UCL Earth Sciences


Scientist Spotlight: Beth Neilson

5 January 2022

Hello, I’m Beth! I am a third year Earth Sciences student at UCL currently studying abroad at the University of California, Berkeley.

Beth Neilson

Living in America for the past few months has been an experience! Going to college in America has been a new and fun adventure and I have found it to be very different from UCL. One thing I have particularly enjoyed is the option to study elective modules. I chose a Gender and Women’s Studies module, which I loved. This inspired me to explore modules that interrelate Gender and Women’s studies and climate change this coming semester.

I am particularly passionate about climate change and its impacts; this initially motivated me to go into the field of Earth Sciences. The impacts of climate change in California are strikingly real. When I first arrived at Berkeley it was wildfire season, which in 2021 was devasting. It was a shock to receive emails from the University of California outlining what to do if wildfires come close to Berkeley or if wildfire smoke made the outdoor air unhealthy to breathe (luckily this did not happen). Most harrowing was when I travelled to Lake Tahoe, an area particularly hard hit by wildfires last year, and saw endless miles of burnt forests. This has inspired me to focus on climate change for my final year at UCL and made me appreciate living in the UK, where you do not have to worry about wildfires, earthquakes, and droughts.

A burnt forest in Lake Tahoe, Image Credit: Beth Neilson

I am excited to come back to London next academic year for the final year of my degree and look forward to meeting up with the rest of the WiES team!