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We’d like to introduce you to the Director of the School of Natural Sciences, Katherine Selby, who studies the Quaternary geologic period. Here, she talks about her fascination with the natural environment, and what you can expect when you join us in the autumn.

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My journey to York

I have a truly interdisciplinary background. After achieving A levels in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry, I gained a first-class degree in Geography with Environmental Studies. I undertook a PhD in Physical Geography, and investigated Late Quaternary sea-level changes on the Isle of Skye.

I gained postdoctoral experience in Environmental Archaeology at the University of Exeter, examining lacustrine environments in central Ireland, before spending two years working as an environmental scientist, managing a field team of ten staff.

I became a lecturer in Earth Sciences at the Open University, a senior lecturer in Physical Geography at Bournemouth University, followed by a joint appointment between Geography and Civil Engineering at the University of Southampton. In 2007, I moved to York as a lecturer in Environment and Geography.

My research focuses on the coastal environment

I have always been fascinated by the natural environment and, in particular, the coastal zone where the four spheres of the earth meet: lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and ecosphere. Each is dynamically linked so that changes, including man-made activity, in one sphere affect the others. My research focuses on changes in sea level, storm activity, coastal erosion, flooding and sediment movement.

I work in temperate and tropical regions and, through a combination of field and laboratory methods, reconstruct sea level and environmental changes that have occurred in the past. The reconstructions can help inform present and future management of these important areas.

I have published and received funding for research in many related areas, such as environmental archaeology and environmental chemistry. I present at international conferences, and my papers have been published extensively in international journals.

We’re always developing the way we teach

I feel honoured and privileged to be working at the University of York. Here, you’ll meet inspiring academics, and learn alongside fellow students who share your quest for knowledge and learning.

In my role as senior lecturer, I’m a strong advocate of research-led teaching, which means we’re constantly evolving the way in which we pass on to you the latest academic research findings. We listen to the requirements of all our students, and adapt to the latest technological developments. Our teaching is vibrant and flexible, and will equip you for your life beyond university.

For the past few years, I have focused specifically on teaching, learning and supporting students, ensuring everyone achieves their maximum potential in a supportive, inclusive and friendly environment. In 2019, I was honoured to be awarded a Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Authority in recognition of my contribution to learning and teaching.

Study and share in our learning studio

Through our unique Natural Sciences’ pathways, you’ll study at the intersection of diverse research communities, learning to think independently and applying your skills across disciplinary boundaries.

Our dedicated learning studio is a flexible space for socialising, revising and discussing your work, with seminar rooms, digital and e-learning facilities, a small kitchenette, and an area for social gatherings and meetings. You’ll have access to York’s interdisciplinary research centres, and experience first-hand some of the world-leading research being carried out.

At our weekly gathering with your Natural Sciences colleagues, you’ll have the chance to engage with employers, develop study skills, and enjoy research seminars.

We look forward to seeing you

I hope you’re excited at the prospect of studying with us. We will support your development as an independent learner, and equip you for a range of careers. Our goal is that you’ll develop key skills to tackle global societal issues, and that the experiences you have at university will help to shape your future life.