Where are they now?
Read about the varied careers of our geography graduates.
Ursula Black: Business Analyst at Deloitte
I graduated from Ulster with a BSc Honours First Class in Geography in 2019. I then started on a Deloitte Academy, similar to a graduate scheme, which focused on technology transformation.
This line of work was of great interest to me as I had gained significant skills in GIS and Remote Sensing during my degree at Ulster University. Geography at Ulster is a dynamic and incredible course, which equipped me with a range of transferable skills that enabled me to take a path entirely new and unknown to me.
The skills and attention to detail of GIS, accompanied with communication skills, gave me the ability to pursue an incredible opportunity with Deloitte and secure myself a permanent job in the firm. Being the youngest on the Academy, I had everything to prove - with the confidence and knowledge Ulster has provided me, that was easily accomplished.
I am a business analyst in the consulting line, providing my talent on technological opportunities of the firm.
My favourite thing so far about Deloitte is that age means nothing!
Your voice, opinion and talent is as important as the most experienced person in the room.
Hannah Orr: GIS Consultant - Renewables Industry
I graduated from Ulster University in 2012 and got a role as a Mapping and Charting Officer with Land and Property Services (LPS) before completing an MSc in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at Ulster. I then went on to work for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service as an Information Analyst which with Gaelectric as a GIS Project Officer predominantly working on Onshore Wind Farm Projects.
Patricia Doran: Hydraulic Modeller
I graduated in 2009 and then completed a PgDip in GIS. I worked for Northern Ireland Water (NIW) as a GIS technician. This provided the groundwork for my current position as a hydraulic modeller with civil engineering company, Mouchel. I am responsible for the construction and calibration of hydraulic models based an online course with World Bank Group on ‘Designing and implementing successful water utility reform’ and working towards chartership with the Institute of Water.
Katie McFarland: Solution Architect – ESRI Ireland
I graduated in 2011 before completing an MSc in GIS at Ulster. During my postgrad studies a gained valuable work experience with a 6 week placement with Land and Property Services. I also got involved on a Fuel Poverty project run by Ulster University in conjunction with the Department of Social Development (DSD) and the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM). I switched to taking the MSc have since worked on several different GIS projects in Northern Ireland Water and Northern Ireland Housing Executive and now work as a Solution Architect with ESRI Ireland.
Matthew Strahan: Heritage Scientist
I graduated in 2010 and then completed an MSc Heritage Science from Queen's University. After my postgraduate course I secured a Heritage Lottery Funded Bursary placement with Historic Environment Scotland in Edinburgh documentation techniques on properties including Edinburgh Castle and The Forth Bridge. I then sites for preservation, conservation, and education. I got to survey the Fountain of Peirene and the Temple of Apollo at Ancient Corinth, as well as processing survey data from various sites around the world. I currently work for Russel Geomatics, who specialise in surveys of heritage sites.
I wouldn't have been able to different systems and processes, from GIS to geology skills and an understanding of how a place can be shaped by culture and the people using it.
Richard Smyth: Geography Teacher
I graduated from the Ulster University in 2014 and began a PGCE with Geography at Liverpool Hope University. Before the completion of the course I had secured a job at West Kirby Grammar School, a high performing, selective state school. During my time at WKGS I have had the opportunity to teach across the curriculum from Key Stage 3 to 5. I have had many opportunities including 2 fieldtrips varying levels, including specialising in human geography at A Level and assisting in the planning of a new course and the implementation of a new fieldwork study at this level.
Ryan Johnston: GIS Engineer - Transport Industry
Since my Masters, I have worked for Terra Quest (private mapping company), as a GIS consultant for Ordnance Survey Northern Ireland. I currently work in Milton Keynes as a GIS Engineer for Transport Systems Catapult. Much (connected and autonomous vehicles) and providing Geo-spatial expertise to projects and partners.
Louise Brown: University Lecturer
Once I finished my degree, my first job was in a small private town planning practice as an assistant town planner completing background in geography including experience of GIS and mapping skills with an understanding of land use, geology and topography were valuable assets.
Matthew McCready: GIS Officer - Public Sector
I graduated from Ulster University in 2012 with First Class Honours in Geography with German before taking time out of education to travel Australia, Asia and the South Pacific. I took part in the ERASMUS programme and lived in Gießen, Germany where I studied geographical modules in German, such as Spatial Planning, Crime Mapping and Urban Geography at Justus-Liebig Universität. The Study Abroad option exceeded all of my expectations as it gave me the opportunity to travel across Europe to meet like-minded students from all over the world - it is something I will never forget!
The BSc (Hons) degree with DIAS at Ulster provided me with strong foundations for personal development and key technical skills in GIS and remote sensing that are essential in the commercial environment. After travelling, I returned to the UK to study a MSc in GIS at the University of Portsmouth. Postgraduate study offered a deeper understanding of more advanced concepts of database design/maintenance, modelling and analysis and definitely enhanced my employability. In 2016, my MSc dissertation project in wildfire research using GIS and remote sensing was sponsored through the Ordnance Survey Dissertation Programme Award.
I secured my first job as a GIS Analyst at Savills where I had the opportunity to get involved in exciting GIS projects. Since 2017, I have been working in the public sector as a GIS Officer for three local authorities in East Kent, looking after both server-side infrastructure as well as providing technical support to users of the ESRI ArcGIS platform within a multitude of desktop, online and mobile applications. In 2021 I will be working as a GIS Consultant for ESRI UK and am very much looking forward to the challenge.
Scott McFarland: Geography Teacher
Heavily involved in youth work, coupled with a love for my subject led me to the realisation that I wanted to be a teacher. I now work as Geography teacher and absolutely love it. I believe Geography is an eye opening subject that leads people to have a greater understanding and appreciation for the world around them.
My geography degree set me up for one of the best careers on the planet (I may be slightly biased). Every day, I get to play a small part in shaping the lives of the next generation and all the while, teaching them to be sustainable stewards of the world around them - what a privilege.
Paul Fearon: GIS Consultant - Engineering Industry
I graduated from Ulster University in July 2014 after spending a year during my degree gaining some work experience and teaching practice at Dominican College, Fortwilliam. I was fortunate enough to be accepted onto completing my PGCE, I took the plunge and moved to England in August 2015. I now work as Assistant Director of Humanities with responsibility for Geography at Lealands High School, Luton.
Siobhan Murtagh: Geography Teacher
I graduated in 2016 and immediately took a temporary role as a Mapping and Charting Officer with Land and Property Services (LPS) as a GIS Consultant. Before completing my temporary role I was taken in as a full time permanent staff member.
At Ulster, through varied lessons and modules and my fast-paced, high pressure placement with the Green Party in Northern Ireland, I learned to be flexible and adaptable; two skills that are in demand for the dynamic role of a GIS consultant.