The University of Southampton
Geography and Environment

Emily  De Noia  MSc Sustainability

Emily  De Noia 's Photo

Hi, I'm Emily De Noia and I'm studying MSc Sustainability at the University of Southampton.

We took part in loads of fieldtrips; we went to the New Forest several times for different modules, Romsey to study chalk streams and last semester we visited a solar and wind farm.

Q: What made you decide to study MSc Sustainability at Southampton?

I live locally, grew up in Southampton and my family live nearby. I’d heard really good things about the University and went to a postgraduate fair in Liverpool - Southampton was there and the staff on the desk were very friendly and helpful.

I saw the MSc Sustainability card and thought this is what I am aiming to do. I have oceanography interests as well and the team there showed me all the available courses.

Q: How did you find out more information about the course?

I looked up the course director Dr James Dyke, searched online and watched a few of his videos. I visited the course page, emailed James and applied! I had an instant feeling I wanted to do the course. It was sustainability on its own - there are other sustainability programmes but always with something else. And because it was new, it was exciting.

Q: What modules have you particularly enjoyed?

The modules I’ve taken this year have been amazing, completely interdisciplinary - another reason I studied the course – many other courses were just in one faculty - at Southampton it’s taught across a number including Geography and Environment, Environment and Engineering, and Business, Law and Art. It makes it more interesting and with sustainability I think a broad understanding helps in being able to tackle the issues.

Last semester I took the Complex Social-Ecological Systems module - it was initially very difficult because it wasn’t something I’d done before but eventually everything clicked – it’s one I enjoyed the most and I’m doing something similar for my thesis.

My chosen sustainability pathway was Population. It’s important to understand population to work within sustainability and I really enjoyed studying demography. I’ve had several modules; one this semester called Population Health and another, Population, Poverty and Policy.

Q: Can you tell us about any fieldtrips and industry links during the course?

We took part in loads of fieldtrips; we went to the New Forest several times for different modules, Romsey to study chalk streams and last semester we visited a solar and wind farm.

During my River and Fisheries Restoration module we visited some Hampshire chalk streams and were accompanied by a member of the Environment Agency team who talked us through everything. It was interesting to have someone in the sector talk about what they do, you can start to compare real life jobs with what you’re studying. We also had a chance to do some electric fishing in a river!

During the engineering module Climate Design of Buildings and Cities, we went on a few field trips including one to Poundbury in Dorchester, the town developed by Prince Charles.

We also did a tour of Southampton, but obviously I’ve grown up here. I knew where I was going but the way my lecturer was talking about everything I saw it from a completely different perspective.

Q: Do you have any plans over the summer?

I leave in July for a trip to Indonesia for around 30 days. UNESCO are developing a sustainability science model with the help of the University of Southampton, Dr Craig Hutton from Geography and Environment is involved.

Whilst we’re there we’ll visit Universities working with UNESCO to see if they fit the criteria. These criteria need to be followed in order for a project to be classified as sustainability science. This will be tested on three or four pilot projects throughout Indonesia to see if any criteria are missed out, what isn’t effective, whether some criteria affect other criteria and things like that. The aim is to end with a set of recommendations and a really accurate sustainability science model that UNESCO can follow for their projects. It will help to eliminate common errors and mistakes and it should be really exciting. I’ll be accompanying universities in the field and interviewing people from local communities too.

Q: How did you get involved in the scheme – was it something you had to apply for?

During our Introduction to Sustainability module, run by James, other lecturers came to impart their knowledge and expertise, and one of them was Craig Hutton. He talked about consultancy and developing this module and asked us if we’d be interested in learning more about what he was doing. We got in touch with Craig and things took off from there. We received funding from UNESCO as well as the Geography department and we’ve raised further funds by setting up a Kickstarter page.

Q: What are your plans after that?

I'm back from Indonesia mid-August and after that will be writing up my thesis for submission in September.

After my Masters, I’d like to do similar work and will see how Indonesia goes. I may try to find work abroad to apply my knowledge. If I really enjoy Indonesia I might go back to work for an NGO or work as an environmental manager.

Q: Dop you have any advice for anyone thinking of studying MSc Sustainability at Southampton?

Do it! And embrace everything! I’ve been to every single lecture and have engaged with the subject completely!


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