- PhD Student
- Study area
- Geography and Environment
We have a fantastic culture here, a close-knit, friendly community of very intelligent cultured and inclusive individuals all supporting each other.
Can you explain what your research project is about?
I am researching how you can alleviate urban poverty in Ghana by improving access to sustainable energy sources. There are two primary ways of achieving this; improving income generating activities or improving public infrastructure such as schools and hospitals.
What were you doing before you started your PhD?
After graduating my BA (Politics with Economics) at Lboro I worked at MBA Trading, a global commodities and currency trader, before working as a research assistant at the Departamento de Estado Cuernavaca in México. I then returned to Lboro for my MSc (IFPR) and I went straight into my PhD from there.
Why did you choose Loughborough University?
I initially chose Loughborough for my BA as it seemed to have the best student experience, at least better than other universities I was considering at the time including Aston, Exeter and Nottingham. For my PhD however, I chose Loughborough over going back into full-time employment because the standard of living is very high as a PhD student here; independence, flexibility and passion for my work. Also, I am happy in Loughborough, it is now my home, and I looked forward to working with my supervisors who I knew from my MSc.
How are you funding your studies?
I am funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
What do you enjoy the most about studying a PhD with us?
I am really passionate about my research area, but what I enjoy most about doing a PhD here is working alongside the other PhD students and staff members. We have a fantastic culture here that most other departments and universities lack. A close-knit, friendly community of very intelligent cultured and inclusive individuals all supporting each other and doing countless group activities together including sports, reading groups, pub quizzes, nights out, department socials etc. A support network is vital for not only successfully writing a quality PhD but enjoying and growing as a person throughout these years.
Describe what it is like to study a PhD, and how this differs from undergraduate/masters study?
It's more like a job, but without a boss! It's very flexible and as long as you have the drive, the organisation and the independence to keep on top of your workload; working with and learning from your supervisors and colleagues, making and keeping to deadlines and writing at a high standard, it can be a very rewarding 9-5 experience. It differs from undergraduate/masters study because they are mostly teaching-based, PhD is entirely working on your own thesis. No classes, exams or coursework, just 100% your own original work.
Describe a day in the life of a PhD student?
Get in for 8.30-9ish, spend half hour to an hour chatting to other staff members and PhD students, making coffee etc. Between 9-12.30, working at my computer; reading, writing, admin stuff or attending meetings (maybe an average of one or two a week). We always meet for lunch at 12.30 in the foyer or, if it's a nice day, outside in the sunshine). 1.30-5pm is working/meetings again. Maybe some teaching, exam invigilation (all paid) or attend seminars or workshops run by the Graduate House (great way to meet PhD students from across the university!). After work, we play sports at least twice a week, pub quiz once a week and a night out at least once, all open invitation, some come to everything others to none, it's very relaxed and informal.
Why did you decide to undertake a PhD in your area?
In the short term it was things like; personal interest, rewarding subject area, good living standards, opportunity to be get paid to research in Ghana, a country I have never visited before. In the long term it was things like; future jobs prospects (sustainable energy is a growing industry), future university prospects (potentially going into academia) and knowledge of subject area.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I am not sure yet but perhaps one of the following: working as a Research Assistant here at Loughborough, a think tank, journalism, government department relating to either energy or poverty reduction, NGOs, intentional development etc.
If you could give one piece of advice to a future PhD student, what would it be?
Do it here!