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Sara – Internship Blog Post 2022

Sara Bennie

What are you studying?

BSc in Astrophysics

Tell us a bit about the project you have been working on this summer?

Surging glaciers cycle through quiescent and active phases. These phases
lead to changes in surface velocities and elevations, transporting mass
towards, and often advancing, the termini. Those living alongside these
glaciers can be at risk of outburst floods or collapse events. Until recently,
large changes in surface elevation were seldom quantified owing to a lack of
measurements. The project I have been working on aimed to use these
measurements of change in surface elevation, from the multi-decadal ASTER
archive (2000-2020), to begin development on automating an identification
process, for glacier surges, within the Karakoram.

What new skills have you learned while doing this internship?

I have developed a variety of different skills, from gaining technical
experience with Google Earth Engine and Jupyter Notebook, to improving my
communication and presentation skills. Most importantly, I have developed my
scientific research skills, learning more about how real data is handled and
then analysed.

How have you found working with your research team?

My research team were amazing! They were all very welcoming and taught me
loads, from everything I needed to know about glaciers, to what it is like
doing further research after a degree. My supervisors, Liam and Duncan, were
fantastic and made me feel like a real part of the research team by getting me
involved in different events and opportunities, such as ‘Ice Club’ and
presenting a poster at the IGS British Branch.

What has been the highlight of the internship for you?

Being able to meet and learn lots from my research team, whether developing
new skills or finding out what being a researcher is like. I also attended the
IGS British Branch conference where I presented a poster summarising my work
over the placement. This was an excellent networking opportunity where I got to
chat with other glaciologists, at various points in their careers, about their
recent and exciting research developments.

How has doing this internship changed your plans or thoughts about
your future career?

I am now definitely considering further research after graduation and would
be keen to continue researching glacier surges after such an incredible