"I chose to study at SFU again because of the Geography Deparment’s good reputation and the positive learning experiences I had as an undergraduate in the department. The work being done in the Climate Research Lab also aligns with my interest in climate solutions research."

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Student Profile: Christine Leclerc

Geography master's student in the Faculty of Environment

May 31, 2021
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I graduated with a BSc in Physical Geography from SFU in 2021. That year I was fortunate to begin an MSc in Geography with Dr. Kirsten Zickfeld's Climate Research Lab. I study the water cycle impact of nature-based climate solutions for carbon dioxide removal, such as afforestation. Following this degree, my goal is to pursue further study of climate science and continue on in a research role.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I chose to study at SFU again because of the Geography Deparment’s good reputation and the positive learning experiences I had as an undergraduate in the department. The work being done in the Climate Research Lab also aligns with my interest in climate solutions research.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?

I study how adding forests to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere will likely affect the water cycle. Adding forests sequesters carbon dioxide. At the same time, land cover change can alter soil moisture and how much water vapour enters the atmosphere. This can change rainfall and streamflow with potential impacts on drinking water ecosystems, agriculture, and activities where water is consumed.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

As a graduate student at SFU, I am really enjoying learning about what has been found about the water cycle impacts of forestation and deforestation to date, and visualizing coupled model intercomparison project data for precipitation, runoff, and other hydrological variables. I also appreciate working alongside other lab colleagues and the mentorship of my supervisory committee.

In addition, I appreciate being able to complement formal training with learning and teaching experience. Being a participant in Evidence for Democracy’s inaugural Science to Policy Accelerator is helping me learn more about how science can inform policy. Serving as a Teaching Assistant has helped hone my teaching skills and I look forward to offering a hands-on introduction to a simple climate model at the 2022 Burnaby Festival of Learning.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.

Summer 2020 NSERC/SFU USRA: This award gave me so many firsts! It helped connect me with my first Research Assistant role, my first scientific literature discussion group, my first co-lead authorship and academic publication, and my first American Geophysical Union oral presentation. I also received a Canadian Geophysical Union Student Conference and prize for Best Undergraduate Presentation.

Fall 2021 Special Graduate Entrance Scholarship: This scholarship has allowed me to advance in my research plan and master the literature in the area of water cycle impacts of forestation.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM/POSTDOC POSITION TO SOMEONE STILL SEARCHING FOR A PROGRAM OR POSTDOC POSITION?

My supervisor encourages proactive goal setting, which I value greatly. I would also share that I felt very welcomed and respected throughout the intake process and beyond.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?

The photo included here was taken by JP Leclerc.

Contact Christine: leclerc@sfu.ca

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