Heather Mcconnell

Heather McConnell

Aquaculture Technician

Heather's job title is Scientific Aquaculture Technician at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)

What I do

We conduct research into how the marine environment works, why it is changing and how we could use and treat it better. I work in the main aquarium, where we have many experiments taking place at once. My current focus is sea urchins, sea cucumbers, oysters and ragworms, but this changes frequently.

I assist the Aquarium Manager. He does the planning of projects and coordinates with the researchers, and I am the hands-on person getting all the rooms set up, building tanks and checking water and airflow.

Hear more about Heather's role by watching the video below...

How I became a technician

I studied biology, geography, chemistry and history at A-level before doing a degree in Zoology. I moved to Scotland six months ago for a different role but wanted to try something new. When looking for another role, people recommended I have a look at the work that SAMS do, and that is where I saw my current job advertised. Although I never imagined myself being a technician, I thought I would go for it, and it’s the best thing I have ever done. It is the coolest job!

A typical day in my
working life

A little more about
my everyday role

What I love most about my job

It is so varied and diverse. I have a routine, but no two days are the same. I am learning so much because I am working with many different researchers. There is constantly new research beginning, so I meet new people all the time. It is so interesting, and you feel that you will never stop learning.

The next steps in my career journey

I would consider other technician or research jobs. This job has given me many new skills, and I would like to see where those new skills could take me. I could, for example, look at working in an oyster hatchery. I am open to possibilities.

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