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Rebecca Collins

It is hard enough to get a first class degree, but when you have a baby along the way, things can get tricky. Rebecca Collins took it all in her stride, however, with a little help from her family and tutors.

Since gaining a First class BSc Honours degree in Water and Environmental Management at the University of Worcester, Rebecca is aiming for a career in flood management and river restoration. It will be a complete change in direction from the job she used to have as a wedding and events manager.

Having left school at 17 after the first year of A-levels, Rebecca, who hails from Malvern and now lives in Bromyard, easily found work in the hotel and leisure industry, but by the age of 22 she wanted a career change. She chose to return to science, her strongest subjects at school, completing her biology and chemistry A-levels at Hereford Sixth Form College.

“My chemistry teacher was a former water specialist for Severn Trent water authority and his enthusiasm sparked an interest in me,” said the 27-year-old. She at first thought of studying for a degree in environmental chemistry at the University of Lancaster or marine chemistry at Bangor University.

“Then I found the degree in water and environmental management at Worcester that was perfect for me,” she says. “I absolutely loved it. I did wonder if I would feel a bit old among the 18 and 19 year old students but it was never a problem. I felt I fitted in with everyone else.”

While studying at Worcester she married Michael, her partner of eight years, and in February this year gave birth to Laura, her daughter, less than three months before her finals. “I went back to university within two weeks and the support was absolutely fantastic. I don’t think I could have coped without the help from Dr Ian Maddock, my supervisor.

“Keeping water clear and healthy and moving efficiently in channels is really important for the environment and the public. I learned a lot and I’m still learning – I want to complete a Masters degree and then specialise in river restoration and flood management,” she says.