James Pantefedwyn Foundation

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Nathaniel Baurley

I finished my PhD at the University of Southampton in July 2022, passing my viva with (very) minor corrections, capping off a challenging, but incredibly rewarding three and a half years as a doctoral student. In July of this year, I started my new research position at the university, which I’m incredibly excited about.

Growing up in Wales, I have always been interested in the natural environment and how different processes have shaped and continue to shape the world around us. As such, I studied Geography at university, where I became interested in the field of Glaciology. After passing my degree with first-class honours, I decided to further my knowledge and interest in the subject by undertaking a Masters degree. This was a fantastic experience which only increased my passion for the subject, especially after passing with distinction.

I knew I wanted to stay in academia so that I could continue my studies and undertake research in the subject that I was passionate about, and as such I began my PhD in October 2018. My research involved using new, airbourne surveying techniques to investigate the different processes that can influence glacier retreat and response to climate change at high resolutions. Throughout my PhD, I have been involved in high-quality research, contributing to, and writing several academic papers (as both lead- and co-author) which have been published in leading journals in the field. I have also presented my research at several international academic conferences, which was a fantastic experience, despite these being online due to COVID.

Alongside this, I taught on many undergraduate and Masters modules, both in lectures and out in the field, with the fieldtrip to the Swiss Alps being a particular highlight! These efforts led to me being awarded the “Most Loved PhD Student” by the university Geography Society in 2020, while recently I was highly commended for my contribution to teaching in 2021/22. I was also an academic representative for my fellow PhD students, giving them a voice at departmental and faculty level, and a mentor for those new PhD students joining the department

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the James Pantyfedwen Foundation for their generous funding of my tuition fees throughout my PhD. As a self-funded student, this support significantly eased my financial worries, enabling me to focus on my studies and my achievements. Without this, things would have been considerably more difficult, and as such I will always be truly grateful to the foundation for their kindness and generosity.