Sebastian Omondi Nyawalo
- Course: Geographical Information Science MSc
- Nationality: Kenyan
Why did you decide to study a masters at the University of Leeds?
The University of Leeds has a reputation for offering quality training and research-based learning which not only equips learners with skills and knowledge, but also makes them critical thinkers and with solutions-oriented mindsets. This was a motivation to join the university and benefit from such opportunities that would enhance my personal and professional growth.
What has been the best aspect of studying on your course and with the University so far and why?
I have very supportive tutors who are always ready to assist whenever I’m faced with various challenges during the course work. Also, the general workflow of the module’s workaround from communication, accessing the module materials, the online university library, submitting assessments and getting feedback through Minerva has been simple and very efficient.
Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have been involved with.
Through the Web Mapping module, I have been able to sharpen my programming skills and develop an interactive Farmer Profiler dashboard which is an aggregation solution for farmers to market their products through open-air markets on simple web platforms. The web platform changes the agribusiness dynamics of small-scale farmers as they can show the products they have in stores to potential buyers, their locations, contact details, and they can also undertake data analytics on the platform. This has been a quite exciting project to undertake since, growing up in western Kenya where agriculture is the main economic activity, I understand the challenges that small-scale farmers go through in efforts to market their products.
Why did you decide to study on an online course and what have been the advantages of working remotely?
I decided to take an online course as it gives me flexibility in balancing work, family and academic matters. This has made it easy for me to plan myself accordingly since my work entails a lot of field work, as a Geographer. Working remotely also allows me to manage my studies at my own pace and go beyond the unit content through extensive research activities.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I am very confident that the skills and knowledge I am gaining from studying at University of Leeds will positively impact my professional development as I intend to put them into practise and help in solving real-world challenges. I am seeing myself being among the top researchers in the world and contribute positively to the pool of GIS based research solutions.
What have you learned on your course that you think will help you in your future career?
I have gained a lot of technical skills in data management, data analysis and data presentation which are very important in my professional field. I have also learnt a lot about research work which has expanded my understanding of research projects and how research reports are developed.
What would you say to students joining the same course?
I would encourage students who are seeking to expand their skills and knowledge in GIS to undertake this course as its contents have all the necessities needed to develop the foundation and grow a successful career path. Not only will they gain technical skills, but also interpersonal skills that will help them become part of the solutions needed to solve real world problems.