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School of Geography

Postgraduate students celebrate at winter graduation


Congratulations to all our postgraduate students who were awarded degrees from the School of Geography at QMUL during this year’s winter graduation ceremonies.

Graduates and academics in the historic Octagon

Masters graduates gathered in the Great Hall yesterday at Queen Mary’s People’s Palace to receive their degrees in Cities and Cultures, Community Organising, Environmental Science by Research, Geography, Global Development Futures, Integrated Management of Freshwater Environments and London Studies. Two PhD graduates were also awarded degrees. Family, friends and staff from the School joined the celebrations afterwards in the university’s historic old library – the Octagon.

Our School – whose history dates back to 1894 – is one of the oldest Schools of Geography in the UK. We have an excellent reputation for teaching and research across human and physical geography as well as environmental science. Students and researchers come to study from all over the world to work side-by-side in a strong, supportive and forward-thinking School with some of the most prominent researchers in the field.

Masters graduate Joshua Leigh (right) with his supervisor Dr Sven Lukas

Masters graduate Joshua Leigh completed an MSc in Environmental Science by Research with distinction and is a recipient of the Principal’s Prize – a postgraduate prize for outstanding academic performance. "My year spent as an MSc student at QMUL has been incredibly rewarding, and finally graduating with a distinction is one of the highlights of my year. Studying for a masters degree in Environmental Science by Research meant that my research project was the core of my studies and since the outset I was fully involved in the development of my research project. My independent research has ignited a curiosity to further my understanding of glacial systems whilst it highlighted the vulnerability of these complex systems to the inherent dangers of anthropogenically forced climate change. I hope to continue my studies in the future and look forward to my next challenge" said Josh.

His supervisor, Dr Sven Lukas, said “Josh has used his year working on his masters to full effect: he dedicated himself 100% to his work and has significantly advanced our understanding of how we can establish the rates and processes of glacier changes in high-altitude sites such as the Alps. The outcome of his work is very exciting and novel, and we are currently working together to publish his findings, so that it gets the international recognition it deserves. Well done and many congratulations, Josh!”

Masters graduate Jack Lowe (left) with other Cities and Cultures MA graduates

Jack Lowe studied for an MA in Cities and Cultures and is also recipient of the Principal’s Prize. Jack said that he was thrilled to discover the Cities and Cultures course after completing his undergraduate degree. “The course has given me a wealth of opportunities that I would not have had otherwise: the chance to independently research my own chosen areas of interest in cultural and urban geography; meeting and learning from a range of artists and cultural practitioners; and experience that has led to a voluntary position at Blast Theory, an internationally renowned, BAFTA-nominated arts organisation” said Jack. “Everyone in the School has been enormously supportive from the beginning, giving me not only detailed, constructive feedback on my work but also excellent advice for my professional development” he added.

PhD graduates Laura Humphreys (centre) and Suzy Solley (second right) with their supervisors Professors Kavita Datta, Alastair Owens and Alison Blunt

Laura Humphreys and Suzy Solley were both awarded their PhD degrees at the ceremony. Laura’s research focused on domestic labour in the Victorian home and its connections with the wider world. Funded by the AHRC, her research completed in collaboration with the Geffrye Museum, where she also co-curated an exhibition on domestic service in the past and present. Laura now works at the National Maritime Museum. Suzy’s research focused on Nepali widows and widowhood, exploring age, caste, religion and the life-course, and was funded by the ESRC. Suzy is a Research Associate in the School working on a project about public health funded by Tower Hamlets.    

As the celebrations concluded, Head of School Professor Alison Blunt said “My colleagues and I are delighted to celebrate with our masters and PhD students. They have been a pleasure to work with and I wish them every success for the future.”



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