Sophie Horsfall

'I highly recommend this degree for those who want to put their science into practice...'

  • Sophie Horsfall

Master of Disaster Risk and Resilience

With her interests in sustainable science, Sophie looks forward to the career prospects from her Master of Disaster Risk and Resilience, including plans to work for the UN Development Programme on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction goals.

‘My enjoyment in science has always been to help make a difference for the better, and this degree is an area that increasingly needs people to work in to help reduce disaster impacts,’ she says.

Sophie spent much of her childhood living in different parts of the globe, including Asia, North America, and the UK. She later completed undergraduate studies in zoology and marine sciences in Australia, before discovering an interest in risk management.

‘After dipping my toe in the field creating a conference piece on the need to assess extreme weather events in mining, oil, and gas company risk assessments, I realised the breadth of this area and how you can help reduce disaster risk in so many different ways, either in research, consulting, policy, or planning.’

She first found out about the MDRR programme through attending a London Geological Society conference on Sharing an Uncertain World: Lessons in Managing Risk. UC was recommended to her by professors from the University of College London because of its ‘hands-on’ approach to disaster risk management.

UC’s MDRR lived up to its reputation, with Sophie greatly appreciating the strong fieldwork aspect, and the broader focus on different disaster areas and managing risk reduction.

‘I highly recommend this degree for those who want to put their science into practice, using various methods with different stakeholders, and learn numerous multidisciplinary skills,’ she says. ‘Activities range from hazard assessments to risk analyses, creating exposure maps in GIS to taking part in high intensity emergency management simulations. The breadth of activities you can complete in one day is comprehensive to match the complexity of the subject area.’

Being able to take on an internship with Taranaki Civil Defence has been especially useful for Sophie to get an in-depth look at the kind of jobs available in the industry. Sophie’s internship involves developing analogue case studies on volcanic evacuations management to aid Taranaki Civil Defence in their evacuation management plan for a Taranaki eruption.

‘The multidisciplinary aspect of the degree means that you can utilise the various skills you have and you don’t just have blinkers on. You are made to critically assess information from different sectors, interact with various different stakeholders, and develop various different outcomes depending on the needs of stakeholders or the availability of resources.

‘It is a fluid and complex degree that means that you are constantly learning and developing a varied range of skills. Have an open mind about where you want to go in the field, as the course takes you down so many different routes it’s good to have a flexible idea of where you want to go. Also just embrace all the different aspects of the course, as they all neatly fall together in the end!’

Sophie Eggleton

Sophie Eggleton

'Seeing the future of geology unfold is incredibly exciting...'

Gareth Birch

Gareth Birch

'Disasters are about much more than just the science behind the hazards...'