Natalie Heaney graduated from the University of Salford with a Masters in Environment Assessment and moved straight into a PhD. Having also completed her undergraduate degree in Geography here at the university, Natalie’s clearly very happy with Salford life. She explains how her experiences at the university have given her the confidence to pursue her academic ambitons.

"My long-term plan was always to carry on with my studies and research, and I enjoyed my Salford experience so much I knew I wanted to carry onto postgraduate study here. It’s a great atmosphere and everyone gets on really well", explains Natalie.

"The 25 percent loyalty discount and the Vice-Chancellor’s excellence award for achieving a grade of 2:1 or above made the Masters qualification affordable to me. It was a significant discount that brought the fee right down, and brought postgraduate study within my reach."

"The delivery of the Masters course tied in very nicely with my undergraduate experience. That was very theory based, and my Masters allowed me to put it all into practice in the lab. The environmental investigation and remediation module was really hands on and it gave me so much experience in environmental sampling. I worked as part of a project with the Broughton Trust in Salford, working with the local community to harvest rainwater for a Meanwhile allotment, which is where empty community spaces are used as temporary allotment sites. Fresh produce in grown in otherwise abandoned places that the whole community can enjoy."

"It was really good to use the research methods I’d learnt and taught me a lot about liaising with different stakeholders and how teamwork drives projects forward. I’d never put myself forward for a lead position before, but I got 83% for the assignment so being involved in such a practical and useful project made a huge difference to my confidence and skills level."

"I also had the opportunity to take part in the Green Impact award. I was part of a group which improved the sustainability of the department, which tied in very nicely with the course content. That’s something I would never have been able to do without the Masters, there are so many ways to gain practical experience as well as the academic side of things and it makes a huge difference to your level of ability when you’re able to do both together."

"Being at the university is such a wonderful and warm experience. I love the lecturers, they’re clearly experts and very knowledgeable but it’s also like an extended family. I’ve commuted from Huddersfield the whole time I’ve been at Salford, but that distance has never been an issue. They keep in touch by email and get back to me really quickly with any queries I have."

"Now I’m doing a PhD, and there’s absolutely no way that would be possible without the support I’ve had at the university. I never thought I’d be the sort of person who could progress to this level, but with the support I’ve had with presentation techniques, IT skills and labwork, I know I have the ability to take it to the next level."