9 May 2019

BSc Geography graduate delivers seminar to current students and staff

Last week BSc Geography graduate Eleni Ravanis returned to the department to deliver a seminar on her work for the European Space Agency (ESA). Graduating in 2017, Eleni now works in Madrid for the Mars Express mission as part of ESA’s Young Graduate Trainee scheme, at one of seven ESA sites across Europe.

Mars seen in May 2016 in three different views
Mars seen in May 2016 in three different views (Credit: D. O'Donnell - ESA/Mars Express/VMC CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO - ESA/NASA/Hubble)

Last week BSc Geography graduate Eleni Ravanis returned to the department to deliver a seminar on her work for the European Space Agency (ESA). Graduating in 2017, Eleni now works in Madrid for the Mars Express mission as part of ESA’s Young Graduate Trainee scheme, at one of seven ESA sites across Europe.

During the seminar, Eleni spoke about her experiences working in the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC), which is the ESA’s base for science operations of most missions, and her work on the Mars Express instrument the Visual Monitoring Camera (VMC). The VMC, also known as the “Mars webcam”, was originally intended to monitor the Beagle 2 lander in 2003, but in the past few years the camera has been upgraded to a scientific instrument. Eleni assists with the operations of the VMC, as well as processing and archiving data from the camera.

"It was absolutely lovely to come back to the department and see familiar faces as well as meet new students, and to be reminded of how a degree in Geography can provide an excellent basis for a career in the space industry,” Eleni said.

While she was studying at Sheffield, Eleni took the Planetary Geoscience module, which uses physical geography to study unfamiliar environments such as those found on Mars. She also wrote her dissertation on Martian gullies and seasonal dark streaks called recurring slope lineae. Following her graduation, Eleni completed a Masters in Planetary Science at UCL before landing a Graduate Trainee job with the ESA.

"I loved studying in Sheffield, and the flexibility of the Geography course allowed me to explore the topics I found most interesting and eventually allowed me to pursue the geography of worlds outside our own."

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