Hear from our recent graduate, Rupert Stuart-Smith (graduated 2019)
Rupert studied Geography at St Hilda's and graduated in 2019. His dissertation won the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) 2020 Alfred Steers Dissertation Prize for the best Geography Undergraduate dissertation in the UK in 2019. Below he describes his studies and what he is currently doing:
Throughout my degree in Geography at St Hilda’s, I enjoyed the opportunities I had to engage with my passion for addressing climate change. In my final year of my undergraduate studies at St Hilda’s, my dissertation modelled the impacts of climate change on the retreat of a glacier in the Peruvian Andes. This work was completed in the context of an ongoing legal case before the German courts, in which a Peruvian farmer is suing the German energy company, RWE. After graduating, I spent a summer working with a professor at the University of Washington to turn the work started with my dissertation into an academic journal article.
Although I hadn’t considered pursuing academic research until the middle of my undergraduate degree, I decided to stay in Oxford to study for a DPhil (PhD) to follow my desire to address climate change and interest in using the law to do so. My doctoral research assesses how scientific evidence attributing specific damages to climate change can be used by affected communities to make successful legal claims for compensation from the fossil fuel industry. It also develops methodological approaches to achieve this. Alongside my DPhil research, I have also worked as a consultant for environmental NGOs and the Foundation for International Law for the Environment (FILE).