Heleen van Soest is in her second year of the Master Climate Studies at Wageningen University.
“I’m really satisfied with this study. It is not just comprehensive in content, but it also offers me room to explore and find my own way, and to specialise in whatever I think is really interesting. However, I can also choose to keep things broad.”
Choice of study
Her interest in this master program was evoked during the Bachelor Environmental Sciences, which she also followed at Wageningen University. "During this broad bachelor, it became clear to me that I find everything that has to do with climate (change) most interesting, most important and I simply like it best. So I wanted to expand my knowledge thereof, for which this master is perfectly suited. "
"In short, this study looks at the causes and consequences of climate change and how to deal with them. One can specialise in many different areas, for example in climate policy or Earth System Sciences, the specialisation I currently follow. Here we learn a lot about the interactions between land and atmosphere, e.g. by measuring CO2 emissions and uptake of various forests and grasslands.
I have just finished a project on the Amazon Rainforest, for which we investigated whether and how biodiversity contributes to the resilience of the ecosystem. In other words, can different plant species combined offer the area better protection against a 'tipping point', after which it is no forest anymore, but rather something like a savannah?
At the start of the first year, during the course "Environmental Data Collection and Analysis" we did much fieldwork in the IJssel valley. At the end of the day, our (self-assembled) meteorology towers were surrounded by curious cows ... And while those surrounded towers performed measurements, we walked around ourselves with heavy equipment to calculate the radiation balance.
"I'm active in the study association of my study, Aktief Slip. Here I did many different committees, including the Akcie, which organises activities, and the Meeloopdagcie, which organises taster days for coming students. I also did a board year, the first half-year as a Secretary and then half a year as Chair. A very educational and fun experience that I could do just beside my studies and also a nice extra feature on my CV. "
"I would love to do a PhD after my master because I surely want to continue in science. Studying and doing research is incredibly fun and interesting to me, and I do not really feel like starting with an actual job already. Maybe I will participate in an Honours program, where you write a proposal for your PhD, that would be a great opportunity! "