Alumni

Alumni profile - Louis Gondy

Every single environmental challenge in the world has repercussions and implications amongst all disciplines you can think of: politics, law, economics, engineering, biology, physics, etc. Being an Environmental scientist means that you ought to be a mediator amongst all those stakeholders while facing the most difficult world challenges known to mankind. 

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What made you choose to study for a BSc in Environmental Science and Business Management at Queen Mary? While completing my French Baccalaureate in 2014, I became very close to my Earth and Life Sciences teacher, who taught me environmental awareness through various side school projects. After graduating, I found myself struggling to choose a University program in France as most undergraduate-level University courses are monodisciplinary. I thus decided to challenge myself, and come to the UK for my bachelor’s degree, despite not being fluent in English at the time. As a person passionate about a number of scientific disciplines, I chose this particular course for its multidisciplinary approach.

What aspects of your degree did you find most enjoyable and was there anything that surprised you in your studies? One of the most enjoyable features of any degree in the UK is the way they are being taught. Personal development is at the heart of the UK’s higher education system, and in this context students are thus provided with significant freedom in terms of the choice of modules as well as the literature being studied. More specifically for the School of Geography at Queen Mary, the close proximity with the teaching staff, coupled with the friendships one can develop during fieldtrips, are among the best things one can experience at university.

Can you describe your career path up to date and your current role? What does a typical working day look like for you? After graduating from Queen Mary, I chose to pursue a Master’s degree in Environmental Science with a specialisation in Energy Science at the University of Geneva. While studying there, I was able to complete two internships at a consulting firm for environmental management and life cycle assessments (LCAs) and at UNEP in the Crisis Management Branch working on Environmental disasters from the Oil & Gas sector. At that time, I became passionate about Data Science and completed a Master’s thesis which focused on building a detection framework using satellite imagery and Deep-Learning to determine the installed capacity of solar panels on any territory. Upon graduating from the University of Geneva in 2019, I joined the Solar Impulse Foundation as their Data Analyst. The foundation promotes cleantech and aims at finding 1000 Solutions that are both environmentally and economically advantageous. My job focuses on building data pipelines from different platforms, analysing key metrics from our operations, automating various processes and extracting valuable insights for intelligence.

How did your time and study at Queen Mary help you decide the career path you wanted to pursue? During my time at Queen Mary, I was able to develop my interests in key environmental matters including Energy, Climate Change and Environmental Engineering. It was also the first time I was exposed to the importance of data in research through Remote sensing, GIS, applied data analytics and various methodology classes. My dissertation’s supervisor also greatly helped me upon graduating by making me confident in my choice to pursue my Master’s degree in Switzerland.

What was special about your time at Queen Mary? Can you give one or two examples of your most memorable moments? I remember innumerable happy memories during those three years. Discovering London, its customs and people from all around the world was definitely a highlight for me. I remember going to the Cairngorms for a field trip and winning against our faculty professor and a teaching assistant with my best friend at pool while sipping whisky. I remember this same professor personally taking me for a 2 hour drive so that I could catch my flight to France after the fieldtrip.

Do you have a favourite spot on campus? If so, where is it and why? I don’t think I have a favourite spot as most of them are so iconic and filled with memories. You could always find me at Mucci’s terrace sipping my morning coffee before attending lectures, waiting in the queue at Ground to get that follow-up shot of caffeine after the lecture, sitting by the canal enjoying a quick lunch, and playing pool and having drinks at the end of the day at Draper’s.

Do you have any role models that you look up to, both inside and outside of your field? I could not look up to better role models than my parents for always pushing me to pursue my goals and achieve my dreams, to never settle and always pushing me through new challenges. 

What are your hopes and plans for your future career? I am truly thankful and privileged to have found a job that suits fully my expectations in such a short period of time after graduating from my Master’s. I plan to eventually start a PhD in Data Science at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in a couple of years. Given time, experience and my passion for automating the boring stuff, I do see myself creating something of my own in the future, reflective of my field of interests.

Is there any advice you would give to prospective students who are interested in studying Environmental Science at? Environmental Science is truly a field for people passionate about understanding the World and its dynamics/relationships through a systemic view. Every single environmental challenge in the world has repercussions and implications amongst all disciplines you can think of: politics, law, economics, engineering, biology, physics, etc. Being an Environmental scientist means that you ought to be a mediator amongst all those stakeholders while facing the most difficult world challenges known to mankind. Sometimes you’ll think of yourself as a Jack of all trades and master of none. My only advice would be to follow your instincts and your interests will eventually pop up, making you a Jack of all trades and master of one!

This profile was conducted by Alumni Engagement Coordinator, Nathalie Grey. If you would like to get in touch with Louis or engage him in your work, please contact Nathalie at n.grey@qmul.ac.uk.