"As a graduate student I look forward analyzing climate simulations for a variety of scenarios and communicating findings for diverse audiences."

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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 previously studied fine arts and served as a communications executive. However, in recent years I have had the opportunity to return to university to study Physical Geography and learn about the physical basis of climate change. So far I have served as a co-lead author on a Hahm Research Group study into the sensitivity of headwater stream networks to climate change. This fall, I will begin Simon Fraser University's MSc in Geography program where I will study the carbon cycle as part of Dr. Kirsten Zickfeld's Climate Research Lab. Following this degree, I plan to pursue a PhD in climate science and continue in a research role at a university, research institute, or government agency.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

The opportunity contribute research on the greenhouse gas neutralizing potential of Nature-based Solutions while working with a supervisor who will challenge me to do my best work were major factors in my choice. Other factors include how highly SFU alum earth science professionals in my circle speak of the skills and opportunities they gained through SFU and how engaged SFU is on the climate solutions front.

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

I am working to quantify the potential of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to: (1) neutralize human greenhouse gas emissions, (2) impact earth's albedo and regional climate extremes, and (3) affect long term carbon cycle strength.

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

One of my favorite things about studying at SFU is the range of opportunities available. As an undergraduate I volunteered with Embark Sustainability, chairing its board for a time. This was a great way to enrich my academic experience with learnings in leadership and sustainability. As a graduate student I look forward analyzing climate simulations for a variety of scenarios and communicating findings for diverse audiences. I also look forward to volunteering with the SFU Satellite Design Team to grow as a Python Programmer and get hands on experience with remote sensing technology.

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. Additional outcomes include a feature story in the Faculty of Environment newsletter (which resulted in a data analyst summer job offer), a social media spotlight with the Society for Canadian Women in Science & Technology, a Canadian Geophysical Union Student Conference presentation and prize for Best Undergraduate Presentation. I also suspect that the USRA and associated outcomes helped me stand out when applying to graduate programs.

Fall 2021 Special Graduate Entrance Scholarship: Scholarships like this help sustain degree progress and are much appreciated.

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.

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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