Katherine Deeks BSc (Hons), MSc
College: College of Life and Environmental Sciences
I graduated from Swansea University in 2008 with BSc (Hons) in Geography. During my undergraduate degree, I studied a range of physical geography modules and became increasingly interested in the relationship between agriculture and the environment, particularly in developing countries, as well as an interest in soil science. My undergraduate dissertation was entitled ‘Influences of vegetation cover on soil water repellency in a sand dune system’. The field work was conducted on a series of sand dunes on the Gower Peninsula, South Wales. In September 2008, I began an MSc in Soil Management at Cranfield University. During the one year course I studied a range of topics covering soil tillage, water, nutrients and contamination as well as an introductory course in GIS fundamentals. I also completed three group projects. One project entitled ‘Greening Cranfield Campus’, involving 30 other students, was shortlisted for the 2010 Green Gown Awards. I conducted my thesis in partnership with a horticultural company. The project assessed the resistance and resilience of a soil system in commercial farming following the application of an alternative organic weed control method. Assessed components of the soil system included the nitrogen and carbon cycles and the microbial population. After completing my MSc in September 2009, I worked as a laboratory technician for an industrial chemistry laboratory. During this time I also worked as a volunteer warden at Hatfield Forest, Essex, a National Trust owned forest. In September 2010, I began studying for an interdisciplinary NERC/ESRC funded studentship entitled ‘An investigation into farming practice and the maintenance or improvement of soil organic carbon levels’.