Our world-leading marine research underpins a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes: Research-led teaching | Exeter Marine | University of Exeter. In this #MScGraduateInFocus series we are looking back on some of our MSc graduates who have excelled in marine conservation around the world since studying with us.

Today we meet Jennifer Cruce Horeg, MSc Conservation and Biodiversity graduate (2009) and now working for the U.S. Department of Navy in Guam, Micronesia!


Hi Jennifer! It’s been 10 years since you studied with us, why don’t you tell us a bit about your career in that time that led you to where you are now?

I now work in Guam for the U.S. Dept of Navy as a Conservation Resource Program Manager.

After I graduated I continued to work under a grant with NOAA-NMFS to monitor the nesting sea turtle population in Ulithi Atoll, Yap, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). In 2011 I accepted a biologist/Deputy Refuge Manager position with the US Fish and Wildlife Service at the Guam National Wildlife Refuge. In 2015, I accepted a position as a Natural Resource Specialist at the Andersen Air Force Base on Guam. After two years I moved to the Joint Region Marianas Office (still on Guam) as the Conservation Resource Program Manager.

Before studying my Masters I had been living and working in Yap, FSM working under a NOAA-NMFS grant to study the nesting sea turtle population in Ulithi Atoll. I spent a year contacting schools who offered relevant masters programme’s. My goal was to continue the research in Ulithi and use the data I was collecting for a master’s thesis. All of the schools in the US stated that they would be unable to accommodate my work overseas. I would have to work on funded projects within their department. Finally, I contacted Dr. Brendan Godley who was very positive and responsive to my inquiry and thought that the MSc in Conservation and Biodiversity programme would be a perfect fit with the research project I was working with in Yap.

We’re glad you chose to study with us! What did you enjoy most about studying in Penryn?


I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Penryn Campus! It was safe, comfortable, and conducive to learning.

Being from the US I was so excited to live and study overseas. The Penryn Campus is in a beautiful location. I walked about 45 minutes from my flat to campus and spent about every day, all day on campus studying and going to class. It was a safe and lovely campus. I felt like the environment helped me be and do my best.

The location is very unique being at the southern end of England in a beautiful location. Other MSc students and I students took weekend trips to tour around Falmouth, Penzance, and other southern towns for fun. The town of Penryn is very low key and quiet. I enjoyed it very much.

How did the MSc help you in your career, and do you have any advice for students looking to pursue a similar career?

Through my 10-plus year career since graduating I would say that all of the coursework we studied in the MSc in Conservation and Biodiversity has surfaced at one time or another. I appreciated how practical some of the coursework was. I also gained a group of intelligent, funny, and diverse friends from my programme that I still keep in touch with. This network of colleagues along with our instructors have helped me many times along the way.

Some of the basic skills that are needed but rarely covered in most master’s programmes’ such as: how to design and present oral and poster presentation, preparing a quality CV, writing a grant proposal, etc. I still have the instruction and templates from when I was a student and have referenced them several times during my professional career. Those were very helpful.

The programme itself was solid and fun. I grew and learned so much in my time there.

Finally, Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of applying to any of our programmes at the University of Exeter?

The key to everything is to have no perceptions or expectations – meaning keep an open mind. If possible be willing to travel. Take every opportunity to attend a lecture, presentation, conference, field training, etc. This not only helps you grow in knowledge but widens your network. Also, it helps to be nice and easy to work with. I can say that a lot of my movement up in my career has been because I am a team player and I get along well with just about anyone.

I would highly suggest any programme at Centre for Ecology and Conservation. The instructors and support staff are amazing! I have seen all of my friends from the 2007-08 MSc group go on to have amazing careers.

Thanks Jennifer!

If you want to find out more about any of our suite of #ExeterMarine Masters and Undergraduate courses use the links below!

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