I'm an agri-environmental researcher married to a farmer. We live in Wexford with our two cats-Charlotte and Seamus. I love trampolines (fitness classes), drawing, reading and Biffy Clyro.
I’m from Poland and moved to Ireland in 2008 to pursue a PhD. I originally planned on either going back to Poland or moving elsewhere when I finished my studies, but I met my now husband along the way. I have also made some great friends in Wexford and so decided to stay. I got married in Poland in 2018 in what’s still considered a pretty epic wedding party! Since then, my husband and I built an eco home on my husband’s farm so we had something to keep us going during the pandemic. This should also, fingers crossed, be my last move (after 13 moves in Ireland…).
I recently finally realised that you don’t have to be particularly good at something to enjoy it. I’m not good at sport but I enjoy trampoline classes, walking and cycling, and like half the country sea swimming (maybe more so paddling). Last year I climbed Croagh Patrick for my birthday. When I was small I used to love drawing and I recently got back into it through online art classes.
I’m quite a good cook and baker, but my death row meal is a simple bag of chips with loads of salt and vinegar. I really miss travelling and going to concerts. I recently managed to get home for the first time in over 18 months! As for concerts, for now I’m sticking to books and Netflix. Love anything sci-fi/fantasy and dark crime drama-His Dark Materials, Stranger Things, the Dark… although reading Dune tested my limits as it’s such a tough read (can’t wait to the film!).
I have completed a PhD investigating greenhouse gas emissions from changing grasslands to growing energy crops. Since then, I have mostly worked in the area of agricultural emissions, except for a short nine month contract at an insurance company. I worked there as apart of an analytical team, and although it wasn’t really my area it really brought on my analytical, statistical and time and project management skills to another level. I was however glad to return to more environmental work, where I’ve been involved in some cool innovative research.
I’m sure you’re well aware that climate change is a major issue facing humanity and agriculture is just one sector that emit greenhouse gases. Pretty much anything we do emit greenhouse gases so we need to think about what we do and how we do it. The same stands for agriculture. But because it is a sector based on biological processes, things can get quite complicated-due to weather, soil type, type of bacteria in that soil, animals we farm with and all management decisions. My work starts with quantifying emissions at local scale (what’s true for another part of the world might not be the case here) and looking for best solutions of how to reduce these emissions. I have recently worked on a project, where we found out that typical estimates of emissions of a very potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide from animal wastes were overestimated by nearly 200%. On the other hand, emissions from fertilisers turned out to be more variable than we thought.
Over the years I have worked as a technician, postdoctoral researcher and now a research officer. This means my new role focuses much more on managing multiple research projects, supervising students, and winning more funding for my work. I also present our findings at conferences, meet groups of students and other visitors and tell them about our work, I sometimes give guest lectures for university students (I’m an adjust professor at NUIG) and evaluate other researchers’ proposal applying for funding. My job can be very demanding but that’s because I want to be good at what I’m doing and I want to help my staff and students achieve their goals and learn new things.
My Typical Day
At the moment I work one day in the office and four days from home. I'm based in the office a lot managing different research projects. From spring to early autumn I spend more of my time in the field and lab.
In earlier years I spent a lot of time in the field and in the lab, and less time at my desk analysing my results and writing. That’s because I was responsible for one project at a time. For the past four years, I have worked as a research officer which means I work with a number of projects at the same time. My typical work day has changed to reflect this different role.
I start work at 9am and finish at 5.15pm. I either work from my office in Johnstown Castle or from a room in my new house. When I’m in Johnstown, I try to go for a walk around the lake and the gardens at lunchtime (but I have to be quick because our lunch break is 45mins). I work on my laptop a lot, having meetings with colleagues and students, helping students set up their experiments and discuss their results. There is always something new to learn and discover.
What I'd do with the prize money
I would spend the prize money on helping to organise an open day at Johnstown Castle so that all public can learn more about what we do.
Some Teagasc centres organise open days approximately every two years. We organised an open day at Johnstown in 2019 and although small it was quite successful. We planned on having another event in 2020 but this hasn’t happened for obvious reasons.
I am hoping that we will be able to open our doors to the public again in the future and showcase our work. I think there are plenty of people that want to learn what environmental work we carry out in our centre-between me and my colleagues we work on greenhouse gases, air pollutants, water quality, soil quality and biodiversity so there’s a lot to show!
I would spend the prize money on either creating cool props for the open day to help explain some concepts of our work i.e. you can’t see greenhouse gases so how do you best explain them to people? Or else, the money could go towards helping people visit the open day i.e. providing shuttle bus service for the day from Wexford town and areas and local schools.
Primary and secondary school in my hometown in Poland, BSc and MSc in Environmental Science at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, PhD at Trinity College Dublin
BSc, MSc, PhD, + diploma in nutrient management and in general management
2013-2021 Teagasc Johnstown Castle (and a bit in Moorepark) as a contract technician, postdoctoral researcher and research officer. 2012/2013 Zurich Insurance as Management Information Analyst. 2021 became Adjunct Professor at NUIG.
Research Officer, Agricultural Gaseous Emissions
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
cat-loving environmental researcher
What did you want to be after you left school?
Biologist or a psychologist
Were you ever in trouble at school?
A few times :)
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
Bag of proper crispy chipper chips with loads of salt and vinegar
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Parasailing and travel in a submarine
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1. to have one more conversation with my dad (he passed away in 2017); 2. to be healthy and happy and stress less; 3. to adopt a retired greyhound