International Women's Day 2017


Meet Bethany Graves - traveller, lover of gigs and festivals, and our resident offshore marine pollution expert.JNCC's Offshore Industries Advice Manager Bethany Graves


Q) What is your role at JNCC?

My job title is Offshore Industries Advice Manager – I help manage the Offshore Industries Advice team, working on providing nature conservation advice in relation to offshore industries (oil and gas, aggregate extraction, renewables and marine spatial planning). I also head up our work on marine pollution response, taking part in national exercises and responding to real-time incidents which can be very variable and intense!


Q) Your dreams and ambitions - complete the sentence "One day, I will....."

Dive the great barrier reef, and through my work in the marine environment inspire young girls to work in science.


Q) What advice would you give to your younger self?

I’d have told myself to worry less about the future because everything always works out in the end. I went through a tough time when I was straight out of university, unemployed and back living with my parents – I’d worked so hard during my postgrad and I thought I’d never get a job and start my career, but something always comes along if you stick at it – perseverance is key!


Q) What challenges do you encounter maintaining a work/life balance?

It can be difficult switching off sometimes after a busy or full-on day at work, sometimes I find myself worrying about work or even dreaming about it at night! But I try to make sure I get the balance right by keeping busy- booking exciting trips, festivals and gigs (and seeing lots of family and friends)!


Q) Which positive female role models do you admire?

This is a hard one to answer! I admire a lot of women for a lot of different things; Debbie Harry, Lena Dunham, Maya Angelou, Michelle Obama, my mother and grandmothers.

Sylvia Earle, the great marine biologist, author, lecturer and adventurer, was one of the people who inspired me to choose the education and career path that I did. She’s done some incredible things for marine engineering and marine science, and is still going at 81! Her Mission Blue project is amazing.

I’m a big fan of Frida Kahlo’s work, having first come across copies of her self portraits in a tiny Mexican shop in Edinburgh when I was younger (I was intrigued back then by her strong brow)!


Q) What is the one thing you would change in your work environment?

Less time spent at my desk and more time spent in the sea!


Q) What’s your greatest achievement?

Over a few years I’ve spent about 3 months working for the Abu Dhabi International Science Festival, running workshops over there for children and the general public, aiming to get them excited about science and technology. It can be quite challenging working over there where the culture and attitude to women can be quite discriminatory, but seeing young girls getting passionate and interested is hugely rewarding, especially when you hear them exclaiming that they want to become a scientist when they grow up!