Data is the future and I would like to apply my skills to conserve natural resources – Kinga Stryszowska-Hill

Data Science Ecologist

We are pleased to feature Kinga Stryszowska-Hill who’s a Postdoctoral Associate at Murray State University.

Give us a small intro about yourself

I have a PhD in Environmental Science and I am doing research as a wetland ecologist, studying the health of wetlands. In my day-to-day research I use analytical tools like R programming language, ArcGIS mapping software, and Excel to collect, clean, analyze, and visualize data.

The best part of my research is when I open up a fresh sheet full of data, because I can’t wait to reveal and share the story that is hidden there. I love environmental and conservation work and in the future I would like to use my data analytics skills for conservation applications. I am a mom of three girls and I love being outside with them in nature.

Tell us how you got an opportunity to do your Post Doc in Murray State University?

Currently, I am a Postdoctoral Associate at Murray State University, researching the health of wetlands. I got this role through the application process. My experience and skills matched the job description really well and I was a good fit for this position

How was your experience being a lecturer of Environmental Science SUNY Plattsburg?

I lectured at a small college for two years. I absolutely loved this experience because I got the opportunity to develop two brand new courses: “Introduction to R programming” and “Introduction to Geographic Information Systems”. I learned so much when developing these courses.

I got to interact with my students every day and I watched them learn and grow. This was one of my favorite roles. The college was small so I was able to really participate in the college community.

What learnings did you had during the early days of your academic career?

I learned a lot as an instructor.

When teaching courses, the instructor has to learn a lot about the subject matter so that we can teach it to the students.

My best experiences were learning technical tools like R programming and GIS.

What are you working on currently and what opportunities or assignments are you looking for?

Right now, I am researching the health of wetlands in Kentucky, USA. I am especially excited about a project that I am developing, where I plan to use satellite imagery to study the wetlands remotely. I get to learn about mapping, remote sensing, image processing, and machine learning so I am very excited to pick up all of these skills

Tell us what an Ecologist can do with Data and Data Science to be specific?

Ecologists are trained to collect, clean, analyze, and visualize data so we are natural data analysts. As scientists, ecologists are also trained to ask questions, think critically, and solve complex problems.

Sometimes, the answer is not very obvious, so we must delve into the data to explore possible paths and answers. All of these skills are extremely applicable to data science.

Share a few insights on how you prepared yourself to earn a Ph.D. What should someone who aspires to do Ph.D learn from your experience?

I am a learner so getting a PhD for me was a natural process. As part of my application process, I searched for colleges that offered PhD programs in my area of study and applied. In retrospect, I should have done a little more research, reached out to professors and also made sure that I had funding lined up to pay for my education. I got lucky. I landed in a program that fit my interests and that fully covered my education with a Teaching Assistantship.

Your future plans.

In the future, I am looking for roles as a Data Analyst or a Data Scientist in the environmental sector. I think data is the future of industry and I would like to apply my skills to save the environment and conserve natural resources.

Good luck to you Kinga.

Venkat

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