Erin Gilchrist, third year Geography student at Aberdeen University, has obtained a competitive Mitacs Globalink Research Internship on coastal climate change resilience in Canada
Tell us a bit about the internship - what is it about?
The Mitacs Globalink Research Internship allows international undergraduate students from all over the world to go to Canada and take part research project for 12 weeks. This year I will be working on a project entitled Coastal Climate Change Resilience - British Columbia, at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
According to climate model forecasts, we will continue to see further temperature increases, more extreme weather events and a rise in sea-level, posing ongoing risks for coastal communities. This research seeks to document climate related threats, and shed light on the motivations, extent, and actions around policy and planning for climate adaptation in coastal communities, in order to better understand their preparedness for climate variability. The study focuses on communities that have an adaptation agenda in some form, whether sophisticated or modest, or just in the works. This study will provide insight into community readiness for climate variability and contribute to the emerging literature on resilience theory. By exploring the decision dynamics around community adaptation plan and policy conception and action implementation, this research will shed light on the role key actors (e.g. planners, engineers, sustainability managers etc.) play and the skills and expertise they harness in order to help their community become resilient to an increasingly variable climate.
How does the internship link with your geography studies at the University of Aberdeen?
The internship provides an opportunity to put into practice the research techniques we are taught on several of the courses when studying MA Geography at Aberdeen. Climate change is also studied as part of the course material and this opportunity will allow me to observe real life implications of climate change in coastal communities.
The Mitacs Globalink internship is a competitive scheme - how do you feel studying geography at the University of Aberdeen prepared you for being selected?
I particularly I feel the Skills and Techniques in Geoscience course has helped to develop my skills that are required to be successful in securing an internship place. Learning how to gather information as part of research and analysing that information gathered through many different methods including coding which I feel is particularly desirable.
I also had the opportunity to participate in an international exchange to the University of Calgary in Canada through Aberdeen University which I feel has allowed me to demonstrate my adaptability to new situations.
Do you have any ideas or plans for after your internship?
The internship will be completed in the summer between my third and fourth year of my degree. I think that it will be a great opportunity for me to develop my research skills which will be advantageous when I return to complete my dissertation in my final year at Aberdeen. I am also considering pursuing a career in risk management and the internship will allow me to gain vital experience and knowledge.