Magaly Valencia Avellan

Magaly Valencia Avellan

Funding:  National Secretariat of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation of Ecuador (SENESCYT scholarship)

Supervisors: Dr Rebecca Slack, Dr Paul Kay (Geography), Dr Anthony Stockdale (Earth and Environment)

Why did you decide to study for a PhD, and why Leeds?

I am an Ecuadorian student who experienced the challenge of studying abroad thanks to a Belgian scholarship for my Masters’ degree. There I acquired useful knowledge that I applied as an employee in a private shrimp industry and in a regional organization for the South Pacific coast. Although this period was very satisfying, I missed working on research projects. In 2013, the Ecuadorian Government granted me a scholarship to realize my PhD studies. I chose to come to the School of Geography because it is one of the top research-based departments in the UK and it is associated with several interdisciplinary research groups such as the Water Research Centre: Water@leeds.

What are your career aspirations?

I feel very passionate about Water management because this practice has direct application in stimulating policy innovations, revitalizing ecosystems, supporting communities and protecting vulnerable species. In view of that, the School of Geography has a stimulating research environment. For PhD students, cluster groups provide close interactions with academics. In addition, the competent and supportive guidance of supervisors gives a valuable contribution along training.

More generally, what would you say to someone else who may be considering studying a PhD in the School of Geography?

So far the best part of my PhD has been the learning process not only in the academic sense but also getting to know other cultures and traditions. The School has a large number of international students for a fascinating cultural exchange. Also, the excellent academic facilities and the pleasant staff have helped me to enjoy my time here. I am sure that this experience will provide me with an adaptable set of skills which are in demand in many different situations here in the UK and worldwide. After I have finished my PhD, I will return to Ecuador to support my country in its academic and technical development.