Kate Sambrook, MSc Climate Change and Environmental Policy alumni

Kate Sambrook


What have you been doing since finishing your studies?

Since completing the course, I have remained at the university and worked for Professor Piers Forster as a Research Assistant for nearly two years. During my role, I collaborated with organisations around the country (e.g. Virgin Atlantic Airways, Rolls Royce, The Climate Coalition, BASIS) and provided my scientific expertise to their upcoming reports. I supported the planning and delivery of their environmental research in the field of climate change; in particular the changing patterns of extreme weather events (i.e. heatwaves, hurricanes and heavy rainfall events etc.).

In October 2019 I started my PhD on perceptions of extreme heat in sport at the University of Leeds. So far, I have carried out a literature review exploring the role of personal experience of extreme weather events in generating climate change concern and action. In addition, I have recently started an interview study which is intended to gain an insight into how athletes think and feel about heatwaves, their personal experiences with heatwaves, and how they respond to them.The information offered will help me understand how to improve communications about heatwaves in the future.  


What experiences at Leeds do you think have particularly helped?

During the course I was taught by world leading researchers on climate change policy and together they combined various teaching methods (e.g. lectures, practical workshops, field trips, computer lab sessions, research seminars and group work) which really helped me gain a well-rounded understanding of climate change and its impacts.

Whilst writing up my dissertation, I worked for the Centre for Industrial Energy, Materials and Products (CIE-MAP) based at the Sustainability Research Institute in Leeds. I assisted researchers in the dissemination of climate change research into academic and policy material.

My main duties were: (1) data collection, analysis, presentation and results preparation; (2) conducting background literature reviews; (3) appraising policies; and (4) communicating research into a format suitable for policy makers. I further developed my written and verbal skills by writing project proposals and reports. I also presented my work to the team on numerous occasions which gave me the experience of tailoring my communication style to different audiences; a key skill in informing, educating and mobilizing not only other researchers but also the wider community.


Why did you choose to study your particular course and why did you choose the University of Leeds?

I have always had an interest in climate change, and I knew after undertaking my undergraduate degree in Physical Geography at the University of Leeds that I wanted to further expand my knowledge and skills in this area. The MSc course offers a unique combination of training in physical, social and policy aspects of climate change and with the wide range of modules options together with the significant level and breadth of expert teaching I knew this course was for me.

Since I had such a positive and enjoyable experience during my undergraduate degree, I was keen to stay at the university for my masters. The campus has everything a student could hope for, including fabulous facilities and services (e.g. I.T services, libraries, student support) and an amazing Students’ Union, which really does help every student love their time at Leeds.


What was the best aspect of your course?

The course itself was fantastic as it allowed me to study a diverse range of topics including the physical science of climate change, environmental governance, and climate change adaptation and mitigation. I also had the opportunity to go on the environment and development field course to the East Usambara Mountains in Tanzania. Here, I gained first-hand experience of environment-development issues in a developing world context, which provided me with an opportunity to reflect on, develop and apply theoretical knowledge learnt in earlier classroom-based modules.

However, it was the people I met along my journey which were the best aspect for me. Nearly everyone on the course was from different backgrounds, nationalities and ethnicities, so I learnt so much about the world around me. The course really brought us together and although it was challenging, we really did have a great year!


What would you say to students thinking about studying your course?

If you want to gain a well-rounded understanding of the causes and impacts of climate change, as well as important adaptation/mitigation options then this is the course for you!