Valerie Laurent came to Wageningen University for a year, but eventually completed the whole GIS programme and is now a PhD in remote sensing.
Valerie Laurent first used geo-information systems for a group project during her forestry master in France: "I enjoyed working with GIS and chose to join the MGI program for 1 year of Erasmus exchange in Wageningen. The MGI enabled me to broaden my GIS skills and to use new softwares. I also discovered remote sensing and its applications. The knowledge and competences I gained were very interesting and directly applicable to forest environments, and this is why I decided to complete the MGI. Wageningen University and my school in France agreed to let me continue both degrees at the same time. This is how I made a joint MSc thesis about retrieving forest parameters using a canopy reflectance model. I did my internship in the French Institute of Research for Development. My topic was to map different types of mangroves using satellite images.
Both thesis and internship were good opportunities to try working in a research environment and encouraged me to start a PhD in remote sensing. The objective of my study is to improve the retrieval of forest parameters using a set of reflectance models. Sounds similar to my thesis topic, doesn’t it? Well, the idea is the same, but I use a combination of 4 models for soil, leaf, canopy and atmosphere, which makes the study very interesting. The master thesis was a good training for doing a PhD. Of course, in my case the research topics are similar, but beyond that, the master thesis allowed me to experience the different steps of a research project from proposal writing to presentation and defense of the report, as well as interacting with researchers and PhD students