Where did you study before coming to Oxford?

I studied Geography at Worcester College, Oxford as an undergraduate, and completed an MPhil in Polar Studies at the University of Cambridge.

What are you studying/researching at Oxford?

I’m a DPhil student at the School of Geography and the Environment, and I’m interested in the interactions between plants and wind in semi-arid deserts. Given that climate change and land-use pressure are set to increase over the 21st century, I’m hoping to develop a predictive computer model that will improve our understanding of desertification in socio-economically vulnerable regions around the world.

What do you like most about St Catherine’s?

There’s no denying it: Catz is different. In its look, in its size, in its philosophy. In fact, the Catz motto, Nova et Vetera, neatly summarises the intriguing mix of old and new that permeates college life. As a result, it’s quite unlike any of the other colleges at Oxford, and I think it’s this bold blend of tradition and modernity that makes Catz such a brilliant community to be part of.

What is a typical day like?

There is no typical postgraduate day, and being a DPhil, I’m very much my own boss in terms of time management. I tend to be in the department by 9am – the morning is usually reserved for meetings with my supervisors, learning how to use equipment for my fieldwork (I get to use a drone for geographical research!), and working on my model. In the afternoon, there is nearly always a talk or two in my department or around the university that I try to attend. Sadly there is never enough time to go to all the daily academic events on offer at Oxford! After a sport session in the evening, I cook dinner with friends, or sometimes go to Catz for a delicious (and plentiful) ‘formal dinner’. There are often concerts or plays being performed around the city, and these provide a welcome break from the day’s hard work!

Is there anything else you’d like prospective applicants to know?

Catz has incredible array of financial support for its postgraduate students, so make sure you thoroughly investigate all the options that are available to you when you apply. Also, watch out for the college soup spoons – they’ll confuse even the most seasoned user.