After gaining a first-class Masters in Mathematics and Astrophysics from the University of Sheffield, I moved to the Netherlands where I worked in the European Space Agency for over a year. I worked on data analysis, data processing and algorithm development for a future Earth Observation satellite. Since leaving the agency, I have been working as a self-employed English teacher in Portugal in order to experience a new field and a new culture. I am currently teaching English over Skype in the UK and hope to re-enter remote sensing to pursue my career once again.
Jan 2016 to present
Self-employed English teacher, Lisbon and UK
During my experience working as a CELTA qualified teacher, I have strengthened many skills including effective communication; decision making; strategic marketing and the management of my schedule. Throughout my experience, I have had a lot of practice delivering complex information; conducting a variety of activities and explaining matters to groups of adults with differing abilities. Freelance teaching requires excellent time management, reliability, patience, a very strong work ethic and absolute dedication.
Earth Observation Trainee Scientist, The Netherlands
The Young Graduate Traineeship is a year-long programme designed to train recent graduates in their area of expertise whilst they contribute to current missions within ESA. My project’s aim was to work on campaign airborne data obtained to verify the ability of an imaging spectrometer on the candidate satellite, FLEX (FLuorescence EXplorer). The satellite will detect sun-induced vegetation fluorescence from space. During my first few months, I learnt about several different retrieval methods used to disentangle the weak fluorescent signal from the strong reflected light and how one of these algorithms is implemented in IDL. My main focus was to change parameters within a singular vector decomposition method in order to finely tune the algorithm for each particular campaign data set by using ground data as reference. This requires excellent programming skills in IDL; an ability to deal with a large amount of data; thorough data analyses and a knowledge of the causes of discrepancies in the images. During the internship, I had the freedom to choose large parts of the research and the scientific method to be used to find and present results.
Undergraduate fluid dynamics research student, Sheffield
I took part in a research scheme for undergraduates at my university. In my research, I simulated in MATLAB how confinement in nuclear fusion plasmas can be improved by introducing a time oscillating input power. To do this, I learnt a new programming language, developed my mathematical modelling techniques and used problem solving skills to produce very interesting results. I worked independently on the project, with guidance from my supervisor, with whom I have published the results in Physics of Plasmas (see publication below). This experience gave me real insight into an independent research environment, taught me how to organise my time in order to complete work and gave me the chance to learn a new programming language.
Education and Qualifications
2009-2014 University of Sheffield - First-class Masters in Maths and Astrophysics (MMath)
2007-2009 Cheadle Hulme School - A-levels in Maths, Physics and Biology (all A grade) and AS-level in Geography (B grade)
I achieved a first-class honours Masters degree in Maths and Astrophysics. Along with a wide variety of applied Mathematics and Statistics modules, I also completed two projects in Astrophysics. In my dissertation, I used Fortran to simulate galactic chemical evolution in order to find the limitations for life to exist. In another project, I successfully observed and calculated the mass of a star thought to be undergoing a supernova explosion relatively soon. I have studied a wide range of Physics topics and a remote sensing module on geospatial technologies, which included using ArcGIS and Erdas Imagine. During my degree, I became proficient at analysing large data sets, presenting projects, working in a group and using MATLAB, Microsoft Excel and Maple.
Additional courses: Monitoring Climate From Space by ESA (online); Sensing Planet Earth – Water and Ice by Chalmers University of Technology (online); Space Systems Engineering course provided by ESA (five days); Big Data: Mathematical Modelling by Queensland University Of Technology (online).
At university, I was the treasurer and regional officer of ‘SpaceSoc’ at the University of Sheffield. The committee, including myself, successfully started the society for anyone with an interest in Space. My role was to look after and advise on all economic issues and as regional officer, I lead four SEDS societies to organise events within the North west. I also took the lead in organising our branch’s two largest events; a stargazing camping trip and a national rocketry workshop for UKSEDS. During both of these events, I directed a team and produced two educational and enjoyable events.
I was also a STEM ambassador at university, which involves promoting science and maths careers to children by engaging them in scientific activities and showing them how this would apply to a career that they could obtain. I have also given talks to pupils on university life and what a maths degree encompasses and can offer.
During the summer holidays of 2012, I volunteered at the Museum of Science and Industry in
During my traineeship at ESA, I wrote a large amount of code in IDL in order to manipulate the data in various ways and I used ENVI extensively to analyse images. I am also proficient in using MATLAB; have good skills using Fortran, Linux, Python, ArcGIS, Erdas Imagine and Maple.
Languages & Other Interests
One of my major passions is experiencing different cultures and with this I have travelled to a number of countries and have attempted to learn a few languages. This includes Spanish and Portuguese for which I am currently at an elementary level. I also cycle, play tennis, go salsa dancing and I enjoy meeting up with friends regularly.
Douglas S., Mohamed M. and Kim E.-J., 2013, Physics of Plasmas 20, 114504
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