Recent graduates reflect on what it’s like to do a master’s at the centre

Master graduates Nora Giertz and Bérénice Robaglia have recently finished their studies. Photo: SRC

Straight from their final presentations, MSc graduates Bérénice Robaglia and Nora Giertz share insights into their master thesis projects, time at the centre and future plans

Bérénice Robaglia and Nora Giertz have been students at the centre’s two-year master’s programme – Social-Ecological Resilience for Sustainable Development (SERSD).

In September, Robaglia and Giertz reached the end of it, as they presented and defended their final thesis projects in front of an audience and a team of examiners. We talked to them about their experiences being master’s students at the centre and their aspirations as recent graduates.

What was it like to write your master thesis?

Robaglia: It was exciting to devote a full year to a topic that I felt very passionate about. The master’s programme at the centre is different compared to many others, in that it dedicates two semesters to the final thesis project. Questions within sustainability science tend to be complex, so, it makes sense that students are allowed more time to work on their individual projects.

The thesis project allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and learn research methods and tools, like QGIS and R, that were completely new to me. It was challenging at times, but I am thankful to my supervisors and my cohort of master students, who were very supportive, kind and willing to discuss the problems I was facing while writing the thesis.

In her thesis, Bérénice Robaglia explored the impact of rewilding policy initiatives on the return of iconic animal species in the German Oder Delta.

What more have you learned in the master’s programme?

Robaglia: The main thing you get, is an overview of many, complex variables that are intertwined with each other in the social-ecological system we are embedded in. In order to deal with that complexity, you are exposed to learning various skills. I really like working in that kind of environment where you get to be versatile and gain a sense for the bigger picture.

How does it feel to be done with the final presentation of your master thesis?

Giertz: It’s a huge relief, but at the same time a bit sad. It has been a wonderful experience to be part of the master’s programme, and this occasion marks the end of it. So, I’m relieved, proud and a bit sad, all at the same time.

It’s kind of like opening doors and looking into different rooms of sustainability that you could go into. And then, you are actually allowed to step into one.

Nora Giertz

What did you think about the master’s programme?

Giertz: The first and the second year of the master’s programme are very different from each other. During the first year, you are introduced to the amplitude of sustainability science. It’s kind of like opening doors and looking into different rooms of sustainability that you could go into. And then, during the second year, you are actually allowed to step into one. In that sense, you come out of the programme with a combination of a broad overview of the sustainability field, as well as expert knowledge in the topic you chose to focus on during your thesis work.

Nora Giertz investigated the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the alternative food network REKO in Sweden.

So, what's next?

Robaglia: I think that the Stockholm Resilience Centre is an extremely rich and diverse environment to work in, and if possible, I would like to stay connected to the centre in some capacity. I am especially interested in the centre’s work on sustainable transitions within business corporations, and can see myself involved in that.

Giertz: I’m working at a company called Biosphere Intelligence together with some familiar faces from the centre. It’s in a start-up phase, but the aim of the company is to target strategic sustainability education towards businesses. It’s evident that we need to transform society from within various sectors, and I am grateful if I can contribute to this task.

Interested? Applications are currently open for the programme! See here to read more and apply by 16 January 2023. 

Published: 2022-09-29

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