IHE Delft 💧 Interview with Adele Young, MSc student with a SIDS fellowship

IHE Delft 💧 Interview with Adele Young, MSc student with a SIDS fellowship


My name is Adele Young I am from Trinidad and Tobago and I just completed my MSc in water science and engineering. With a specialization in hydraulic engineering and river basin development. I actually heard of IHE sometime ago. I was, I really wanted to specialize in my field and I knew they specialized in water studies. So, online I would’ve seen the type of programmes they had But unfortunately, I would not have been able to apply because I don’t have the resources or the money to come to the Institute and I thought maybe I could do a short course, so I went back to the website and I looked at the short courses. And during that experience. I realized that it was the SIDS fellowship. And I thought, okay this is a perfect opportunity to actually go there and do what I wanted to do for such a long time. So within a one month period I actually applied and I submitted my application and I was successful. At the time that I applied to do this course I was working in a consultancy back home and many of my projects were based on land use development. Looking at squatter regularisation And in particular we looked at the infrastructure design and I saw that there was really a need to you know go into more detail and develop aspects of that. For example looking at flood risk assessment looking at drainage design, which is one of the reasons why I went and I chose this topic of hydraulic engineering and river basin development. Especially in the Caribbean where more and more we have seen that there’s like a lack of preparedness and resilience towards extreme events. I think this field of study really opens up a lot of opportunities and can really bring back much needed skill to the Caribbean. What can I bring to this field? It’s not necessarily about coming up with something as I said, ground-breaking, but rather using what is already existing to come with something that is new. So I think that while I’ve been here I have been exposed to so many different things, and it is not only from a technical point of view but you have so many other aspects to consider, whether it be social or environmental or what not. So really just, adapting to your surroundings and I think an example that really is crowdsourcing of details which has, existed for so many years in terms of floods or disasters people are always taking pictures of the impacts of floods. But now they realize you can actually use this data towards validating and calibrating models. So, you can actually just adapt to it. Adapt what you already have and evolve it into something new and innovative. Most of my experiences have been in the Caribbean, so I cannot speak about other countries or even other SIDS countries but I think, personally, there is a gap between research and industry. So for example, you have people in research and people in the industry doing their jobs but there is no interlinkage. There is no transfer of skills in that respect. And being here, being exposed to a strong research base, a strong knowledge base and I think that really needs to be developed. So how I would really like to implement my skills is by really bridging that gap using what technology and what ideas and approaches are, have been, succesful in other countries and trying to translate and downscale it to a Caribbean perspective. So I always tell people that, if you want to hear God laugh, you tell him your plans. Because everything is just really unpredictable and you just don’t know what will happen. But, from a professional point of view I think after the COP 23 in Bonn last year, which was hosted by Fiji I think there is a lot of much needed impact and focus on that has been put on SIDS and with the most recent disasters in the Eastern Caribbean I think there is a lot more focus on the Caribbean islands. And for the future I really hope to just be a part of that momentum and contribute in every way that I can.

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