Paloma Trascasa-Castro, MRes Climate and Atmospheric Science alumni

Paloma Trascasa-Castro

What have you been doing since finishing your studies? 

After my masters I worked at the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds as a research assistant. My job consisted in understanding how CO2 and black carbon emitted to the atmosphere affect extreme precipitation events in Africa. At the moment I am in the second year of my PhD in atmospheric sciences also at the University of Leeds.

What company are you working for, what is your role and what does it involve?

My PhD aims to understand the climate impacts of a phenomenon called El Niño-Southern Oscillation. This phenomenon has climate impacts across the world and it is very important to know more about how it works and especially how its impacts will be in a changing climate. The more we know about it the sooner we can anticipate to its impacts.

In a normal day, I analyse data from climate models and make plots and maps to visualise my results. I also read papers to stay up to date with the latest advances in the field and attend seminars and group meetings.

What experiences at Leeds do you think have particularly helped with your career?

There are many opportunities to interact with researchers at the University of Leeds as well as from other universities and the UK Met Office. That improved my communication skills and I learnt how to present my work in conferences.

Outside the University, the city of Leeds offers a wide range of opportunities, from international restaurants, music and arts festivals and a big cultural offer. Also, there are some really nice walking routes that you can start from the city or take a 30 min. train and explore Yorkshire.

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

I was looking for a master’s program that included both theoretical (lectures) and practical (research) component of the atmospheric science. I was enthusiastic about a career in academia and this course offered the opportunity to try and live as a researcher for a year. At an international level, there are not many courses like this one where you can both broaden your theoretical knowledge and learn how to be a good researcher so this was a unique opportunity.

What was the best aspect of your course?

It is a difficult choice, but I would say the research atmosphere that exists in the School of Earth and Environment. Everyone there is very passionate about what they do, and that enthusiasm ultimately passes on you. There is always something going on: from internal seminars to invited speakers every week, science workshops, social activities, etc… The MRes can be tough sometimes but being part of such a strong research community makes everything easier.

Also, I loved my masters project and my supervisors were very supportive and encouraging. I was part of a research group and during our biweekly meetings I had the chance to get feedback and learn from more advanced postgraduate researchers.

What activities outside of your studies were you involved in?

During the last months of my course I created an outreach project called “The Climate Press”, together with 2 PhD students. We started interviewing academics from the faculty and making podcasts with the purpose make climate science accessible to everyone. We are still running the project, and we are receiving an amazing support from the Faculty.

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

I would highly recommend this course to students that want to pursue a research career inside or outside academia. The research environment is excellent and you will be able to develop and strengthen a set of invaluable skills. Prepare to work hard and have a lot of fun!