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Abigail Alderson, BSc Geography (2011-2014)

Abigail undertook a Royal Geographical Society first year undergraduate fieldwork apprenticeship in the summer of 2012 in the Northern Tibetan Plateau and western deserts of  China.  The project was to determine the sources of Chinese loess in the Loess Plateau over the last 22 million years. This valuable climate archive, a unique 22 million year record of dust deposition and climate proxies made it ideal to study long-term dust deposition.  Within a team of experienced researchers, she helped with sampling loess and source region sediment, such as sand and silt, and learnt stratigraphic techniques whilst developing her logging skills.

What Abigail says:

“I really enjoyed the fieldwork and was able to see so many sights that would never be seen by tourists without the help and knowledge of Chinese collaborators in the project. China is an incredible and vast country and the landscape is just so varied and contrasting. Not many places have deserts, forests, mountains and grasslands, as well as high rise cities and rural villages, often in relatively close proximity.

It was fascinating having such an insight into fieldwork beyond university level and I found being immersed in this situation was very motivating and I loved being with geographers who were so passionate about their areas of interest.

The fieldwork I have undertaken and the knowledge I have gained from it will stand me in good stead for the coming years at university and I will take the skills learnt beyond my life at Royal Holloway.”

Abigail’s advice:

“I found it really difficult to find any sort of internships as a first year, as most are offered to second and third years. The RGS apprenticeship is only open to first year Geographers and I knew that it was perfect for me as soon as I found out about it. If you’re keen to do internships and apprenticeships, keep on the lookout and check with the careers services both in Geography and on campus.

The RGS ambassador scheme is open to all geographers so you can still get involved even from your first year. ”

You can read about Abigail’s apprenticeship here: abigailalderson.wordpress.com 


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