Meet Emma, a MSc Sustainability student and recent Salford Geography graduate. Read on to find out about Emma’s experience studying Sustainability at Salford.

Emma and friend hold an award

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

I am a 34 year old mature, deaf and disabled student. I am currently studying towards my master’s degree in Sustainability with a predicted grade of distinction. I graduated in July 2022 with a first-class honours degree in Geography. I am passionate about inclusivity and believe that every single student should feel like they belong regardless of their background, race, disability etc.

What inspired you to study sustainability?  

I have always been a huge fan of Sir David Attenborough; from a young age I was obsessed with his programmes. As I got older I started to realise more about the environment and the climate change crisis and I really wanted to learn about what I could do to help.

I decided to apply to study geography. I really enjoyed my undergraduate degree and I learnt so much. This led me to want to study in a more focused area, so I decided to study a Master’s in Sustainability.

The support I have received during my 4 years at Salford from the GEM team (Geography and Environmental Management), the Students Union and just in general has been truly outstanding

Emma, MSc Sustainability student

Which areas of the course have you enjoyed the most so far?

Some of my favourite modules include resource security, development and global challenges, energy and sustainability, sustainable cities and mitigating climate change. The course has given me fantastic opportunities from working with professional companies such as Northern Roots, RHS Bridgewater, Farm Urban and the Environment Agency. We have had some fantastic guest speakers that have come in, from all kinds of industries such as planning, policy, law and the transport sector. It has shaped my understanding of the real challenges we are facing in terms of climate change and the many different paths we can take to help mitigate against it using green infrastructure, energy and biodiversity.

What are your career aspirations?

I would love to continue my studying at Salford and I am hoping to apply for a PhD. My overall aim is to become a lecturer at Salford University teaching in climate change or sustainability-related subject. I want to ensure the student experience is inclusive and diverse. I have actually just signed up to do a BSL course to ensure that I can be the best academic I can in the future.

I would like to say a shout out to my lecturers who have inspired me directly and on a personal level to undertake my masters and who gave me the passion to want to teach.

How do you think what you’ve learnt here will equip you in your future career?

I think what I’ve learnt during my time at Salford will definitely equip me going forward. I have learnt essential skills on my course about the climate, green infrastructure, planning and policies, the environment, energy and much more. I have learnt how to become more resilient and understand that things will go wrong but it’s about how you cope and deal with that.

What types of facilities/ specialist equipment have been most useful to you?

The library has been a fantastic help in my 4 years at Salford, especially the option to automatically extend my library book loans. During my time here at Salford I have also been heavily involved in the Student’s Union and last year I was also elected as the voluntary disability officer. I successfully obtained funding to purchase ergonomic chairs in the library for disabled students this has been essential to my learning and I use them all the time in the library.

Emma and another student still on ergonomic chairs

Tell us a little about student life as a postgraduate at Salford…

The support I have received during my 4 years at Salford from the GEM team (Geography and Environmental Management), the Students Union and just in general has been truly outstanding.

Over the last 4 years of university I have been a course rep for a year and a school rep for 3 years; I was even awarded School Rep of the year for 2 years running. These achievements just show that no matter what your background or disability that anything is possible. It has been an absolute pleasure to do the roles I have done for the last 4 years here at Salford. I can hand on heart finish by saying Salford University is the first place I have truly felt I belong and I can be myself.

What advice would you give to anyone considering postgraduate study at Salford?

Remember to take time out for your own mental health and some self-care it is so important. Join the Students’ Union if you haven’t already and a society. Remember you are not alone and you can do it! Have faith in yourself and never give up!