UCL Earth Sciences


Alumni Profiles: Cristiano Fortuna

Cristiano graduated in 2018 with a first class MSci degree in Environmental Geosciences and his interest lies in paleoclimate, palaeontology and hydrology.

I graduated from UCL Earth Sciences Department in 2018 with a first class MSci degree in Environmental Geosciences. During my time at UCL I specialised in paleoclimate, palaeontology and hydrology which culminated in my masters dissertation on reconstructing past climates using proxy data archived in cave stalactites.

My time at UCL taught me a lot and allowed me to grow as a person as well as academically through the varied module opportunities and different teaching methods including both fieldwork, desk based practicals and traditional lectures.

In hindsight this twin focus more accurately reflects the workload of many jobs in environmental/Earth sciences which often have field and office work.

Alumni Profile Cristiano Fortuna
Image: 3rd year mapping project in the Lake District


After I left UCL I started a job with the Environment Agency in April 2019, the government body responsible for managing flood risk among other things (including pollution, waste crime, fisheries, and water resources). In the Hertfordshire and North London office of the Environment Agency I joined the Flood Resilience Team where I learned the ropes of flood risk management as part of a diverse and inclusive team. As part of the team, I became involved with maintaining our flood warning and river telemetry network, training other members of staff on how to respond to flood incidents, and engaging with members of the public about flood risk. I spent a little over a year in the EA before I moved on to become a flood risk officer for the Lead Local Flood Authority at Telford & Wrekin Council in Shropshire in July 2020.

Alumni Profile Cristiano Fortuna
Image: Environment Agency incident role training.


I found the much broader remit of a council officer to be a sudden change from the specialised scope of job roles in the EA.

I became responsible for many different facets of flood risk management which included drainage and flood risk planning, reservoir asset management, writing policy reports, natural flood risk management projects as well as many of the same duties I performed for the EA.

This varied workload gave me a much wider skill base and developed my professional adaptability in a way which few other jobs could. Telford Council and the work of my team is often featured on national news due to the major successive floods seen in the Ironbridge Gorge (now 3 years in a row).

Alumni Profile Cristiano Fortuna
Image: Ironbridge Gorge temporary flood defences 2021.


One of the best things about the job is seeing the difference you can make to the badly affected communities in reducing flood damages and helping people to get back into their houses/back in business much faster. Pulling together with passionate colleagues through the night and day to install defences, sandbags and pumps makes you feel part of something important and that you can use your scientific knowledge as well as your own two hands to protect people.
As of March 2022, I have now moved to a global consultancy called Stantec to work as a hydrogeologist in the West Midlands area. I now aim to further develop my technical skills in the water management sector and focus on water resources and water quality monitoring and improvements.