Kasparas Vasiliauskas, an earth scientist from Churchill College, talks through his experiences working for the Sedgwick Museum and British Antarctic Survey last summer
Tell us about yourself – what do you study, where are you from?
I am a fourth year Earth Scientist looking forward to my year off before going to do a PhD somewhere. I came from Lithuania wanting to do Chemistry, but then fell in love with the Earth Sciences – though within this discipline I am still often drawn towards geochemical problems. After four years in Cambridge, I am ready to take a little rest and then continue my education and research elsewhere in the world.
I visit the Museum on a regular basis and it was a pleasure and privilege seeing how it’s run from the inside
What made you choose to work for the Sedgwick Museum and British Antarctic Survey?
Both the Sedgwick Museum and the British Antarctic Survey directly deal with Earth Sciences and science communication, but in very different ways. I visit the Museum on a regular basis and it was a pleasure and privilege seeing how it’s run from the inside. The Museum take on a student or a few every year and I jumped right into the opportunity. The British Antarctic Survey is a world-leading organisation in the research of the poles and I’d been keen to work with them at least for a little bit since I arrived in Cambridge.
What were your day-to-day responsibilities and what did you learn?
Work in the museum was mostly based in galleries – relining shelves and displays, cleaning specimens. This was a really good introduction into conservation and I enjoyed it a lot. While I was not directly responsible for such things, I had quite a lot of engagement with the public – from helping in identifying fossils, to discussing and answering all sorts of nature and geology-related questions. At BAS I mostly helped out a group of researchers compiling a literature review and a PhD student with his lab work. It was interesting, but not conceptually new.
Do you know what you’d like to do in your early career once you leave Cambridge?
I am most passionate about teaching and doing research. Until I figure out where I want to do both of these things, I intend to work a little bit with an NGO in Nepal on environmental issues and long-term sustainability. I hope to get a chance to do some teaching as well – either in Nepal or in nearby countries.
it’s never really too late to find a summer job
Any plans for summer work this year?
I might be doing a teaching assistant job, and working at a bunch of May Balls. Later I will be teaching for a month in China and then will go off to Nepal working on an environmental project with ICIMOD.
What’s your advice to students seeking vacation work right now?
To be persistent – it’s never really too late to find a summer job.