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Abigail Calzada

PhD Geology

Abigail Calzada is in the second year of her PhD Geology in Birkbeck’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

Abigail says: ‘After my undergraduate and Master’s degrees I knew that I wanted to find a suitable PhD programme and when I saw the opportunity with Professor Ian Crawford it looked ideal. I knew Professor Crawford’s work already, as well as the work of some of his colleagues within the department and I was keen to work with him. I was lucky enough to have my fees and living expenses covered by a project grant from the Science and Technology Facilities Council.’

‘My supervisor has been great and is really supportive. I’ve had great support from staff in dealing with things when I first arrived in London – like setting up a new bank account.’

‘The centre where I am based is shared with UCL and I have a lot of contact with planetary science PhD students from Birkbeck and UCL.’

‘I’ve already had the opportunity to present papers at a couple of conferences – one at UCL and another in the USA – which has been a great experience.’

‘Being in London it feels like we’re in the centre of everything. We work very collaboratively with other planetary science departments across the UK. That was something that I hadn’t experienced before.  Of course, there’s also lots to do in London and it is a great place to live.’

‘My research is looking at lunar meteorites and trying to see which area of the moon they come from using remote sensing instruments and analysis done in the lab. Most of what we know about the moon is from samples, but meteorites provide another source and we don’t know the geological settings of those samples to be able to put them in context.  That knowledge would help us understand more about the moon’s evolution.’

‘I’m learning so much at the moment and I feel that already I’ve become more open-minded and analytical. My confidence is increasing, thanks to the support I’ve had from my supervisors and colleagues.’

‘When I finish my PhD I’d like to find a post-doctoral position and eventually establish a research career in Europe.’

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'We work very collaboratively with other planetary science departments across the UK.'