International Women's Day 2017
Meet Bethany Graves - traveller, lover of gigs and
festivals, and our resident offshore marine pollution
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,
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
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
Q) What is the one thing you would change in your work
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