For the 2016-17 academic year, the International Water Security Network has awarded scholarships to four students studying for an MSc in Environmental Management at the University of the West of England. Here, three of the students discuss their studies and their ambitions.
I graduated in 2013 with a First in Law, and went on to work in banking and finance. During this time I did a lot of travelling and volunteering in developing countries and realised that this was my passion. Whilst volunteering on a reforestation and rainwater harvesting project in Tamil Nadu, India, I experienced first-hand the difficult relationship that people can have with water – from abundance to drought, and the subsequent effects on habitats, food production and general quality of life. We built bunds to prevent monsoon run-off and raise the water table, and worked on restoring arid land to its former forest habitat.
I am interested in developing my knowledge in small-scale decentralised water and sanitation services in order to help alleviate some of the effects of poverty. Also, I hope to learn from the techniques used in other countries to see how the systems in the UK can be improved. In my spare time, I enjoy football, cycling and rock climbing, and love to travel.
Whilst studying for my undergraduate degree in Geography I developed a keen interest in water management and managing the environment to reduce the effects of flooding. My dissertation focused on flooding and during this research, I was able to look at several different factors that could be the cause of increased flooding over the last 60 years.
I was keen to explore this subject more and expand my knowledge into the wider issues and debates, so the MSc Environmental Management course at UWE looked like a great opportunity, especially with the option to take the ‘water pathway’. This course would allow me to gain a deeper understanding of the fundamental issues but also provides a wider view of the global problems.
During my second year at university I did a placement at a construction company where I worked to assess the environmental impact of the business. I was able to draw upon my knowledge gained at university to put forward recommendations to the company to further improve its environmental manifest and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report. Some of this work was used for the site to gain Gold status at the 2015 Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) awards.
I am grateful to the IWSN, not only for the financial support but for the academic support, and the opportunities to network and share ideas and knowledge with others within the field, providing me with a platform to help fulfil my ambition of a career I will honour, and be proud of, for the rest of my life.
Whilst studying for my BSc in Geography at Plymouth University, I realised my interest in water-based topics was massively increasing, though opportunities to specialise in this area were limited. However, I focused my dissertation on my home country of Wales, studying the water issues that are a legacy of the industrial period that affects much of the Lower Swansea Valley to this day. This project alerted me to the magnitude of the problem of water contamination in Wales and encouraged me to continue my studies.
I then became aware of the MSc Environmental Management course at UWE, which offers a wide range of water modules and has given me the opportunity to study topics such as water politics and law, catchment management, and water challenges in the 21st century. Joining the course is the first step in my early career that will apply me with skills and knowledge to help me contribute to the preservation and resilience of rivers in the UK and around the world. I am grateful for the opportunity provided by the International Water Security Network as it has not only provided me with financial support for my studies, but also the chance to improve my career prospects.
- We offer a number of scholarships to students enrolled on the MSc Environmental Management at UWE who choose the water pathway. For further information about this course for the 2017-18 academic year, see the UWE website. For more details about the IWSN scholarship, please email Chad.Staddon@uwe.ac.uk.