Geography, Earth and environment at Brighton

Laura Evenstar head shot
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Dr Laura Evenstar

Dr Laura Evenstar teaches across our geography courses.

Tell us about the subject area(s) you teach at undergraduate level?

I teach on range of different subject areas throughout undergraduate level. Within the first year we explore the large-scale interactions of the earth and climate and how it has changes from the formation of the planet, 4.6 billion years ago, up to the modern day.  Towards the later part of the courses I teach my main passion, how landscapes form and change as they are sculpted by movement of ice, water and wind.

What are some examples of activities that students in your subject area participate in during their studies?

Within Dynamic Landscapes our student learns about a range of different landscapes and how they form. At the end of the course they construct their own research project on the landscape element they are most excited by. The chance to choose their own area of interest’s beings out a passion in the students and led to some fascinating projects! In the past we have had students work on understanding desert dune migration in Afghanistan, slumping of landslides off the highest volcano in the Solar System (Olympus Mons), and even mapping out river systems in Martian Meteorite craters. The students love taking ownership of their projects!

Within the first year Earth and Ocean Systems module we explain how the climate over the last 4.6 billion years has changed in response to development of different life forms. We read science article on different theories for the origin of Life and debate their findings. And, to finish the course, we visit the Natural History museum where we utilise the fantastic displays to refresh everything we have learnt over the year. The students love the mixture of different learning styles to understand these fascinating topics!

Are there opportunities for students to be involved in your research?

I engage students into a variety of different research activities. For example, at undergraduate our students work together to analyse a series of rivers in the Atacama Desert. This cutting-edge research is being used, combined with my own, to model how the Andean Mountain chain has uplift over the last 10 million years.

Our undergraduate dissertation students have the opportunity to work on and create high profile research data which feeds directly into future published academic papers. For example, previous students have constructed detailed geomorphic maps of the Afar Region, Ethiopia, to unravel East African climate change while other students have mapped out landslides in the Atacama Desert to produce risk maps for the most vulnerable communities in southern Peru. There are also opportunities for students to do a summer internship on these topics funded by Santander!

Find out more about Dr Evenstar’s research.

What support is available to undergrads at Brighton?

We support our students at every step of the way at the University of Brighton. We operate an open-door policy so that, at any time, a student can pop in for a chat about any personal or academic issues they are facing. As a personal tutor, for any of my students that feel they need some extra support, I provide a weekly to monthly catch up session, to discuss anything from time management to report writing!

What do you enjoy most about teaching at undergraduate level?

I love watching how our student come out of their shell over the time they study with us. My favourite classes to teach are the final years sessions when the students are comfortable with you as a lecturer and happy to questions what you are teaching them or even mock your jokes!

What’s your favourite location in Sussex and why?

Cuckmere Valley, it has such a beautiful geological history with amazing walks.

Which three people (alive or dead) would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Jason Mamoa, Henry Cavill and Chris Hemingworth

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