BA Geog 2017-18 silly Cropped

Student Profiles

Meet our Geography and Environment students 

My highlight of LSE will definitely be our Geography trip to Kerala, India

Mohammed Altab, BSc Geography with Economics

Undergraduate 

Mohammed Altab - BSc Geography with Economics

altab profileWhy did you choose the course/LSE?

During my A-level studies, I quickly realised my love for both Geography and Economics. I wanted to pursue both subjects at degree-level, however, there were very few top universities in London that offered this unique combination. The reason why I chose LSE was for the fact that it was rated one of the best Universities in the world for both Geography and Economics. Additionally, being in the heart of London really enhanced my student experience as I still had access to events at LSE as well as other Universities. This course has been phenomenal and the Department has been very supportive throughout the last 3 years. The cohort is relatively small compared to other courses, which I love as I am not just a number and really feel part of the Department.

What has been the highlight of your LSE experience?

My highlight of LSE will definitely be our Geography trip to Kerala, India last year. I think we are the only department to do an international field trip as part of our studies - very lucky! I was able to witness elements of both Geography and Economics being applied to a real-life scenario.

How are you planning to use your degree for your future career?

My degree encouraged me to explore my interest in emerging markets and how they can impact the financial world. I have been able to work with companies in emerging markets such as India, as part of my Investment Banking role at Deutsche Bank. I can always apply my geographical understanding to make the best financial decisions. 

Sum up your experience in 3 words:

Memorable, challenging, invaluable

Rob Clapp - BSc Environment and Development 

robbClapp

Why did you choose the course/LSE? 

The wide-range of in-depth modules available, the insightful and encouraging academics, and all the brilliant events that take place. 

What has been the highlight of your LSE experience?

Getting to try completely new things: like learning Spanish, completing department research, and joining the Triathlon Club. 

How are you planning to use your degree for your future career? 

I’m still reviewing my options but I know the ability to be critical and think outside the box will always be relevant. 

Sum up your experience in 3 words: 

Insightful, rewarding, active.

Vitaliy Komar - BSc Environmental Policy with Economics

vitaliy

Why did you choose the course/LSE? 

I have not found any other university that would offer such a combination of environmentally related content and economics. The experience of the faculty and leadership in the real world sustainability debate has also been very important.

What has been the highlight of your LSE experience? 

The research methods course field trip to New York has been unforgettable.

How are you planning to use your degree for your future career? 

I aim to work on sustainability issues in the corporate governance and finance industry. My degree has not only equipped me with the necessary skills and knowledge for that, but also helped me get in touch with some of the leading professionals in the field.

Sum up your experience in 3 words: 

exciting, social, intense.

Liam Travers - BA Geography

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Why did you choose the course/LSE? 

Aside from being the best human geography course in the country, the department allows you to pursue modules from LSE’s other world class degree programmes!

What has been the highlight of your LSE experience so far?

Has to be a toss up between being elected president of my hall and the notorious AU carol!

How are you planning to use your degree for your future career? 

I have no concrete plans as of yet, but I know my degree will help me find work in a progressive, ambitious and outward-looking organisation.

Sum up your experience in 3 words: 
Exciting, Rewarding, Unique

 

Postgraduate

Ellen Abena Fosuwa Kwofie - MSc Environment and Development

ellen abena fosuwa kwofie

Why did you choose the course/LSE?

The MSc Environment and Development was exceptional, challenging and multidisciplinary in nature and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to grow and learn in this programme. The programme discusses matters on sustainability, an area that has been the focus of policy agendas in recent times and provides a grounding in policy making in social, economic and political spheres that adapts to evolving environmental challenges.

Not only have I realised how incredible learning can be, I have also learnt how to apply knowledge to challenging situations. I chose to study at the LSE because it is a top world class university and it is located in the heart of London.

What has been the highlight of your LSE experience?

LSE has added a lot of value to my academic life, helping me to gain first-hand knowledge and to meet people from all walks of life with diverse cultures. The staff on the programme were friendly, approachable, welcoming and always willing to extend a helping hand, thus reducing most of my fears and difficulties.

How are you planning to use your degree for your future career?

My long-term career goal is to become a lecturer and a researcher. As an academic, I will be able to influence policy direction. More importantly, I will be able to share my knowledge, shaping the leadership of the next generation and contribute significantly to the development of my country, Ghana and the world in general.

Having studied the MSc in Environment and Development, I am excited about the future, knowing the confidence I have developed from studying this programme and knowing what I am capable of doing to contribute to society.

Sum up your experience in 3 words:

Stimulating, Intriguing and Impactful.

Claudia Hihetah - MSc Urbanisation and Development 

Claudia Hihetah

Why did you choose the course/LSE? 

I chose to study the MSc in Urbanisation and Development because of the programme’s rich focus on theoretical debates in the Global South and the relatively small class size facilitating better discussions. I chose to study at the LSE because of its top world ranking and location at the heart of one of the most culturally-diverse cities in the world.

What has been the highlight of your LSE experience? 

The highlight of my LSE experience has been the opportunity to meet and share ideas with people from all over the world. The MSc UD academic staff were very approachable which minimised the pressures of the intelligently-crafted thought-provoking course structure.

How are you planning to use your degree for your future career? 

This degree programme has exposed me to many ideas and practices in urban studies of the Global South and even the Global North. This will help me contribute my knowledge and skill in whatever geographical space my future career takes me to.

Sum up your experience in 3 words: 

Amazing, Stimulating, Impactful.

Meera Kumar - MSc Regional and Urban Planning Studies

 meera kumar

Why did you choose the course/LSE? 

I chose LSE because it's one of the best institutions for social science in the world. I chose RUPS because I want to work at the city-level and enjoy thinking about how we can create welcoming spaces by considering both physical design and policy.

What has been the highlight of your LSE experience? 

Seeing an amazing series of speakers over the past year including Kimberlé Crenshaw, Raghuram Rajan, and Nancy Pelosi. 

How are you planning to use your degree for your future career? 

I want to work at the city-level, either for an agency or for an urban-focused firm or affordable housing developer back in the U.S. 

Sum up your experience in 3 words

Intensive, stimulating, rewarding. 

Anisha Kutowaroo - MSc Real Estate Economics and Finance

AnishaKutowaroo

Why did you choose the course/LSE? 


Choosing LSE was straightforward, as I wanted to follow in the footsteps of prominent global leaders, who have walked down Houghton Street as students. Having identified a gap in expertise needed in the real estate sector of the rapidly urbanising Sub Saharan African cities, I decided to pursue a Masters degree in Real Estate Economics and Finance. I opted for the program as it offered a unique blend of theoretical and practical understanding of the workings of the urban economic processes and its relation with the real estate investment market. The topics are also taught by influential staff whose research and academic papers are highly valued and help shape policy processes. Furthermore, my choice of course and ambition was backed by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, which awarded me a full scholarship to pursue my study.

How has your degree programme prepared you for your future career? I currently work as Investment Executive at the Board of Investment, a policy think tank and the national investment promotion agency, under the aegis of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in Mauritius. My academic pathway has helped me differentiate myself in the workplace. At an early stage of my career, I have been involved in carrying out the feasibility study for the development of high profile governmental projects, for instance a new administrative city, a large-scale business and industrial park as well as inception of smart cities. Using knowledge accumulated during the course, I produce research reports and country analysis used by prospective investors and governmental stakeholders. 

The degree programme, most specifically the Applied Urban Economics and Regional Economics, equipped me with the technical knowledge as well as ability to critically and independently analyse the various aspects of urban planning and development. Furthermore, the Real Property Market Practice course provided me with focused up-to-date industry relevant content delivered first hand by industry professionals, which helped me to quickly integrate the working environment and anticipate the needs of different parties in the industry. 

What was the highlight of your LSE experience? 

LSE provides a platform for students to interact with leaders from all spheres of social, political and economic sciences through public lectures, mentoring schemes and networking sessions. In particular, I appreciated the mentoring scheme whereby I was matched with a highly experienced managing director of a leading independent research and advisory firm. Through regular meetings, I received interesting insight into the industry, which guided me in producing a highly relevant dissertation. As a testimonial of which, I was awarded the Investment Property Forum Postgraduate Dissertation award as well as the MSc Real Estate Economics and Finance Best Dissertation Prize. The academic staff also highly value the input of students and therefore, as course representative, I was encouraged to participate in the REEF Advisory Board chaired by Francis Salway. 

Sum up your experience in 3 words: 

Challenging, Enriching, Unique.

Paulina López - MSc Local Economic Development 

 paulina lopez

Why did you choose the course/LSE?

I chose LSE because of its cutting edge perspective on social science topics and competitiveness. I was sure I would be with people who are also passionate about development and politics.

I chose the LED programme because I consider it is unique. I am learning how to manage the rapid change in the world and to be aware of the specific needs of regions in order to create fitted & different public policies.

What has been the highlight of your LSE experience?

LSE has an international environment that is friendly and supportive. The most important aspect of the degree is that the academic experience and knowledge acquired is innovative and critical. An additional advantage is the cultural offerings and social life in London.

How are you planning to use your degree for your future career?

I definitely want to go back to my home country and apply my knowledge and tools as a policy maker.

Sum up your experience in 3 words:

Knowledge, happiness & personal development.

Helena Rodrigues - MSc Environmental Economics and Climate Change 

 Helena Rodrigues

Why did you choose the course/LSE?

The MSc in Environmental Economics & Climate Change was the perfect middle point between my economics background and my ecology interests. I chose this programme because it allowed me the flexibility to explore the different dimensions of climate change, including climate science and global environmental negotiations.

What has been the highlight of your LSE experience?

One of the things I was more eager to experience at the LSE was the opportunity to attend lectures with internationally renowned speakers. Throughout the two years of my part-time degree, I sat down to hear Partha Dasgupta, Lord Nicolas Stern, Gavin Schmidt and others.This experience was a valuable complement to the theoretical classes because it helped me understand how I help translate abstract models into actions. 

A personal highlight was the screening of the Chasing Coral documentary at the LSE Geography & Environment Department, which I organised to celebrate World Oceans Day 2018!

How are you planning to use your degree for your future career?

The degree has been beneficial already! For the past year, I was able to work with the Rainforest Foundation UK, the UNFCCC and UNEP, which would not have been possible if I was not a member of the LSE community.

Sum up your experience in 3 words:

Challenging, exciting, rewarding 

Ahsan Syed - MSc Environmental Policy and Regulation 

Ahsan Syed

Why did you choose the course/LSE?

I wanted to study the social sciences approach to environmental issues and understand the theoretical approaches to policy and regulations, considering the recent emphasis on pro-environment public policy. Considering LSE's reputation in the social sciences and the Geography department's international rankings, it seemed like the right place to be. 

What has been the highlight of your LSE experience?

I've been surprised by the calibre of passionate students, international speakers and researchers that LSE attracts to campus. My time at LSE has questioned my beliefs, ideas and preconceived notions by forcing me to think about the unintended consequences of conventional approaches to environmental problem-solving. I particularly really enjoyed lectures by the speaker series: the social costs of climate change. 

How are you planning to use your degree for your future career?

Through my extracurricular involvement and dissertation thesis on plastics, I have been trying to define myself as a circular economy professional. I have been very fortunate to bear some fruits in my endeavours. In March of 2019, I was accepted in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's Circular Economy Pioneer Program, the NGO's global early professionals development program, and in June of 2019, I was awarded an Emerging Leaders Scholarship by GreenBiz Group to participate in the Circularity 2019 conference in Minneapolis, US. After graduation, I will be joining SystemIQ as an Associate Consultant, to find systems-based solutions to large scale sustainability challenges. 

Sum up your experience in 3 words:

Well, it depends. 

Philip Tester - MSc Human Geography and Urban Studies 

PhilTester2

Why did you choose the course/LSE? 

I chose the course because it gave me the opportunity to develop my research skills and broaden my understanding of key issues in urban geography. The outstanding reputation of the LSE was a huge plus.

What has been the highlight of your LSE experience? 

The LSE community is incredibly diverse, with students from all corners of the world. This makes for interesting and engaging conversations both in seminars and the local pub!

How are you planning to use your degree for your future career? 

I hope to use the knowledge and skills gained from the course in the fields of urban planning or market research. 

Sum up your experience in 3 words: 

World class education. 


PhD  

Melissa Weihmayer - PhD candidate in Regional & Urban Planning Studies

melissa W

Why did you choose the programme/LSE?

Urban Planning is more commonly found not in Geography departments but in architectural schools, where the focus is more on the practice rather than the social implications of urban planning decisions. I chose to study Urban Planning at LSE because the programme is interdisciplinary while also being firmly situated in the longstanding discipline of geography, and it also bridges the practical and the theoretical. LSE’s Urban Planning programme allowed me to get to know how cities are structured and governed in theory and in practice, and the effect that this has on urban communities.

I also was first connected to the program through my supervisors, whose research I admired because it was asking important questions in new ways. Having an opportunity to work with them (who each have quite different backgrounds and fit well with my own gaps in knowledge) as well as getting support from LSE through their studentships made the decision easy to come to LSE.

What has been the highlight of your LSE experience?

Getting to know the other PhD students through workshops, talks, and study groups has made me confident that I am part of a great community, one that pushes me to see things differently. One great moment was when a group of students invited external researcher Gillian Rose to workshop one of her papers in our “Writer Meets Reader” series, which inspired her to rework her ideas. She appreciated the informal space to discuss research, almost as much as we appreciated the opportunity to learn from her.

How are you planning to use your degree for your future career?

I love methodology and I love evaluating and improving practice. Because the programme allows me to study quite practical issues using mixed methods, I hope to use what I learn in this degree to either join a methodology department in a university to improve how we incorporate research into policy decision-making, or to do the policy decision-making myself in a think tank or public sector institution.

Sum up your experience in three words:

Humbling, inspiring, supportive.

Paroj Banerjee - PhD candidate in Regional & Urban Planning

ParojBanerjee

Can you tell us a bit about your PhD and research?

In my research I am looking at how pavement dwellers associate with the idea of 'home' in their everyday lives. I recently finished a year-long fieldwork in Mumbai (Mahim to be specific) where my research took a crucial turn.

Before, I was conceptualising these pavement dwellers and similar groups living on Indian streets as 'homeless'. However, my fieldwork and close interactions with the community of pavement dwellers made me realise that the trope of 'homelessness' is absent in their everyday practices. In fact, framing them as 'homeless' takes away the agency of their efforts to address the extreme vulnerabilities in their everyday life.

This is not to say that the lives they live are ideal, or to romanticise their daily struggles and hardships. What I want to draw attention to is the fact that the construction of the idea of 'home' itself is fraught with contradictions.

The experiences of 'home' are varied and I see the efforts to hold on to the notions of ‘home’ are strategies of addressing the precarious environment that street living entails. I also want to draw focus to the fact that the conceptualisation of terms like 'homeless' is a Western concept and in the Indian context these terms need re-framing. 

What is the best part about being a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department?

This is my first time teaching, and there are several (mostly great) things to say about the experience. First, as a GTA I have immense support from the faculty members leading the courses, my colleagues who have taught the courses before and are currently teaching with me, and the professional services staff. These people are not only very advanced in their field of knowledge but are very approachable. They have been really open to suggestions and forthcoming with help to address any challenges I face. I was super anxious before beginning teaching, but the training from the TLC has been useful.

Second, I am really enjoying teaching the courses GY100 (Introduction to Geography) and GY140 (Introduction to Geographical Research) because they are exposing me to the fundamentals of critical theory in Geography. The first course addresses the 'what' and 'why' of the discipline and the second addresses the 'how'. I have a background in Sociology and Urban Studies and my previous research focus has been interdisciplinary. I did not realise that what I have been doing so far is so intimately linked to Geography. These courses are helping me make crucial connections with my research. 

The thing that keeps me most motivated is the interaction with students. They are really lively, chatty and responsive. I am learning the discipline with fresh perspective from the students. The interactive nature of the classes helps us to understand each other better. For example, in a recent class they were asked to think of a place and explain why they feel connected or detached to it. Very interesting insights emerged from this sharing of experiences, one of them being the gendered experiences of places. What was great was the precise connections they were making with the text while describing their experiences. 

Where is the most memorable place you have visited?

I love travelling, so every place I have visited has had an impact on me. The experiences have been enriched because of the company that I have travelled with. I travel a lot with my family and friends.

But if I had to pick a place, it would be a solo trip I made to Japan when I was really young. I was excited for several reasons, particularly as I sensed freedom and responsibility at the same time.

I know you asked for one, but I will cheat and say that one image that is imprinted on my mind and will be forever was from a recent trip to Nubra Valley, in Ladakh. I have never seen such a stunning star-filled sky. It still gives me goose bumps. 

Sanchayan Banerjee - PhD candidate in Environmental Economics

Sanchayan Banerjee

Why did you choose the programme/LSE?

LSE is a world-class institution that delivers a complete ‘experience package’ to its students; from ‘research led teaching’ to meeting fellow students from across the globe, it surpasses universities that follow traditional pedagogical styles.

I came to the Department of Geography and Environment at LSE to undertake my MSc Environmental Economics and Climate Change in 2017; for me that was a dream come true. But the dream was far from over. I was taught by (and am still working with) some of the world’s leading researchers at the frontier of Environmental Economics and Climate Change, who introduced me to their fascinating research as part of our course curricula. I was amazed by the quality of the research that was happening here and how beautifully the faculty had embedded such contemporary research in formal education: interactive yet enriching for someone being introduced to new concepts.

I almost instantly knew what I wanted to do; I was inspired by their work and convinced myself that I need to make a contribution to the real world with my research as they do. This was one of the main reasons as to why I chose to go on with the PhD in Environmental Economics. Besides, London is a great city to stay in the world. Great pubs (and we have a couple on campus), great beer. What else can one ask for?

What has been the highlight of your LSE experience?

One of the main highlights of my LSE experience has been the interdisciplinarity in research by students and faculty within the same cohort. I started my PhD journey with two of my classmates from the MSc programme. And although we all are working towards a PhD in the domain of Environmental Policy/ Economics, what amazes me is that we all have found our niche spots within this sphere of study. And this is not true just for the three of us. All my colleagues are interested in Environmental Economics through a different lens; some like me look at the behavioural side of things, while others analyse environmental impacts of trade, and even others look at green finance. It is a great experience to talk to them and understand their different perspectives to sustainability. We can all make the world a better place, but in our own unique ways. Isn’t that fantastic?

How are you planning to use your degree for your future career?

Ever since I started my PhD at the LSE, I have been helping the Department of Geography and Environment with some teaching in my capacity as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA). I have taught four different modules in these two years, and I cannot deny, I have loved the experience of being amongst students and helping them synthesize new ideas while also teaching myself at the same time.

Every time I walk into a class, I learn something from my students and that is the fun part of teaching. It is good to see that they take such a deep interest in research by faculty. At times, they ask about my research as well. And it is much harder to explain it to somebody who does not know anything about my research theme than scribbling notes for a journal article. That helps me understand my research much better.

Having spent almost three years at LSE now, I am convinced that I will be happy in the world of academia: doing research, teaching and spending time with students talking about these research ideas, and (not to forget) learning something new every day.

Sum up your experience in 3 words:

Unparalleled, Exciting and World-Class 

Xiaolun Yu - PhD candidate in Economic Geography 

 Xiaolun Yu

Why did you choose the programme/LSE?

I completed my master’s degree in real estate economics and finance at LSE. The experience of studying at LSE as a master’s student is amazing, and when I was working on my master’s dissertation I found my interest in academic research, especially in the field of urban and real estate economics. It was a natural choice for me to stay in the department and pursue my PhD, as LSE is a centre of international academic excellence.

My PhD supervisors are world-leading experts in my research fields. The opportunity to study under their guidance and to work with them is precious and motivates me to work on future research. The collaborative environment at LSE also helps a lot, as I have received suggestions and support from my professors and peers. The courses and design of the PhD programme provide me with the essential quantitative and qualitative techniques for my research. Last but not least, London is a truly global city and I can explore it more by studying at LSE.

What has been the highlight of your LSE experience?

There are many unforgettable experiences. For instance: discussing my research ideas with my supervisors and receiving their constructive feedback; the first time I delivered a two-hour seminar to students and being nominated for a class teacher award; presenting my paper at the LSE work-in-progress seminar and receiving helpful comments from professors. All these achievements motivate me to continue my research in the future. I also enjoy experiences with my peers. We discuss a wide range of topics not only about our dissertations but also beyond academic research. It is also relaxing and energising to go to the George IV pub on campus and have a beer with my friends.

How are you planning to use your degree for your future career?

I enjoy exploring interesting research topics and communicating with scholars. I also like teaching and learning from my students. Therefore, an academic job would be ideal for me. I plan to apply for an academic position and continue my research on interesting economic topics after my graduation.