Tanith is a postgraduate, Life Sciences Research student who has been awarded a scholarship for research in the Grantham Institute.

We caught up with Tanith about her studies at Imperial, her future career plans and the impact of the scholarship.

Why did you want to come to Imperial?

I have been aware of Imperial and its excellent ecological research for some time. As one of the top universities for life sciences, I wanted to come to Imperial for its world-leading research and teaching. I was also excited by the opportunity to improve my career and academic skills through the graduated school, as well as the focus on science communication and translating research outside of academia.

 What was your background before you came to Imperial? Where did you live, what did your parents do, what did your family think of you going to university?

I am a first-generation student, and the first in my family to undertake a PhD. I have been privileged in my access to nature through living in Italy, Northumberland, and near the Peak District, which fostered my interest in biodiversity and its conservation. Although my parents worked in social care and the arts, they were very supportive of my interest in science and encouraged me to go to university to pursue my interest in ecology and the environment.

 What were you worried about before you applied/arrived?

I am still very worried about the worsening ecological and climate crises. Although I identified that a PhD and research was something I could do to act on this, I was concerned initially about my capability. However, since being awarded this funding and recognising my own enthusiasm for this topic, I am less worried about this now!

What does your PhD mean to you?

I am keen to continue to pursue academic research in population ecology and biodiversity conservation. I am particularly looking forward to learning from and working with some of the top scientists in this research area.

How do you feel about being able to undertake your PhD thanks to Angela Mawle’s legacy gift?

Coming from a low-income background, this legacy gift has given me the financial security to pursue my passion and take the next step to progress in my career and studies.  couldn’t have done this PhD without it, so I am incredibly grateful and honoured to have been given this opportunity.

What do you hope to achieve with your research?

I hope this research can contribute to both our understanding of invasive alien species as a driver of biodiversity change and possible solutions or mitigations to this. I hope this research will contribute to increasing our understanding in this area and explore the importance of the scale and context in which we evaluate biodiversity change. I am particularly keen that my research will be able to inform policy and decision making. I hope that during this PhD I will also be able to create opportunities to raise awareness of invasive alien species and why it’s so important that we address this current and future challenge. Since meeting other PhD students in my cohort, I am also excited by the potential for multidisciplinary collaboration.

What message do you have for donors that have pledged to leave a legacy gift in their will or are considering doing so?

I would say that I can’t put into words how much this means to me! I would thank them for their support, and that creating more opportunities like this for enthusiastic students who may not otherwise have access to a PhD or to the excellent training and support that Imperial College and the Grantham Institute provide is so important.

Legacy gifts like Angela’s help ensure that exceptional students can continue with their studies. Find out more about the impact of legacy giving for students like Tanith.