PhD in spatial analysis – Dr Rhosanna Jenkins
Name: Rhosanna Jenkins
School: Environmental Sciences
Research area: Climate Change Impacts on Water & Biodiversity
Bio: I am a PhD student in the School of Environmental Sciences, researching the impact of climate change on water resources and biodiversity in an area of Kenya. Before coming to UEA, I read BSc Geography and MSc Risk and Environmental Hazards at Durham University.
Rhosanna's life as a UEA postgraduate research student
I'm Rhosanna and I research the impacts of climate change on water resources and biodiversity in Kenya. Well, climate change is affecting everyone across the world and it's happening now, so getting a full understanding of what might happen in the future is really important.
What does it mean in the real world?
I research animal movement in Kenya and there's a lot of animals in Kenya that people really want to go and see, so we've got elephants and giraffes and hippos and climate change is going to affect where these animals are able to live. My research will help determine where you can actually go and see them in the future.
What fascinates you about this area?
I think the idea that we can get something as complex as our world down into these computer models. We take a look at what's happening now and we get a load of mathematical equations and somehow we're able to almost reproduce what's happening and we can use that to look into the future and see how it might affect us.
7:30am: Leave for UEA
After getting ready, I check the weather. If it’s fine, I’ll walk but if it’s pouring with rain I head for the bus stop. I live about 30 minutes’ walk away from campus in an area called Threescore. It’s quiet, surrounded by green spaces and just far enough from UEA to feel like a different world when you need it to.
8:30am: in the office
My research is desk (or computer) based, so the first thing I do when I get to the office is turn on my PC. For my research I use a few different computer models to see how the climate, water resources and biodiversity in a river basin in Kenya might change in the future. I might spend most days in front of a computer but it’s actually rare to be doing the same thing 2 days in a row. My PhD is what’s known as interdisciplinary, which means I have lots of different sections to work on.
10:30am: coffee break
By 10:30, the computer screens are getting dull and coffee is calling my name. Luckily the ENV coffee club (or on Wednesdays, Tyndall Centre tea break) is able to oblige.
11am: back to work
Revitalised, it’s back to the computer and, after a brief side-track to check my emails, back to work.
12:30pm: lunch time
If it’s Friday, you’ll find me in the Sportspark sweating my way through a BodyPump class. On other days, there are lunchtime seminars so you can keep up to date with other research going on in the School.
Other than that, I’m usually still at my desk. I’m also the editor of a website about motorsport, so sometimes there are updates to that that require my attention.
1:30pm: the afternoon
There’s usually a meeting or friend to catch up with that breaks up (or takes up) the afternoon. I’m also involved with helping out with undergraduate modules, invigilating exams and designing outreach activities which adds variety to the day (and provides a little extra money at the end of the month).
One of the best things about my PhD is that I can decide when I’m done for the day. Every day is slightly different so you run out of energy at different times. Some days, the technology just won’t play ball and staying would be like continuing to fight a losing battle. Other times I’ll be just about to finish for the day when something new or interesting pops up and I’m motivated to continue. This can be anything from a notification about a relevant conference or a script that I’ve written finally running without error messages.
After walking home, I normally start cooking. Soon after starting my PhD I joined a local Slimming World group, so cooking a decent meal has become important. Luckily there are still lots of quick meals to make when things get busy! That group is where you’ll find me on a Thursday evening. In the summer, I’ll do evening classes at the Sportspark too as it’s not too dark to walk back afterwards.
After eating, I’ll ring my family to tell them any news and hear about what the cat and/or puppy got up to that day.
The rest of the evening is spent watching TV or reading.