Yanan Liu

“it is crucial to build up your confidence and trust yourself”

I am a meticulous, diligent interdisciplinary UK-based PhD student at King’s College London from China with a diverse background in environmental sciences, geography, and ecology. I am currently following a PhD project on ‘Investigating the impact of air pollution from landscape fires on migratory insects’. This project can be divided into two parts, fire science and entomology.

In the fire science part, my main work is measuring smoke components from agricultural residues burning in situ in western China, and in a combustion chamber. I would like to explore the differences in smoke substances from burning different biomass. Besides smoke pollution, I conducted a series of comparative experiments to investigate how migratory insects respond to different smoke pollutions in flight performance.

The biggest challenge I faced during the PhD study was data statistical analysis. During my PhD, I have been learning how to write code in Python and R to process a large amount of data, and how to use SPSS to do the statistical analysis. I did this by attending environmental data analysis courses and searching the examples from online coding communities, videos, and academic papers. Now, I not only can do the statistical analysis, but also plot different figures to achieve data visualization. Some results have been published.

Outside of my work, I like travelling to discover cultural diversity (I have already travelled to over 15 countries). I also like attending dance classes on weekends to help me destress, such as Zumba and K-pop. Recently I am also learning to swim to improve my strength and energy.

I would like to tell women who want to pursue a career in science, it is crucial to build up your confidence and trust yourself. Science is for everyone, and you can achieve your ambitions just like men.

Yanan Liu is a PhD student at King’s College London

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