A Flood of Emotion: A Conversation with Martina Egedusevic

A Flood of Emotion: A Conversation with Martina Egedusevic

Martina Egedusevic is a full-time Ph.D. student studying natural flood management in Serbia. Her work is inspired by both her love for science and personal experiences which further sparked her interest in flood prevention. We were lucky to be able to speak with her about this unique field.

Before starting her Ph.D., Martina first received a master’s degree in hydraulic and environmental engineering at the University of Belgrade in Serbia. The faculty of engineering at this university is the oldest and highest in the field of civil engineering in Serbia, so Martina is a very proud alum. Her master’s degree covered a wide variety of different subject areas including, water use and supply, wastewater management, and water quality. During the program, she also studied hydraulic systems, hydropower, the regulation of water systems and how all of these topics relate to each other. It's clear that Martina likes to spend a lot of time thinking and learning about water. She is happy to do so because, as she noted, she has been interested in this type of work since she was a child and grew up near a large dam along the Trebisnjica River in Bosnia. Her father was also an engineer which helped her decide to study water in this capacity.

After finishing her master’s degree, Martina worked for a public water management company. While here, she focused on flood risk reduction and gained experience on multiple projects in this field. But, in 2014 her personal and professional lives collided when her home was flooded by heavy rains in Serbia. In this moment, she felt powerless because even though she was very prepared for this type of event, her home was still destroyed. Rather than allowing this feeling to pull her away from her work, Martina decided this event would instead inspire her. So, she then enrolled in her current Ph.D. program to study natural flood management. After her experiences with her home, Martina became eager to know more about the development of flood zones, flood preparation and how plans for flood protection are created.

Now, Martina is in the midst of her Ph.D. and her project studies the natural process that affect runoff and flood conveyance in the Menstrie catchment in Scotland. The overall goal of this project, as Martina explained, is to “quantify and understand the contribution of large-scale woodland planting for natural flood management.” For example, she measures the impact of site cultivation on runoff and sediment delivery. She also collects and monitors other data that helps her to determine the effectiveness of practice controls put into place. These findings inform the Planned Forestry Commission’s “Practice Guide,” which sets guidelines for managing forestry to prevent flooding. Martina’s findings were first published last September which was a really exciting step in her project. In addition to all she has learned while working on her own project, Martina has also learned a lot from those she has worked with during this process. She notes that her supervisors at Heriot-Watt University, Dr. Lindsay Beevers and Dr. Scott Arthur, have had a major impact on her process and they are constantly making positive contributions to the field of science.

After finishing her Ph.D., Martina hopes to continue to provide research findings in her field that help to provide people with the knowledge and resources to protect themselves from flooding. She hopes to expand her research work beyond Scotland, to all of Europe and eventually across the globe. Martina also emphasized the importance of finding a fair balance between work and family in her future so that she can continue to do the research work she loves, while also having a balanced home life.

To end, we asked Martina what she would like to tell the general public about flooding and prevention. She pointed out the importance of making the public aware of the fact that flooding is expected to continue to increase in the future as we experience climate change. As a result of this, she hopes people will be educated about the dangers of flooding from a young age so that they can be prepared. She noted that we need to be ready to adapt our lives, homes, and public spaces to fit in with these environmental changes and that this is something we really need to begin to think about.

Martina is working in a unique area and it was great to be able to speak with her about global climate change which is such a timely topic. At Conseris, we love to support researchers who are conquering these major, worldwide challenges and to help make the data collection stage of solving these complex problems a little bit easier. Start a free trial today and see how Conseris can make your data collection work more efficient.