many things but most notably for the discipline it has taught me. Working to deadlines, being versatile and working to my full potential even when out of my comfort zone are all skills I will never lose. The main tool I use every day is optimising fleet.
It goes without saying I would never have been considered for the job without my maths degree. The University of Hertfordshire taught me the importance of communication, and this has really contributed to the successful start to my career.'
Jonathon - A typical day
My typical uni day
An average day when studying maths at Hertfordshire University consists mainly of commuting, lectures and study.
Going from the beginning of my day, lectures start at 09:00 on some days, which is a long struggle to get up and out by 07:30 but it gets done. I only like that time to beat the motorway traffic and get a good short walk in before lectures, great to clear the head and get ready to learn.
Other days they can be at 11:00, or if you're lucky 13:00. These are the lie in days or catch up on extra study before driving to university.
Once at university, lectures are typically 2 hours and we cover a lot of content, normally a whole section or chapter.
After the first lecture, depending on my timetable it's either a tutorial or a break. During my break, I either head to the Learning Resource Centre (LRC) or the PAM Ready Room and do some extra study or just relax a bit before the next lecture or tutorial.
An average day at University ends at 17:00 or 18:00 for me but my average day does just end there.
Depending on the day I have either society meeting and socials, scouts or sports that I attend on a regular basis so I'm always active whether in or out of University.
At the end of the day, there is nothing I enjoy more than either a bit of gaming with friends or a good nights sleep.
Jonathon - Guide to mathematics
Guide to the mathematics facilities
There are a few key facilities for our Mathematics course at Herts
The first thing that comes to mind is our lecture rooms and classrooms. Simple I know but not are they just for our lectures and tutorials, if they are empty most of the rooms are available for you to use as a study space or if you have a group of friends you can study together and share ideas on the screen or the whiteboards.
We also have some designated learning zones which you can use to study. These are dotted all over campus.
The key facilities are our high specification PC Labs. Used by all students for Python, R, and MATLAB just to name a few software we use. These labs are open from around 8 am to 8 pm within the main buildings.
We also have our Learning Resource Centre (LRC for short). Here are all the key study spaces from single study rooms to group study rooms and computers. The LRC has practically everything you could need to study. It's open 24/7 so whether an early bird or a night owl it's open for those brain waves whenever they may come.
The LRC is also home to our Maths Support Service. This is a small team of people on a rota that sets up in a specific spot in the LRC to help with any maths problem you may have they can help.
Jonathon - Why I chose herts
Why I chose herts
There are many reasons why I chose to come to herts. Here are just a few.
Firstly, the accommodation was phenomenal compared to what other places were offering at the time (2017). This is what sold herts to me when I was making my final decision along with my next reason.
Next is I live in North London. I didn't want a university too far that I couldn't drive to it as a commuting student if I wanted to. As well as it being close to home for when I may want to go home or for my family to come up and visit; the journey isn't too long to make.
My next reason is space. The outdoor space is brilliant. There is such a diverse scenery at herts that you could be in a built-up area of campus then in 3 minutes you are in a forest. The Great outdoors helps to relax and clear the mind which is why I love it so much.
Lastly is the staff. On the open days, I went to the staff and they were always friendly and the lecturers are so enthusiastic about their subjects. That's what I want to see.
So, there's my story or mini stories behind choosing herts.
Dr Samuel Nathan Richards
Meet Dr Samuel Nathan Richards, who has taken his degree out of this world. Samuel currently works for NASA as the Mission Director & Instrument Scientist for NASA/DLR mission: SOFIA in California.Read more stories BSc (Hons) Astrophysics
|Current job role||Mission Director & Instrument Scientist for NASA/DLR mission: SOFIA|
|Year of graduation||2012|
|Course of study||BSc (Hons) Astrophysics with Sandwich Year|
Samuel currently works as the Mission Director & Instrument Scientist for the SOFIA mission, based in Palmdale, California at the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. Nathan has worked toward this role since completing his degree and a PhD in Astrophysics at the University of Sydney, Australia.
He says, 'I would not be where I am without the opportunities that were available while studying at the University of Hertfordshire. From extracurricular projects, to connections with other world ranking universities. I'm thankful to the University for its guidance and support that kick-started my career.'
Samuel decided to study at the University after seeing a promo video in sixth-form that featured the Bayfordbury Observatory. He says, 'When I discovered how strong the University's Astronomy department was, I felt that this was an environment that I could thrive in.'
'The lecturers were world-class, active astronomers, so each class was dynamic to the ever-changing knowledge of their respective fields of research. Their willingness to accept keen students for extracurricular research projects gave me early first-hand experience of the career I was about to launch myself into. Their international connections opened a path for me to do a research year at the University of Sydney, where I would later return to complete a PhD!'
Just the beginning
Pursuing a career in astronomy is highly competitive but incredibly exciting. Opportunities in these industries are truly global and roles are very diverse. 'I didn't know I'd end up working at NASA, but I took all opportunities as they arose.' Samuel encourages new and current students to do the same. 'Find what you enjoy and do that, over money, status and fame. There are many routes to where I am now, my colleagues come from very different backgrounds: astronomy, electrical and mechanical engineering and computer science, and that is just within my role, let alone all the other roles under NASA's umbrella.'
'I'm still learning, developing and taking on new opportunities!'
Meet Institute of Mathematics prize-winner Heather, who loved her time at Herts and was determined not to let her sight-loss become a barrier to getting fully involved with student life and achieving a first-class degree.Read more stories BSc (Hons) Mathematics
|Current job role||Data Science and Analytics Advisor for GHD|
|Year of graduation||2022|
|Course of study||BSc (Hons) Mathematics with Placement Year|
Studying at Herts with a disability
Heather hadn’t planned to go to university straight after A-Levels as she lacked the confidence. However six years ago she lost the majority of her sight and wanted to find her independence again. This was when she decided she needed a challenge and a new qualification. Her journey has led her to achieving a first-class degree in Mathematics, winning a school prize from the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.
Heather says, ‘I can’t believe how far I have come. I have grown so much, and the future is brighter than I ever imagined it to be. When I started at Herts I would never have dreamt of being able to commute to London. Herts has given me the confidence to achieve more and provided me with the skills and ambition I needed to equip myself for a professional career in a fascinating sector!’
Heather chose to study at Herts as it was her local university and because she knew she would be able to get the support she needed.
‘Being new to having a disability, I needed some extra help and guidance along the way. The Wellbeing Team at Herts provided me with lots of support and resources. Before I started, I was taken on a tour to familiarise myself with the campus so I could learn the best routes between my lectures. This was very useful, as I can get anxious in new places. I also had help in the lectures because I couldn’t see the board! My lecturers were very accommodating and changed timetabled classrooms to improve access for me if required. I was able to claim the Disabled Students' Allowance, which enabled me to buy a specialist laptop with assistive technology and a magnifier.’
‘I stayed closely connected with my lecturers and the Wellbeing Team through my studies, and I was able to help improve the experience of other disabled students on campus. For example, working with university staff on signage and communication around building sites to enhance safety measures. The university staff were always happy to help improve the safety of all their students.’
‘I really benefited from the support I received from my school careers advisor. Through this service, I had help to secure both a placement and graduate job. I received expert practical advice to help me apply for jobs, they helped improve my confidence with job interviews, and showed how I could disclose my disability to employers in a covering letter.’
Life at Herts
Heather had a brilliant student experience and got involved with lots of extra-circular activities.
‘I really enjoyed my course, I found the lecturers extremely friendly, knowledgeable, and approachable, something which I really valued. I also enjoyed meeting and working with people from all different backgrounds. Herts is a truly diverse and inclusive place to study, and I benefited from collaborating with so many different people.
‘My favorite place on campus was the library. It has such a good atmosphere, and this was where I could concentrate on course work with friends.’
‘I also got involved with the Physics, Astronomy and Maths Society (PAMsoc) and in my final year, I was the society chair. Through PAMsoc activities I was able to learn and make friends with like-minded people, enriching my student experience. We did quizzes, pub nights, discussion groups, and invited our lecturers to speak to us about their personal career paths and the cutting-edge research they are doing.’
Heather’s future career aspirations
Heather is passionate about Maths and says, ‘You can do so many different things with a Maths degree, and not just teaching. You learn transferable skills, critical thinking, elements of computer science, and physics.’
‘I was introduced to the data sector in my placement year at Sainsbury's Digital, where I got to work on interesting projects like using data analysis to improve the experience of customers at the supermarket checkout. I now work for an Engineering Consultancy, GHD, a company who are committed to solving global challenges in the areas of water, energy and urbanisation, values which align to my own. I do a job that I love using data models and python, skills learnt on my course.’
‘I do miss academia sometimes and I may like to do further study in the future.’
Heather’s advice for other students
‘At Herts, you can learn about your chosen subject, but also learn about yourself. Make sure you take the time to reflect and understand both you and your passion throughout your studies and take every opportunity you can. Say yes to new things but know your own limit and don’t burn yourself out. At Herts, there is always support available to you, so seek out help if you need it.’