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Shining a light on a young researcher from UCAD : meet Mbayang Thiam

Every few months GoNEXUS puts the spotlight on our young researchers. These are researchers who have recently graduated with their PhD or who are currently studying and who contribute actively to the research of the GoNEXUS project.

This week we put the spotlight on Mbayang Thiam, who recently earned her Ph.D. in Water Resources Engineering and Management from Universite Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) in Senegal. She currently works in a research center as an academic coordinator and has an academic background in Physical Geography. In the interview below you can learn more about her work in GoNEXUS and beyond:

What do you do for GoNEXUS? Is it the first project you’ve worked on?

I am a specialist in water resources management and modeling for the GoNEXUS project. In this role, I help design methodology for simulating water resources management.

What is the most interesting thing you learned so far working on GoNEXUS?

I like to work on the identification and evaluation of solutions by mixing several disciplines, namely hydrology, economics, and sociology. I use a lot of geospatial techniques and data. The discussions and interviews with local stakeholders are also very inspiring.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What are you working on?

I hope that in five years I will be working in a university or research institution as a research scientist. I wish to continue to work in the field of water science and technology and contribute to the renown of UCAD in this domain.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I have always dreamed of being a writer. I had a curiosity for things that went beyond my grasp and I loved to write in order to dissect them. In fact, in my spare time, I am working on a project for my community: a virtual library for young people in my neighborhood who do not always have the means to buy books.

Who is your science idol? Someone you wish you could have a conversation with (from the past or contemporary).

I’ll say Marie Curie for being the only woman at the Solvay congress in 1927 among the “great of the century”, the theorists of the atom. I grew up seeing the picture and loved seeing a woman present in such a historic moment in science.

Which GoNEXUS research outcome/WP/expert are you most excited to learn about or collaborate with?

I look forward to collaborating/working more on the existing synergies and interactions between the different components of the nexus.

Have you read any interesting books/articles recently that really made you think?

The book that comes to mind is called “Systemic thinking” written by Patrick T. Hester and Kevin MacG. Adams. It provided me with a scientifically grounded methodology based on systems theory and a wide variety of supporting transdisciplinary principles. It includes systems thinking self-assessment to enable the reader to determine their ability to think systemically.

If GoNEXUS held a party, which song would you request from the DJ?

I would say Djino of Youssou Ndour, the World Star of Mbalakh!