Introducing...Dr Emma Camp

Prepare to be inspired by the incredible journey of Dr. Emma Camp, a true force of nature. She once led the University of Essex's women's basketball team to an historic victory in the 2016 Basketball England National Cup. The team sunk the winning basket with a mere 3.4 seconds left on the clock, seizing their first and final lead of the game.

Beyond the basketball court Emma continued her quest for excellence, earning a PhD in Marine Biology and ascending to the pinnacle of her field. Now, she stands as a world-renowned authority on coral reefs, serving as the dynamic Team Leader of the Future Reefs Program within the Climate Change Cluster at the University of Technology Sydney in Australia. Her ground-breaking research delves deep into the intricacies of coral reef physiology, ecology, and biogeochemistry, with a view to ensuring their preservation for generations to come.

Alongside her research, Emma is a dedicated advocate for women and girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2020, she was honoured as an inaugural Australian Academy of Sciences STEM Women's Gamechanger, and received a prestigious Women in Science Fellowship from L'Oréal-UNESCO. Her efforts and passion were recognised by Time Magazine, which named her a Next Generation Leader in the same year. Emma Camp is not just an achiever; she is a trailblazer, a leader, and an inspiration to us all.

We are lucky enough to catch-up with Emma about her time as a student-athlete at Essex and hear she is keen to visit the new facility and catch up with a few people on a return trip early 2024.

Which scholarship did you receive?

Women’s basketball scholarship.

Tell us about the difference it made to you as a student-athlete

Receiving a scholarship helped me financially so that I could focus on completing my PhD Marine Biology and playing basketball. If I hadn’t received the basketball scholarship, I would have struggled to juggle a part-time job, along with studies and sport.

Emma Camp lifting the trophy after winning the Basketball England National Cup in 2016

What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome to get where you are now?

There have been several challenges but one of the biggest has been overcoming biases and challenges that exist for women in the sciences. The system often favours men, and we continue to lose amazing women from the science sector due to the patriarchal system. Further, when I became a mother, juggling science and mum life really highlighted the challenges that still exist for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). I am passionate to advocate for better inclusion and retention of women and girls in STEM and it’s one of my career goals to help ensure a better future for women in the science sector.

What course did you study?

A PhD in Marine Biology.

To you, what is special about studying at Essex?

The combination of excellent lecturers and science facilities with sport support staff and sport facilities are really unique in English Universities.

Emma Camp in a science laboratory studying Marine Biology

As an international student, what tips and advice do you have for others thinking about studying at Essex, or in the UK generally?

Get involved with the Essex University communities. There are so many awesome clubs and groups that you can get involved with to have a friendship group. When you are away from home, having people you can connect with and reach out to are important!

What are your ultimate career goals and aspirations?

I am determined to help preserve coral reefs for future generations, to ensure they have the same privilege as I have had to see them and benefit from their ecosystem services. I also want to improve the STEM sector for women and girls!

Sports scholarships and bursaries

We are committed to supporting and developing high performance athletes. Find out whether you could be eligible for a sports scholarship or bursary, plus a range of additional benefits too when you join the University.

Find out more about our Performance Sport programme at Essex and follow our student athletes’ journey on Instagram @uniessexperform

For more inspirational influence from Emma, do visit or follow her on Instagram @emmafcamp